Boat dealer passes away after brief illness

Christopher Gerber (
May 14, 2013
Filed under News

Longtime boat dealer Mark Duchow passed away unexpectedly on May 9, 2013 after a brief illness at the age of 53.

The Duchow family started in the boat business in 1932.  After college, Mark learned the boat business while working with his father, Richard Duchow.  In 1991 he cofounded Duchow’s Boat Center with his brother Craig and in 1995 they cofounded Harborside Yacht Center. At their peak, the companies had 6 locations in Wisconsin and Illinois.

For many years Mark led Duchow’s Boat Center to be the largest Glastron dealer in the world and a perennial top dealer for Larson, Wellcraft, Starcraft, and Godfrey Marine. He was a fiercely competitive marketer and salesman with many of his marketing ideas developed for his dealership being used nationally.

In the early years, as he fine-tuned almost monthly parking lot sales he developed a boat buying program at local Sam’s Clubs in 1994 that eventually became Genmar’s Sam’s Club Boat Buying Program. Genmar estimated that the Sam’s Club Program generated $45,000,000 in sales.

In 1999 Mark developed and patented a downloadable voucher system known as which was later used by Genmar in several national campaigns. Although he held on-site and off-site promotions almost tirelessly throughout each spring and summer, his most masterful was in 1996 when he engineered a sale the day after the Glastron Factory dealer meeting in Lake Geneva, Wis., that resulted in 38 boats sold in one eight-hour period.

Mark was quick to share his ideas and marketing successes with other dealers and developed close relationships with them.  For fifteen years he and colleague Al Visintainer managed Glastron’s national sales training seminars.  Mark also sat on many dealer councils for various manufacturers over his career.

Duchow’s Boat Center was named to the inaugural Boating Industry Top 100 list in 2005. In 1996 Duchow’s was named Dealer of the Year by Boat, Motor, and Trailer Dealer magazine.

Mark leaves behind his wife and 5 children.  He also leaves behind many happy customers and loyal employees.


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