AO Custom Marine Products FAQ’s & Guidance

American Offshore Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Before you scroll down to find answers to our most Frequently Asked Questions, did you know we have the industry's most advanced interactive Online Product Design Tool?

We created this fun & intuitive drag-n-drop program for the weekend warriors who know exactly what they want and want it now.  Our product design tool will save you a ton of time by avoiding the sometimes unnecessary back and forth with our sales & design team.

Watch the video below for a quick intro into our Online Product Design Tool!

So let's get straight to the reason you're here - you have questions and/or you're looking for some guidance on custom products that we can manufacture for you and YOUR boat.  You've come to the right place!  

Search the topics below to find the answer to your question(s).

Hint: Hit 'Ctrl+F' on your keyboard to speed up your topic search by looking for specific keywords.
Ex: "odd shaped products"

Couldn't find the right answer below? No worries!

We're continuously building our FAQ's & Guidance library so we apologize for not being able to answer your question on this page.  BUT!  You can reach out to us via the chat box in the bottom right, email, phone, text, Instagram, FB messenger, whatever.  No question is too stupid so please do not hesitate to ask!

Just a quick note; we can tackle just about any custom one-off project involving acrylic and starboard material and we can typically provide you a quote pretty quickly.  Go ahead and take some pictures of the areas of your boat you'd like to upgrade then answer the questions in our interactive easy to navigate 'AO Quote Request' form.  It will take you approximately 5 to 10 minutes to complete the form and you can do it right from your phone!  Completing the form gives you information about the products we offer while also giving us the information of what products you want upgraded on your boat.

Here's the link:  AO Interactive Online Quote Request Form

"What's it cost?"
Ahhhhh yes the most popular question on the face of the earth!  The easiest thing to do is visit our AO Interactive Online Quote Request Form

You can complete that form on your phone or computer. It will take you about 10 minutes to do so. The form will ask you a series of questions so you know exactly what we offer for your custom product request(s). When you're finished answering the questions it will automatically relay us enough information so we can send you an accurate quote for your project.

If you have any in-depth questions and would like to schedule a phone call or video chat with one of our experts please CLICK HERE

"What's a switch/dash panel cost?"

The cost of a switch/dash panel depends on sooooooo many factors, but here is a general rule of thumb for pricing our switch/dash panels:

  • It doesn't depend so much on the size of the panel as it does the components going into the panel and how many components are going into the panel.
  • Toggle switch panels ballpark around $50 per switch
  • Rocker switch panels ballpark around $75 per switch
  • Pushbutton switch panels ballpark around $100 per switch

The above ballpark prices include:
1. A life-like design emailed to you for approval
2. The panel
3. Switches installed into the panel
4. Switches completely wired so you can install your new panel easily
5. FREE domestic shipping

The easiest thing to do is visit our AO Interactive Online Quote Request Form

You can complete that form on your phone or computer. It will take you about 10 minutes to do so. The form will ask you a series of questions so you know exactly what we offer for your custom product request(s). When you're finished answering the questions it will automatically relay us enough information so we can send you an accurate quote for your project.

If you have any in-depth questions and would like to schedule a phone call or video chat with one of our experts please CLICK HERE

Why are we asking you to pay a DESIGN DEPOSIT?
The answer is very simple - we want you to receive a perfect product!  Some designs are very easy and some designs are very complex, but we give extreme care and attention to detail with each design. Extreme care and attention to detail takes time and "time is money". Everything we do is hand designed and manufactured in the United States and we all know US salaries are not cheap.  Your $10 design deposit shows us you are extremely interested in purchasing a custom product from us and are not attempting to have us design your product for free.

"What's the process after I pay for this DESIGN DEPOSIT?"
  1.  After your design deposit order is placed an order number will be generated for you (Example: AO-2021).  You will reference your order number for the remainder of the custom design & manufacturing process.

  2.  Your DESIGN will be emailed to you within 2 business days after your design deposit order is placed.

  3.  If we knock the design out of the park and nothing needs to be changed then you can sign the AO Design Approval Form & pay your remaining balance.  If you need us to make changes to the design let us know you do not approve the design and inform us of the changes you want done.  

  4.  After you pay the remaining balance you can sit back & relax while we manufacture your custom product!

"Why should I purchase from American Offshore?"
We're a veteran owned small business with second to no one customer service and incredibly high quality products that are competitively priced.  We guarantee you will love your Custom Marine Products or we will refund 100% of your order - no questions asked.  Give us a shot then tell your friends how great of an experience you had!

