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Old 07-29-2016, 10:07 PM   #41
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Surely you are better off, and the marinas too, doing your own marina research and booking direct, rather than using an aggregation service which clips the ticket for a fee on the way through. The marina loses no commission, by receiving a full rate it can offer you better accommodation and service. It may even be in their interest to give you a better rate, somewhere between the reduced amount they get after the ticket gets clipped by an aggregator, and their rack rate, if you contact them direct.
I`ve found hotels respond favorably to direct booking, no reason marinas would not too, it`s in their financial interest to deal with customers without a "middle man".
+1 - KISS + Cheaper
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Old 07-30-2016, 06:01 AM   #42
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I checked out the Dockwa web site.

The area I know best, Maine, had exactly 18 marinas listed. Obviously there are a LOT missing. That's OK, this service is still new. I'm familiar with all of the marinas listed, and have stayed at many of them. One of my favorites is on the list, but most aren't.

I have to assume that, as the service grows, they'll add a way to refine the location a little. Maybe a chart that allows the user to select their own region of interest. I find that a lot more helpful than having to select from a list of pre-defined regions chosen by someone with different criteria than I might use.

I liked the design, with "tiles" for each marina clearly showing prices and AC ratings. One thing Active Captain is missing is a good way to compare current pricing for a region. Dockwa has the potential to help with that, which would be a huge benefit to cruisers, not to mention possibly encouraging competition between marinas.

I used a computer, but I can see where the tiles would also work on smaller screens. Both dock and mooring rates (where available) were shown, along with the BoatUS icon for those offering some sort of discount. Good information to have!

With all guides, it helps to understand who the customer is. If the best customer is the marina with the deepest pockets, then the guide - be it a book or on-line - is going to steer you in that direction. Rarely will you see anchorages, smaller marinas or mooring fields listed in those guides. Active Captain is the exception, with more of a user-oriented model. (Thanks Jeff!)

Sometimes, you're not looking for just a marina. A way to compare current fuel prices in the region of interest would be a huge plus. A way to sort on marina services and amenities might help, too.

In navigation, I always use every tool at my disposal. Dockwa seems like a good tool to have, despite some limitations. If Jeff is right about the model being both customer-friendly and marina-friendly, then I hope they can expand it to cover more marinas.
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Old 07-30-2016, 06:32 AM   #43
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The ActiveCaptain website will show transient slip pricing, optionally sorted low to high in the list on the left - see the screen shot. Use the Settings section at the bottom to set that up. Diesel or gas can be displayed the same way. Any of the apps using the data can easily do the same thing - if it's something you want, tell the developer of your favorite app to add some pricing display/sorting. Especially since no app does it today, it would be a unique feature for them.

For fuel, there's even a nicer way by state. Here are the known diesel prices for Maine in order from low to high:
https://activecaptain.com/fuelLists/...exUS.php?st=ME

Prices time out after a month so the data is generally pretty current. The date of the price is always displayed so you get a little more confidence. Because the prices time out, marinas often update their ActiveCaptain display price when the fuel price changes. They also get some warnings before the time out happens.

Front Street is wiping up. Who knew their diesel price was so good (for Maine)...
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Old 07-30-2016, 09:13 AM   #44
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.............

How common is it really to encounter nowhere to anchor? Even if not your first choice, isn't there generally another nearby option?
There are stretches of the AICW where anchorages are twenty or thirty miles apart.
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Old 07-30-2016, 09:26 AM   #45
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On my recent trip, I called all the marinas directly. I found out when I paid that one or two handled the payment through Dockwa. That surprised me as I had never heard of Dockwa before. I can't see any advantage to booking through a third party at this point.
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Old 07-30-2016, 10:01 AM   #46
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I just took a quick look, I like it. My schedule is usually written in jello, I could see this app being helpful to make reservations after hours or for the Marinas that are hard to reach by VHF and phone.

It will be interesting to see how it works, some marina are pretty casual with systems and controls. The quick look I did, some larger marinas were showing no availability on the usually sold out weekends. The smaller place that are usually also sold out, were eithe not updated or maybe had openings...
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Old 07-30-2016, 10:14 AM   #47
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I just took a quick look, I like it. My schedule is usually written in jello, I could see this app being helpful to make reservations after hours or for the Marinas that are hard to reach by VHF and phone.

