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West Marine's Maintenance-Free Batteries Offer Reliability And Long Life.

Business Editors

WATSONVILLE, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--May 25, 2001

Don't get caught offshore with a drained battery and an engine that won't start. West Marine's (NASDAQ:WMAR) SeaGel and AGM (Absorbed Glass Mat) sealed batteries provide a maintenance-free, long-lasting power supply for recreational and commercial boaters. Specially designed for the marine environment, these deep-cycle and dual-purpose (starting and deep-cycle capabilities) batteries offer plenty of power for a wide variety of applications.

"Boaters need a power source they can trust," says Chuck Hawley, West Marine's vice president of product development. "Our marine SeaGels and AGM batteries are superior by industry standards, offering boaters the best technology and quality. In addition to being extremely reliable, their sealed construction makes them a safe alternative to conventional flooded batteries. And although they cost more than conventional batteries, they are a better value since they deliver more power and longer cycle life."

Sealed deep-cycle batteries contain a viscous chemical "gel" that provides several times the cycle life of flooded batteries and even considerably more than other gels. West Marine's SeaGel Batteries are resistant to damage from repeated deep discharges and extended storage. Even after remaining completely discharged for 30 days, deep-cycle gels will recharge to full capacity, unlike conventional flooded batteries. Once charged, a low self-drain rate allows the battery to sit unattended for an entire winter without significant power loss.

Although these batteries cost more then conventional flooded batteries, they produce more energy over their lifetime, which makes them a better value. In fact, SeaGel batteries deliver 30 to 100 percent more energy over the course of their lives compared to other deep-cycle marine batteries.

Dual-purpose absorbed glass mat (AGM) batteries use technology wherein a dense, absorbent glass mat separator is compressed between the battery's positive and negative plates. This provides the battery with more starting power and greater charge acceptance than conventional batteries. Designed for both starting and deep-cycle applications, sealed dual-purpose AGM's perform longer than conventional dual-purpose batteries.

Both technologies offer boaters freedom from battery maintenance and, consequently, from accidental acid spills, terminal corrosion, gas leakage and the danger of explosion. Since the batteries are completely sealed, they can be inverted or installed in hard-to-reach or cramped locations. They can even be completely immersed underwater without leaks, spills or damage.

West Marine's SeaGel and AGM sealed batteries offer boat owners the benefit of reliability over a long period of time. Long cycle life, low self-discharge and resistance to damage caused by vibration result in lower replacement costs. West Marine backs up its claim of durability with an 18-month full replacement warranty on all sealed batteries.

Samples of the West Marine's SeaGel and AGM batteries are available upon request for editorial testing. Please contact West Marine for more information.

West Marine, Inc. is the nation's largest specialty retailer of boating supplies and apparel, with 238 stores in 38 states and Puerto Rico, and more than $500 million in annual sales. The Company's highly successful Catalog and Internet channels offer customers approximately 50,000 products -- far more than any competitor -- and the convenience of being able to exchange Internet purchases at West Marine retail stores. The Company's Port Supply division is the country's largest wholesale distributor of marine equipment, serving boat manufacturers, marine services, commercial vessel operators and government agencies. Because the overwhelming majority of West Marine's revenues come from aftermarket sales, the Company has traditionally been less affected by economic downturns than manufacturers and sellers of new boats.

In 1999, West Marine launched its West Advantage program designed to build on the Company's strong brand identity and reward loyal customers. The Company expects to have signed up more than one million West Advantage members by year-end 2001. West Marine's other new initiatives include insurance, a private label credit card, boat financing, boat towing, extended service contracts, and new destination super-stores.

"Safe Harbor" Statement Under the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995: The statements contained in this press release that relate to future plans, events, expectations, objectives, or performance (or assumptions underlying such matters), including statements regarding future comparable store net sales and gross margin, are forward-looking statements that involve a number of risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those set forth in or implied by such forward-looking statements. Risks and uncertainties include the Company's ability to increase sales at its existing stores and expand through the opening of new stores, competitive pricing pressures, inventory management and shrink issues, the market share erosion faced by the Company's catalog division as the Company and its competitors have opened new stores, the impact of the Internet on the supply chain, weather-related issues, the level of consumer spending on recreational water sports and boating supplies, and other risk factors disclosed from time to time in the Company's SEC filings.
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Publication:Business Wire
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:May 25, 2001
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