You don't approve of the quote. Tell us why. Is the price too high? Are the lead times too long? Did you find someone that can do it cheaper?
Just a heads up; BE CAREFUL WITH “CHEAPER”! It might be cheaper for you now, but it won’t be cheaper when you have to replace it again in the near future. We honestly can’t match “CHEAPER” because we simply don’t use cheap products. Everything we offer is of the highest quality in the marine industry that WE would want on our boats.

The important thing to remember is this: quotes are flexible, quotes can be adjusted, quotes are never 'LOCKED IN' and you don't HAVE to proceed with the initial quote that we sent you.

We're boaters too, so we understand you want the best boat for your buck!

Maybe you're looking to purchase something "just to get back out on the water" and you "don't care what it looks like, you just want it to work".

Maybe you want the awesome look of pushbutton switches, but your budget only allows for "affordable switch" pricing. Every customer & every budget is unique so it's totally understandable! 

In cases like this just let us know you want something as affordable as possible and we'll accommodate your requests by changing the components to a more affordable option, removing some unnecessary upgrades, and/or finding other creative ways to match YOUR budget and YOUR needs.  We're extremely flexible so just chat with us about your budget & your vision - WE'RE HERE TO HELP YOU UPGRADE YOUR BOAT!

We will always try our best to accommodate everyone’s needs, so we offer interest free financing, military & first responder discounts (10%), expedited manufacturing & shipping, and we’ll beat ANY competitor’s price by at least 5% GUARANTEED! Just ask us how...

Product Design Tool not working on mobile device (phone, iPhone, tablet, etc.)
Nothing we can do to help you here.  Unfortunately the product design tool is limited to large screen applications like desktop computers.  Some tablets will allow for normal operation & appearance, but we recommend you design your custom product on a desktop computer.

Lead times (How many days until it ships?)
We're boaters too.  We understand you want it now, or sometimes even, yesterday!  We will make every attempt to get your product shipped as fast as possible without sacrificing quality.  If you need it "yesterday" we offer expedited manufacturing & UPS Next Day Air at additional costs.  Our manufacturing line is organized on a first come first served basis so please do not hesitate if you expect to receive your product in a timely manner. Checkout our lead times by clicking HERE, but remember:

Odd shaped products (odd shapes, circles, round bezels, etc.)
If your product requires unique contours/shapes and we do not have your product's shape on file we will likely ask you to please ship your old/existing product or a template (cardboard, plywood, something rigid) of your odd shaped product to us so we can guarantee we match the specifications precisely. Remember, our products are custom designed and manufactured specifically for YOU. We may have already manufactured a product similar to yours, but it is up to you to ensure the product will fit YOUR application. If you have any doubt then we recommend shipping a template to us. If we already have your product's shape on file we will likely not ask you to ship anything to us.   

I shipped you a template, so I should trust you 100% with making sure you provide me with an exact replacement product, correct?
Our team will make every attempt to ensure your product is precise down to the millimeter.  We do recommend you review your design with a 'fine toothed comb' so you can verify all aspects of your custom product design.  As the old saying goes, "Measure twice, cut once!"  Well we recommend, "Measure three times - just because!"

Can I print my design to scale at home so I can physically place the design on my boat to see what the product will actually look like once it's installed?
Absolutely - we HIGHLY recommend you do this every time a design is emailed to you!  Guidance on this procedure will be provided when the design is emailed to you.

How to relay each individual switch information to us
This side of the project will require you to complete your own homework on your boat/vehicle.  It's important to understand that each individual switch is unique when it comes to the function of the switch and how much amperage will be passing through the switch body.  You wouldn't want to install an ON-OFF switch for your horn, unless you're really wanting to piss someone off - haha!  When relaying your individual switch information to us ask yourself the following three basic questions then provide us with the answers to those questions: 

1) What is each individual switch controlling?
2) What is the function of each individual switch?
3) What is the amperage that will be passing through each individual switch?

"What is each individual switch controlling?"
The answer to this question should be something like:
Nav/Anc, Lights, Bilge, Livewell, Acc 1, Horn, etc. etc.

"What is the function of each individual switch?"
Quick note: (ON) indicates a momentary function where the switch body springs back to OFF when you physically remove your finger from pressing the switch.  An example of this is a Horn switch.  You have to physically press the switch to the (ON) position for the Horn to 'beeeeeeeeeep' then the horn turns off when you remove your finger from the switch.  Hopefully that makes sense.  

