West Marine Reviews

Updated October 12, 2014
Updated October 12, 2014
85 Reviews
3.0
85 Reviews
Rating Trends

Recommend to a friend
Approve of CEO
West Marine President & CEO Matthew Hyde
Matthew Hyde
32 Ratings

Review Highlights

Pros
  • The best reason to work here is the short commute if you live in Santa Cruz, and the Employee discount (in 16 reviews)

  • Really none associate discount about the same as shopping around online (in 8 reviews)


Cons
  • Expect low pay, low hours, no benefits and high expectations (in 7 reviews)

  • It is as though they do everything to keep many from achieving a full time status (in 4 reviews)

More Highlights

Employee Reviews

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  1. 1 person found this helpful  

    The best and worst years of my life

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Watsonville, CA
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Watsonville, CA

    I worked at West Marine full-time (more than 10 years)

    Pros

    I spent many years at West Marine and did so because of the company values and especially because of the people. What started as a lark, part time to pay for my boating habit (great associate discount) became a career. I gave as good as I got - the company treated me well, valued my work and made me feel part of a bigger plan.

    Cons

    Then the leadership changed, and changed again and then leaders left other leaders in play that shouldn't be leaders and so on. It appears that the they have lost their way, leadership is out of touch with what's really going on and the goals and strategic direction are not aligned or worse yet, not effectively communicated.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Figure out who you want to be. The associates at this company bleed blue, and I think that leadership over the years has tended to forget it. Remember what it is that makes the company great - it is the people at all levels of the enterprise.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  2.  

    No good pay or movement.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Cashier in Jacksonville, FL
    Former Employee - Cashier in Jacksonville, FL

    I worked at West Marine part-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    Nice employee discount. I've met lots of people to network w/. Laid back atmosphere.

    Cons

    Horrible pay. My pay was $8 when hired and went up 16 cents a year later and never went up the two years I worked there. There was always drama and no way to advance. Also the store is dead durning winter and spring so it gets boring.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Schedule better and have better communication

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  3.  

    Profoundly dysfunctional company

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at West Marine full-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    If you enjoy watersports and boating, the perks are outstanding. Rank and file employees are a great bunch of passionate, fun-loving people.

    Cons

    The management of the company is filled with 'bosses' - but very few leaders. Cross-functional communication is dismal - half the time the right hand doesn't know what the left hand is doing, and associates are left confused and without direction.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Develop LEADERS - not tyrants. Implement review processes that include associates giving performance reviews for their managers. Perhaps that would open senior management's eyes to the reality that many managers and directors are hindering rather than furthering the company's growth strategies.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
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  5.  

    Cashier

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Cashier in Fort Lauderdale, FL
    Former Employee - Cashier in Fort Lauderdale, FL

    I worked at West Marine part-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    Met new people, liked the field

    Cons

    mismanagement, theft, overexpecting, low pay, no benefits

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Offer incentives to the minimum wage emplyees

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  6.  

    Ok

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Cashier in West Babylon, NY
    Former Employee - Cashier in West Babylon, NY

    I worked at West Marine part-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    If you like boating its fun

    Cons

    cant think of any cons

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    .......

    Recommends
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  7.  

    West Marine gathers a fun group of employees, a great work community.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Sales Associate in Seattle, WA
    Former Employee - Sales Associate in Seattle, WA

    I worked at West Marine full-time (more than 5 years)

    Pros

    Great employee discounts! Awesome crew!

    Cons

    Pay is not the best unless you're some type of manager.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Make sure at each location there is good qualified people who will take time not because they have to but because they want to train new employees thoroughly and properly. I got trained the basics but had to learn the hard parts when i happened to stumble upon them with a customer and looked like i didnt know what i was doing...thats because no one trained me on it!

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  8.  

    AM Review

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at West Marine

    Pros

    Great place to work if you love boats, being around boaters, and talking boats. Good benefits for full timers, and higher than average pay for a retailer.

    Cons

    Heavy product knowledge required, reatil hours (no weekends off), locations are generally near the beach and saleries are not in line to live near work.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  9.  

    Great summer job while in college

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Sales Associate in Port Washington, NY
    Former Employee - Sales Associate in Port Washington, NY

    I worked at West Marine part-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    relaxed atmosphere, great employee discount,

    Cons

    Inconsistent work schedule, weekend shifts

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  10.  

    Financial rewards limited by seasonal business pattern and aging-out of customer base.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Store Manager in Watsonville, CA
    Current Employee - Store Manager in Watsonville, CA

    I have been working at West Marine full-time (more than 5 years)

    Pros

    High degree of autonomy. Hiring/training/working with young people. Employee discount. Relatively low stress and off-hours demands. Passion for the category among managers and Associates. About 10% of store managers turn over each year, so there is always opportunity to move up if you're willing to work hard and (usually) relocate. Great job for high school and college students, retirees with boats, people who don't need full income/benefits (second job, working spouse, semi-retired, etc). Strong customer-centric culture.

    Cons

    In all but a dozen of the 250+ stores, only one person per store is salaried (Store/General Manager). Everyone else is <40hrs/wk. Even Assistant Manager cannot get year round 40hr/wk income in majority of stores (AM about 30hrs/wk). Most Associates average <20hrs/week.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Need more focus. Current plan is to "grow core and expansion categories". That is corporate-speak for "everything is important", which everyone knows means there really is no focus. IMHO, West Marine has two options to survive. First, to become the "Orvis" of specialty boating products. That is, lots of high-end lifestyle products (clothing, home décor, luggage) but very little "core" product (boat soap, paint, engine oil, electronics). Sadly, so far lifestyle products are more Old Navy than Orvis. Second, to become the "Cabelas" or "BassPro" of boating. That is, about 100, mega size stores (+100M sqft) that sell a range of year round "Your Life Outdoors" products (as opposed to seasonal "Your Life on the Water" products), Either strategy will require a large investment in advertising as both mean attracting an entirely new customer base (PS... current team looks at advertising... like presence at national boat shows... as an expense to be controlled rather than an investment for the future). Otherwise, company will slowly go out of business since current boat owners are aging-out and minorities and younger families are not entering at a fast enough pace.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  11.  

    OK to work here

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Manager in Santa Cruz, CA
    Current Employee - Manager in Santa Cruz, CA

    I have been working at West Marine full-time (more than 5 years)

    Pros

    Lots of good people to work with and a stable place to be. Seems like people who work here stay for a long time. Great associate discount.

    Cons

    Not a lot of opportunites to grow and propser. Pay is low. While the discount is great it's not really good enough to offset the low pay.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Work on getting the company to make money so all can be rewarded

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

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