In the Spotlight: Jim’s Marine

A Premier Tidewater Boat Dealer for the Delmarva Peninsula – Maryland & Delaware

By Amy Lignor

When it comes to Tidewater Boat Dealers, there is one incredible company that has been in business for thirty years. For those three decades, they have proven to be a true benefit for all of the Delmarva Peninsula (Maryland & Delaware) when it comes to providing not only the “dream” boat that you’re looking for, but also providing the best in customer service.

In the Spotlight: Jim’s Marine A Premier Tidewater Boat Dealer for the Delmarva Peninsula – Maryland & Delaware  When it comes to Tidewater Boat Dealers,

            It was Jim and Tami Heavlow who began Jim’s Marine back in 1987. Jim, known to be one of the area’s top outboard mechanics, had decided that there was a real need for a top-quality marine service center to be added to the area. From then on, providing those top-quality services to boating enthusiasts has been the company’s number one priority. Taking some time out from her very busy schedule, Tami Heavlow was kind enough to sit down and talk with us about Jim’s Marine, the company’s extensive history with Tidewater Boats, and various facets of the marine industry.


How long have you been a Tidewater Boats Dealer?

Tami Heavlow (T.H.): For the three decades we’ve been in business, we have always sold a line of center consoles. A prior line we sold was from a competetive brand that Jimmy Metts was involved with.  We followed him and Chris Martin to Tidewater Boats. We continued to work with him, and have been selling the Tidewater models for twelve years now. Becoming a Tidewater Boats Dealer, however, was not only based on the heritage we had with Jimmy, it was also based on the fact that Tidewater makes the “best of the best” boats in the industry.

When selling/presenting a Tidewater Boat to potential customers, what is the typical reaction of the consumer to the product in regards to quality of materials, design, storage, power, performance, etc.?

T.H.: The reaction is always incredible. You see, with so many competing brands of center consoles out there nowadays, it does not take long to realize that Tidewater has truly set the bar high. The customer gets a lot of value because of the great quality, great price, and amazing design of these crafts. And when you put that boat on the water, the Tidewater brand always “shines.”

In the Spotlight: Jim’s Marine A Premier Tidewater Boat Dealer for the Delmarva Peninsula – Maryland & Delaware When it comes to Tidewater Boat Dealers,

Left to Right Jimmy Heavlow, Jim Heavlow, Jimmy Metz, Jacob Heavlow, Tami Heavlow, Chris Martin

            Consumers come into Jim’s Marine after they’ve done their homework. They’ve already researched various brands and products, and have spoken with a lot of dealers. They see early on that not only is the boat a perfect “fit” for their needs, but they also see that when dealing with Jim’s Marine, they are also dealing with a very customer service oriented business. We always make sure that the buying experience is a 5-Star one for the consumer. Being a family-owned & oriented business truly adds to the customer’s experience with us; they see how passionate we are about the industry and our customers always return for that next purchase.

What would you say are the top-selling models of Tidewater Boats at your dealership, and why?

T.H.: We actually do very well with the Tidewater Adventure series (the center console of this series measures 18-32 feet); and the Tidewater LXF series, measuring 21-25 feet. The latter offers more seating and is really geared towards the consumer interested in pleasure boating and getting out on the water for recreation. All the models, I have to say, are extremely popular, but those two are the greatest sellers here at Jim’s Marine. We are also in an area where you have a variety of water experiences available; from the Chesapeake Bay, to all of its tributaries, to the ocean on the other side. So you can truly get a great deal of fun out of the boat you choose here.

Can you describe your experience working with Tidewater Boats from a dealer’s perspective?

T.H.: I can’t say enough about them, actually. Our experience with them is as 5-Star as the one we offer to our own customers. Tidewater plays a major role from any dealer’s perspective because they are a phenomenal company to deal with. They know their job. They know how to build high quality boats. You are talking about a company that understands all facets of creating the perfect boat for the consumer, from style to power to design, and so on.

Could you tell us more about your own dealership?

