Several folks have tried to operate poker-run concierge services— in which a poker-run participant’s every wish is granted— over the years, but few have succeeded. The fact is that while prepping and delivering high-performance boats to poker runs around the country seems straightforward, it is anything but. Transportation logistics alone can be daunting.
To put it simply, the concierge go-fast boat business is as service-oriented as service-oriented businesses get. Customers who pay a pretty penny—make that many pretty pennies—to have their boats delivered and ready to go at these events have high-expectations. As they should.
Tom Healey of Marine Unlimited in Mt. Holly, N.J., says he couldn’t agree more, which probably is why his concierge service has grown steadily since he started it a few years ago. A poker run enthusiast himself—he owns the former 37-foot-long Outerlimits race boat called Wild Child, which has been converted to a pleasure boat—he understands what his customers want and need.
At present, Healey says he has almost a dozen concierge service clients.
“Our clients want to do poker runs, but don’t necessarily have the time to make sure that everything involved happens, such as transporting the boat, making sure it’s ready to go and so on,” Healey told me earlier today. “Our clients can fly in and we’ll have someone at the airport to pick them up and take them to their hotel. When they go to their boat in the morning, it will be ready to go—checked over completely because we go in a couple of days early, washed, fueled and outfitted with everything they want. If they want to have a qualified mechanic and operator on board, we can provide that. If they want their truck and trailer to shadow them to the Keys, if that’s where the run is, we can do that.
“Our motto is, ‘Show up and throttle up,’” he added.
Among Healey’s clients are well-known poker-run participants Pete Mazzo and Tommy Toto, both of whom own 46-foot-long Outerlimits V-bottoms, and Mike Ciasulli, who owns a 36-foot-long Nor-Tech catamaran.
“Tom is an excellent guy to do with business with—he’s very hard-working and does what he says he is going to do,” said Ciasulli. “He is one of the only people I know who does what he does. You jump in your boat, it’s already warmed up and they throw you a line. It’s that level of service.”