The answer to this question should be something like:
(ON)-OFF (similar to a Horn switch function)
ON-OFF-ON (similar to a Nav/Anc switch function)
(ON)-OFF-(ON) (similar to a Trim Tabs or Windlass switch function)

"What is the amperage that will be passing through each individual switch?"
This is probably the most delicate part of the homework you need to complete.  Make sure you refer to your component's specific manual or spec sheet, but the general rule of thumb for amp ratings is:

Lights: 5-10a
Pumps: 10-20a
Accessories: 10-20a
12v Socket Plugs: 15a

The amperage passing through the switch body is dictated by the component (pump, light, etc.) at the end of the circuit.  Each component is unique in how much amperage is required to 'run' the component so make sure to reference the component's manual to see how much amperage is required to run that specific component.  If you do not have the physical paperwork on that component then you can search online for that component's electrical specifications and often times the electrical specifications are even printed on the backside of the component itself.  If all else fails we recommend contacting the component's manufacture to see if they know the answer to how much amperage that component uses.

Pushbutton switches - "NON-Resettable versus Resettable... what's the difference?"

To be quite honest it's actually very simple to comprehend the difference between a NON-resettable pushbutton switch and a RESETTABLE pushbutton switch.  So what's the difference?  Built-in circuit protection!  That's really all that you need to understand, but let's elaborate a little bit just in case you're more curious;

Resettable versus NON-resettable

"How thick does my product need to be?"
This can sort of be a 'tricky' question but don't overthink it!  Reach out to us and let us help you figure out the correct thickness that your product needs to be.
Here's some basic questions to ask yourself when choosing the correct product thickness:
  1. What is the thickness of my old/current product? 
  2. Will my product be supporting components that might be a little heavy?
  3. Do I want chamfered edges?  (If so you'll need at least 3/8" thick material)
  4. Is there a weather seal/gasket that I need to consider?
  5. Will there be 'fragile' areas/spots in my product when holes are cutout in some areas?

Here's a good rule of thumb when deciding on your product's thickness: if your upgrade will allow for it... OVER-ENGINEER THE THING! If it can be a little bit thicker then go with the thicker material option to eliminate the chance of you regretting you had gone with a thicker material.  

Can I get a backlit logo or text etching on my product?
More than likely, YES.  Please ask an AO associate for more guidance.

Shouldn't my phone/email conversations be the final say for my product design?
Ehhhhhhhhh, no.  All custom products are manufactured IAW the FINAL APPROVED DESIGN.  Verify every aspect of the emailed design when you receive it.  If your design needs changes please notify us ASAP before you complete your final payment & approve the design.

Can I expedite the manufacturing and shipping?
Absolutely!  Please notify an AO associate if you need expedited manufacturing and/or shipping.  Please ensure the upgrades are reflected at the top of Page 1 of your quote.

Does expedited manufacturing also include expedited SHIPPING?
NO.  Please notify an AO associate if your shipping needs to be expedited.  Manufacturing and shipping information are reflected at the top of Page 1 of your quote.

Which shipping carrier do you use?
UPS Ground is our standard domestic shipping method, but we will ship via your preferred carrier.  Please notify an AO associate if you prefer an alternative shipping carrier.

Do you ship internationally?
Absolutely!  Please notify an AO associate if your order requires international shipping.  Please ensure the upgrades are reflected at the top of Page 1 of your quote.

How long does the entire process take?
Budget a week or so for quoting, design and payment.  Then budget the business days (noted on your design) for your product to be manufactured.  Then budget shipping days.  We're boaters too, so we understand you want your product "yesterday" and we will make every attempt to ensure you receive your custom product ASAP.

Can't you do me a favor and bump me to the head of the line?  After all, it's "JUST A SIMPLE DESIGN!"
If you pay the expedite upgrade, YES.  We treat every single customer as if their custom product is the most important, regardless of project complexity.  Fairness for all of our customers is important to us so products are manufactured by the date they enter manufacturing.  After all, would you want someone cutting you in line?

Do you offer more options or products?
Of course!  Scroll all around our website to see all of the latest and greatest that we have available for your boat upgrade!

I approved the FINAL DESIGN and completed payment, but I noticed I missed a few things on the design.  Do I need to pay for a re-design and/or re-cut?
If manufacturing of your product has already begun, YES.  We make every attempt to emphasize that you need to verify the design before giving us FINAL DESIGN APPROVAL.