Our Story

Here at Boat Specialists, we are committed to the same values and principles our founder and father, Don Potts, based the business on when he started the company in 1976. Originally from New Jersey, Don had always wanted to move to California to be closer to the great outdoors. Just days after marrying the love of his life, Mary Ann, the two set off on an adventure that would bring them across the country, eventually settling in Santa Monica, CA.

During a camping trip in Kernville, CA, Don met Helmut, a rep for Metzler Kayaks.  After sharing their love for water and all things boating, Helmut was willing to consign 3 kayaks to Don on the condition he would open a storefront.  With little money and a job driving a catering truck, Don found a way to purchase the three kayaks and eventually opened a small shop on Oxnard Blvd. Don would start each day at 4 am driving the catering truck and would then open the shop at 10 am when his shift was over, while Mary Ann worked fulltime as an administrator at Ventura College.

Don and Mary Ann put their hearts and souls into the growing business and eventually were able to move the storefront to the Ventura Harbor, operating there until 2013. The business grew from kayaks into inflatable boats, outboard motors, and more. It went from a side business to a primary business that afforded Mary Ann to stay home and raise their two kids Jared and Jenna, who now run the business operations as President and Vice President.  The business grew to such a level that today our headquarters is in the Ventura Auto Center district and now has over 75,000 SF of brick and mortar between our three buildings.   In 2019 we acquired a second location in Northern CA -- To say we love what we do is an understatement.

With an unprecedented and ever-growing appetite for boating, Boat Specialists has become the premiere Boat Dealership of the West Coast.  While only representing major brands that truly stand behind quality and craftsmanship, you can rest assured you are buying right.  Whether you're seeking a small roll-up dinghy, a luxury tender for your yacht, a high-performance RIB, or a saltwater fiberglass sport-fisher or day cruiser - give us a call or swing on in and we'll have you splashed in no time!