T.H.: When I say “family-oriented,” I really mean it when it comes to Jim’s Marine. Jim and I have both sides of the family involved in the business; our sons, Jimmy and Jacob, are extremely active in the company. Jimmy focuses on the sales side of things. At 26, he has been raised on the water and makes our customers feel very comfortable when he presents and teaches them about all the extras and intricacies of the Tidewater model. He attended the University of Maryland where he graduated from The Robert H. Smith School of Business, so he has an extensive background in the business arena.

            Our son Jacob, at only 21 years of age, was the youngest person to attend The Yamaha School at 15. He is a certified Yamaha marine technician and heavily involved with the service side of the business.

            We have five certified Yamaha technicians on site. When I say we are a full-service dealership, I mean that we not only sell the boats, but we take care of them for our customers. We literally have an entire “menu” of services available. From custom canvas to bottom painting to custom electronic installations, as well as help with winterization. Because of where we’re located, any boat must always be put away for the winter months, and we provide them with the services to do that properly.

            We long ago made it our mission at Jim’s Marine that we were not just going to sell boats. We wanted to make sure that we sell the model to the customer that is exactly what they want. Research is a great thing to do before making any purchase, but we make sure the selection we have on hand is always suited to their needs and their specifications, so that they walk away extremely happy with what we’ve provided them.

Would that be number one on the list when it comes to what you would like the potential customer to know about your dealership?

T.H.: Absolutely. We want them to know that here, they will not only get the perfect boat, but they will also be prepared for the boat they purchase. Among the full services we provide, customers truly love the fact that, when working with Jim’s Marine, they not only come out and take delivery of their boat, but they also get a full “learning” experience. Even a diehard boater appreciates this, because there may be different or new features to learn about. What we do is give the customer a “Sea Trial.” They go out on the water with my son, Jimmy, and learn all they need to know so that they are ready to enjoy their new boating experience.

What is the biggest change in the marine market you have witnessed in the past few years?

T.H.: Actually, the biggest change occurred around ten years ago. Up until that time, outboards were 2-stroke—they would burn oil, make a great deal of noise, etc. About ten years ago, however, outboards became 4-stroke—they no longer had to burn oil, and people did not have to put up with the other array of negative issues. The advent of the 4-stroke outboard literally transformed the boating industry.

            As time moved forward, once the 4-stroke outboard was created, the runabout inboard/outboard boat models began to fade.  People wanted something far more versatile. They not only wanted to fish, they wanted to pleasure boat, water ski or tube behind them, etc., so more choices came into being. More colors came into the realm. No longer did customers need to purchase that ‘Plain Jane’ white boat, they could literally create a boat that they wanted. The center console exploded in popularity. The extras, from colors to custom electronics, extra seating, cup holders…you name it, they were there to be had. 

In the Spotlight: Jim’s Marine A Premier Tidewater Boat Dealer for the Delmarva Peninsula – Maryland & Delaware When it comes to Tidewater Boat Dealers,

Can you tell us a bit about the boat show season that is now underway, and what that entails for the dealer?

T.H.: When it comes to the boat shows, we always attend every show in our territory. The Baltimore Boat Show occurred in January, and there are two held in Annapolis, Maryland each year (one in the spring and one in the fall). They are critical for us. We can not only keep up with all the news and products entering the industry, but Jim’s Marine gets that extra exposure that a boat show can provide. These are the places where everyone comes to comparison shop all the different brands. They really make their choice, not only of what boat brand they want, but also the dealer they wish to purchase the boat from. The next one we will be attending is the spring show in Annapolis called the Bay Bridge Boat Show being held April 12th through the 14th.

            In conclusion, I just have to say that I am a very happy Mom. I have my children with me in this business. And our daughter, who is just now headed off to college, may join us one day as well. I tell my sons all the time that this is the best job in the world, and it truly is. We are a family that is passionate about boating and “life on the water,” and we get to enjoy that life each and every day. 

To learn more about this fantastic company, head to; and for a more extensive look at the models that Tidewater provides, check out

Original Source: Sportsmans



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