It will be interesting to see how it works, some marina are pretty casual with systems and controls. The quick look I did, some larger marinas were showing no availability on the usually sold out weekends. The smaller place that are usually also sold out, were eithe not updated or maybe had openings...
I found one, and can't remember who it was now, that only showed the next two days available and then nothing else for the year. Makes me think they simply haven't entered their data.
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Old 07-30-2016, 10:38 AM   #48
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I see you can specify your preferences in the app, but when I talk to the harbormaster directly, I know for sure if my preferences will be met. If not, on to the next option. I would likely have to follow up the online reservation with a call to the marina to see if my preferences were available. The middleman app probably doesn't provide much customer service. For example, some marinas force you to raft or med-tie during very busy times. The harbormaster would let me know if that is the case and I would likely decline. It seems that inserting a third party in the process makes it less efficient. Unlike a Marriott hotel room or an airplane seat, dock space comes in such variety that makes reserving it through an app undesirable for me.
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Old 07-30-2016, 10:49 AM   #49
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I can't see any advantage to booking through a third party at this point.
The same thing was said of Amazon. Why buy a book online? It's much better to just go browse through the books at the store.

Then poof - bookstores are in the history section of Wikipedia. (Encyclopedias are gone too...)

There are huge advantages for online booking of slips over calling by phone. You just have to have a little imagination...

Here's one soon-to-arrive advantage...

The moment you've made the digital connection to the marina, now the app can track where you are in relation to the marina. So no more calling when you're approaching the marina. No, instead the marina calls you (digitally) to forward you your slip assignment, chartlet showing the slip location, and waypoint for the slip itself. When you're a half mile out, an alarm goes off in their office so they can send dockhands to help. Think about the $299/month software provided by Dockwa to give marinas extra capabilities - this is but one simple extra that marinas will demand to have. There are a dozen others.

This isn't pie in the sky. These are things I'm working on. The route sharing API's I released a year ago will allow sharing of route and waypoint data from the internet directly into nav software and even through to the 650 models of chartplotters we're working on now. So the channel from the marina into your chartplotter (with your permission) can easily be done.

And that's just one easy thing that'll happen with digital reservations. There are many others like collapsing the dumb discounts marinas give today like BoatUS. They do nothing for the marina. Instead, larger discounts based on their need to fill slips or attract a certain type of boat/boater will be available (again, special back-end software running for the marina is required - starting to see the pattern of why the business model matters?).

So yeah, we all lost the ability to spend a Saturday morning messing around a bookstore. And some of you will bemoan the limited loss of privacy and the ability for others to track you. But those trains left the station and you're complaining about things that are already being done to you in much worse ways. At least these ways give some advantages to us all.
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Old 08-01-2016, 10:16 AM   #50
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The same thing was said of Amazon. Why buy a book online? It's much better to just go browse through the books at the store.

Then poof - bookstores are in the history section of Wikipedia.
I don't see amazon.com as a "third party" any more than a brick and mortar book store is a "third party". It's just another book store but on-line (it's much more now). And there are brick and mortar book stores in my part of the country still.

While the electronic communications between marina and boater might work in some cases, many marinas are small operations with one or two people on duty at a time. There may not be anyone in the office, they may be on the docks with handheld radios.

At the same time, many boaters are not full digitally equipped. They may have nothing but a simple cell phone and a VHF.

I don't mean to seem like I'm trying to stand in the way of progress, but any third party company is going to want to be paid and in the end, it's the boaters who will be paying. Why try to fix something that's not broken?
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Old 08-01-2016, 12:20 PM   #51
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.....Why try to fix something that's not broken?
Because there are always money hungry people on the road, they are like door to door salesman......
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Old 08-01-2016, 12:38 PM   #52
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Because there are always money hungry people on the road, they are like door to door salesman......

Hm... I provide professional services to my patients. However, I charge them for those services. I guess that makes me "money hungry".

I accept many insurance plans, but only accept insurance plans that will pay me more than what my "chair cost" (the amount that is costs me per minute to have a patient sitting in my chair). That would also make me "money hungry".

I introduce new technology in my practice. These allow me to better diagnose, treat, and manage a variety of conditions. However, I don't add these to my practice unless I can get someone other than me to pay for it. That means the patients or their insurance. That would also make me "money hungry".

