Professional yacht broker John Blumenthal is well-known in the boating community. All it takes is walking down the docks of a South Florida boat show to understand that John could easily win a popularity contest among his peers and boat owners that have worked with him. Whether it's his accent (he was raised in New Zealand), the extensive knowledge of all things fishing and boating, or his ability to make you feel as if you've been friends for years, John's reputation always precedes him.
"John is one of our top brokers at United Yacht Sales," says Jeff Palmer, President of UYS. "He invests his own time and money into every listing he gets. The presentation on his listings is always extremely professional. He's also the expert in the industry when it comes to buying, selling and shipping boats between Australia, New Zealand, and the U.S. There is a lot of business that takes place, especially in the sportfishing boat segment of our industry. John knows all the in's and out's of it."
Many anglers in Australia and New Zealand look to the U.S. market for inventory - new and pre-owned - to then have the vessel purchased and shipped to them where they'll be chasing Marlin during season. This process comes with its own unique challenges that John has been through countless times. "I have many clients who have purchased a boat sight unseen in the U.S. and have had it shipped to Australia," says John. "I know what needs to be done to make the process smooth for my clients."
Originally settling in the U.S. in 1991, John was a professional captain until 2005 when he became a licensed yacht broker. That experience spent as a captain gave him the insight and background into yacht ownership that has translated into a successful career in sales.
If you'd like to reach John about purchasing or selling a boat, you can contact him at 1-772-215-2571 or by email at John@UnitedYacht.com. Here's a great example of one of John's listings and the professional video walk-through that he provides for his clients.
Here are a few fun 'Quick Facts' about John:
- Hometown: Kerkeri Bay Of Islands, New Zealand
- Retirement Plans: None yet!
- Favorite Restaurant: Leftover's in Jupiter, FL.
- Favorite Thing To Do On The Weekend: Hang out on the boat with friends and cookout
- Best Concert: Keith Urban
- Dogs Or Cats: Dogs
- Pineapple On Pizza: Yes! Hawaiian Pizza!
- Favorite Boat Show: Palm Beach Boat Show
- Dream Car: Corvette
- Australian Football or Rugby: Rugby
Q: What has been the most fulfilling part about helping people buy or sell their boat?
A: I really enjoy the moment where I'm able to find the right vessel for my clients, they see it and their eyes light up. That is always a wonderful moment because buying a boat is such an emotional experience. Yes, it costs money, but you cannot beat the memories you make on it. Those moments help me to build a lasting relationship with my clients.
Q: What has been the most memorable boat you have sold or the family you've sold it to?
A: A few years ago we bought a 64 Viking in Cabo and it was tough to get a ship out of La Paz back to Florida. I suggested to chug the vessel to Costa Rica, so we did, and my son Andy joined me. We trolled for the entire 1,800 mile trip and the weather was gorgeous. My son hooked almost every pelagic fish and it was a great experience. My client fished the boat in Costa Rica, and back home, I have had many trips into the islands with the Arias Family. Yes it’s all about making memories!
(Seen below: John and his son Andy on the 1,800 mile trek with a nice little Yellowfin Tuna.)
Q: What advice would you give to someone looking to buy their first yacht but are brand new to boating?
A: The process starts with a few simple, but important questions: “What are my buyers looking to get out of a vessel? What are their needs? What type of vessel would best suit them?" Having a conversation over these questions can really answer a lot for both parties. Another important consideration we review is resale value of their preferred boat in the marketplace.
Q: How do you set yourself apart from other brokers in how you build a relationship with a client, as well as the job you do for them?
A. I’m not a pressure broker, sure there is a time and place for that- say at negotiating and closing, but I like to take it slow, get to know my clients, and make them feel welcomed into the world of boating. I am not a one sale wonder and move onto the next client. Every client is different and one needs to cater to their needs. I am entirely focused on creating an ongoing, successful relationship for everyone.
Q: Do you find that the needs of boat owners in Australia and New Zealand are similar to those in the U.S.?
A: Absolutely, Down Under folks have their pulse on what’s happening in the world of boating. Many customers are now building and importing US vessels. The industry has evolved making it easier to access vessels for sale. A client is basically one click away on their computer to find their dream boat.
(Seen below: John and team with a 1,220lbs. Black Marlin off of Lizard Island, Australia.)
Q: How do you provide a greater level of service to your customers who want to do business in Australia or New Zealand with the U.S. or vice versa?
A: Having been involved in the boating industry for 40 years and made many clients who have turned out to be long term friends. I thrive on being a hands-on broker. I call myself a “full service broker” and my customers have all the confidence in me getting the job done. 75% of my clients from "Down Under” don’t even make the trip to the US to purchase. With the technology we have in emails, phone calls, WhatsApp videos and live walk through vessels on Facetime I can show my client what the vessel condition is and we basically go from there on. It’s my reputation and my real point is that due to my continued professional service through the years, I have many referrals.
Q: What destination is on your bucket list to visit?
A: I have been very lucky through the years to have visited some of the most beautiful places. Though, I do have a desire to visit the Galapagos Islands.
(Seen below: John B. in 1983 with Keith Wilson and Stewy Hunter fishing for Marlin on light tackle.)
Q: Who has been your biggest mentor in your career in the boating industry?
A: Through the years I have been able to work with Jon Burkard and he is a man full of wisdom. I have always looked up to Jon and respected him at a high regard. I can make a call to him anytime.
Q: Has social media changed how you interact with previous customers and prospective customers? Favorite social media?
A: Social Media is such a great tool in this day and age. It’s instant and one can get your message across very well. I do favor the Facebook with keeping up with many posts by fellow Brokers on listings and especially with UYS posting on Facebook and Instagram my listings-we definitely reach out to the broad public platform.
(Seen below: John and one of two sons Austin at Daytona Speedway.)
Q: What are some of the reasons you decided to ‘hang your hat’ with UYS? Did the fact that Peter Schmidt and Jeff Palmer both being brokers at one point influence your decision?
It was actually John Dial. I was viewing one of his boats for my KIWI client and I asked him, “what is this United all about”. I was sold within a few minutes and my next call was to Peter Schmidt to schedule a meeting-the very next day. The marketing at UYS really got me. I was so impressed on what they could provide to their brokers. I have been very successful thus far with the array of tools they have for us. Let’s not forget the in-house departments. Whether it be Listing, Closing, or Marketing Departments we have an excellent staff and so professional. As my time has evolved with UYS you tend to become more like family.
Q: How is the level of support you receive at United Yacht Sales? Do you feel like there is a team behind you and your clients helping to get your boat sold?
Yes it is a 100% team effort. The team at UYS are literally a phone call, text or email away for any questions or issues I may have. The marketing team is #1 in my books and has thoroughly helped my business grow.
Q: Where do you see yourself in 20 years?
A: Oh-that’s an interesting question now. 2042. I would like to say I will be in the business for at least the next 10 years.
(Seen below: John B. and his wife Karen.)
John continued, "To many people boating is a past time for enjoyment and relaxing. For me, it has been a career on the water. Coming from my early days as a young sailor, to professional sport fisherman, and now a yacht salesman, with countless hours spent on the water, I bring the experiences to share, and show the path to my clients on what they can look forward to in their boating world."