Sent in from Marcus-
I grew up without a lot of money in Florida. When I started boating, my first boat was a smallish sailboat, which I sailed everywhere.
Over time, I noticed that few boaters had much money. I wanted more, so I educated myself and became a yacht broker. My boat was also my home, so I kept it in tip top condition. It was a beautiful 37 footer that I planned to sail around the world one day.
Part of my bartering experiences were with manufacturers who sold marine gear for offshore boats. Items like solar panels, batteries, dinghys, anchors. In fact, everything you can imagine that would be on an offshore cruiser.
I would make deals with these manufacturers to represent their product lines at the boat shows around the East Coast of the US, where I attended at least 6 per year. This required me to move the boat sometimes, to the required location, to present the boat, which I sold as their distributor. I would get FREE gear in exchange for attending and representing marine suppliers, and their gear.
This allowed me to completely outfit the vessel with everything necessary to go around the world safely, for basically free. Remember that I was going to these boat shows anyway, so there was hardly any extra effort required on my part to present their gear when a customer asked. They gave me tens of thousands of dollars in gear, and all I ad to do was present their gear at some shows for a couple of years.
Of course, I was also getting a commission for gear sold to clients whose boats were outfitted with the products lines I was representing. So, they would purchase a boat from me, outfit the new vessel with gear I recommended, and normally use the companies that I worked with to commission the boats. I’d get paid several times when selling a boat. The companies we used to commission the boats would also give me a kickback for the referral sometimes.
I would create a 3-5 year plan, where I would work these boat shows for a certain amount of time, then sell that business and go sailing for several years. Eventually, I was able to work my way around the world with my sailboat.
I ended up bartering my distributorship to a yacht fabricator in exchange for them building me a custom boat out of steel. This was after years of business dealings with them, so it was not an instant relationship by any means. But, I was able to do a LOT of trading for skills and services over the years.
Now, I’m retired and sail the Caribbean in my boat. Barter made a lot of this possible.