Dockwa, AC, marinas, boat yards etc... Are all trying to find ways of providing products and services to their current and potential customer base. They are trying to make a profit and earn a living. I can chose to use those services or not and there are a lot of factors that go into that decision. If someone has a new business idea, I say "good for them".
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Old 08-01-2016, 12:58 PM   #53
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Because there are always money hungry people on the road, they are like door to door salesman......
I find it incredible to express that in a medium (forums) that didn't exist just a couple of decades ago. I guess the owners of this forum are just money hungry too.

Entrepreneurs find needs to make things better. Most are driven by the challenge and not the money. It just seems so angry and small to think that people creating new things are just door to door salesmen.

I wonder why I spend time here. Thanks for making me question that.
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Old 08-01-2016, 03:13 PM   #54
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I find it incredible to express that in a medium (forums) that didn't exist just a couple of decades ago. I guess the owners of this forum are just money hungry too.

Entrepreneurs find needs to make things better. Most are driven by the challenge and not the money. It just seems so angry and small to think that people creating new things are just door to door salesmen.

I wonder why I spend time here. Thanks for making me question that.
Actually I often wonder why you or any business are permitted to discuss your products in these general member strings. Ask to have the discussion taken to the Commercial section if you want to participate. Or post your thoughts over there. Same for parts suppliers hawking parts, delivery captains quietly soliciting customers (and tips), insurance agents, surveyors, brokers, folks selling books, and the rest. There's a lot of subtle marketing slipping in lately. But since this thread is already rolling along I'll add a few thoughts.

Automated information aids like AC and the rest do eventually add to the cost of boating, and they eventually cost every boater, whether we use the aids or not. Marinas pass along the cost with higher slip fees, advertisers pass along the cost, and on and on. It's a tax on me whether I use the information aid or not. More importantly, the endless dissemination of information to the masses has fostered the end of boating as it once was. These "aids" make it way too easy. A good example is that every formerly quiet little anchorage or village gem is now clobbered with boats from virtually everywhere. Forget quiet and placid. And it's not because boating is up overall. Sites like yours have instigated a move of the masses to the "best" spots (often ruining them in the process). One town comes to mind where there used to be a small, quiet marina. For years slips weren't difficult to get on arrival, or after an over night anchor. First come, first served. Then along comes the information age, and everybody and their brother learns about this nice little town. Boating traffic goes through the roof and the town builds a new and very large marina....with reservations. The anchorage virtually disappears. The place has turned into a crowded rat race with rude, loud boaters from who knows where jostling for position. We now avoid the place. Simply a casualty of the information era. That said, the town management is happy, the boaters don't know they're destroying the heritage and atmosphere of the place, and you're happy, so what's the problem. Right? Everyone is making a buck...


Yes, the ferry has left the station. Doesn't mean every software person in the business has to jump on the throttle and drive the boating world further into the Niagra Falls model. That is exactly what's happening. All in the name of "convenience", and to make a buck.
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Old 08-01-2016, 03:31 PM   #55
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Lol, while I still use compass and paper chart, I am very happy to have some of these modern conveniences that make boating more accessible. Everything from VHF to GPS, cruising guides to TF itself are things that make boating easier, safer, and more accessible than "back in the day". Sure, my home port of Gig Harbor isn't the same sleepy fishing village that it was when I learned to sail there 50+ years ago, but I can live with that.
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Old 08-01-2016, 03:47 PM   #56
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I am also a motorhome enthousiast, drove from Holland to China and back through Siberia. ( Reysigher op reis )

I see the same happening there, lots of communities, hotels and restaurants in Europe offered free places for motorhomes, there are still a lot of them but the numbers are decreasing because Money Hungry people (often not even RV users) jumped on this phenominia and started bussines somewhat like a ActiveCamper....

