When I first became a boat owner, rare was the day that I did not visit West Marine... It not only has an outstanding inventory it also usually has very knowledgeable employees.
That does not mean that you should not check out prices online from places like eBay or Amazon but you can actually put your hands on what you're buying when you visit West Marine.
When you get to the Caribbean you can always have items that you need ship to you by FedEx.
If you are positive of what you need and you can find it locally I would go ahead and get it there despite the higher cost... You will have it quicker and there's no freight charges.
West Marine has grown by leaps and bounds over the years and you can even buy a boat insurance from them.
A boater staying out of West Marine is like a book lover trying to avoid Barnes & Noble... Don't fight it they probably have what you need.
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By Gary Pierce