Example Meer dan 10.000 camperplaatsen in Europa
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Old 08-01-2016, 04:05 PM   #57
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Lol, while I still use compass and paper chart, I am very happy to have some of these modern conveniences that make boating more accessible. Everything from VHF to GPS, cruising guides to TF itself are things that make boating easier, safer, and more accessible than "back in the day". Sure, my home port of Gig Harbor isn't the same sleepy fishing village that it was when I learned to sail there 50+ years ago, but I can live with that.
Most of your remarks are associated with operating the boat and safety. I'm speaking of the accelerating demise of the boating environment. There's a difference. "I can live with that" is capitulating to the down hill plunge toward bad restuarants, T-shirt shops and skateboards. It's a cop out. Yes, I understand this is progress, but you don't have to like it. Resist, dammit. Dumbing down the environment itself is not a good thing.
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Old 08-01-2016, 04:13 PM   #58
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Most of your remarks are associated with operating the boat and safety. I'm speaking of the accelerating demise of the boating environment. There's a difference. "I can live with that" is capitulating to the down hill plunge toward bad restuarants, T-shirt shops and skateboards. It's a cop out. Yes, I understand this is progress, but you don't have to like it. Resist, dammit. Dumbing down the environment itself is not a good thing.

OK, so let's stick with your example of the formerly quiet little town Marina. You are unhappy because other boaters found out about it and that it is harder to get into and doesn't have the same quiet charm it used to. I understand that.

Do you think that the local Cafe would have asked you never to tell anyone about the town because they were afraid of more customers? Maybe the gas dock didn't really want to sell more fuel or the grocers more supplies to boaters? My guess, and only a guess, is that most of the businesses welcome the increased trade.
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Old 08-01-2016, 04:30 PM   #59
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OK, so let's stick with your example of the formerly quiet little town Marina. You are unhappy because other boaters found out about it and that it is harder to get into and doesn't have the same quiet charm it used to. I understand that.

Do you think that the local Cafe would have asked you never to tell anyone about the town because they were afraid of more customers? Maybe the gas dock didn't really want to sell more fuel or the grocers more supplies to boaters? My guess, and only a guess, is that most of the businesses welcome the increased trade.
ALL of the businesses had more than they could handle before the new marina was built. The town is now a certified mob scene...on the water and off. Of course the local businesses endorsed it before it happened, but there's no question they're second guessing it now. Congestion, noise crime, increased police and fire....taxes. A precipitous descent from charm into shtick in about ten years time.
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Old 08-01-2016, 04:31 PM   #60
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Jeffrey: I know you initially came to this thread to clarify that the product is not AC but Dockwa. However, you then became very defensive of a product with which you are heavily involved, have a vested interest and are no objective about. As to your "why are you here" routine, you've come and gone and threatened to leave and I don't think most of us pay attention to it now. It's just you venting and that's fine. Meanwhile I love AC and think it's one of the greatest services available to boaters anywhere. If I had to give up every cruising guide and marina or anchorage service except one, AC would hands down be the one I'd keep.

Reiziger. It's clear you are angry the world continues to evolve. That's not Jeffrey's fault. To somehow declare AC informing boaters of anchorages they might otherwise not know about is somehow evil is really reaching. I personally like information. Does it cost? Not much. He collects money from advertisers who are clearly indicated as being such, and unlike the vast majority of sites, his information and reviews are not skewed toward endorsements of the advertisers. I also think AC contributes to better marinas. Marinas do pay attention and do want four and five stars and many work to insure they maintain good ratings. It is the only place with significant reviews of marinas and anchorages by just plain simple average users.

Now for the facts you don't seem to like. All businesses are motivated by profits. All individuals are to some degree motivated by money as well. Even those that do tremendous charitable work need the profits to allow them to do so. Charities are motivated to bring in revenues. I just don't see it as evil. Those of us who try to help causes, whatever they might be, need money to be able to do so.

An interesting thing about profits. They're votes. In business they are the audience of customers voting on whether your business needs to exist. Now, sometimes the public votes in ways I wouldn't agree. Seems that happens to you. However, it's fair and I accept it. Dockwa won't succeed or fail because of their profit motive. It will do so based on consumer and business needs and willingness to pay. Jeffrey believes it will be highly successful. I don't. We'll both just have to wait to see. However, blaming Jeffrey for all the progress that is changing the world in ways you don't like just isn't fair. Blame all the rest of it, who want his services, who want more information, and who are willing to accept there is a cost. I'm to blame. I've used AC and docked with many of their advertisers. Yes, how evil, they advertise, they get reviews by independent users, the reviews are good, I read them, I choose to dock there.
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