Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Imagine You Have No Car

(1:09) We were having dinner with some fellow cruisers and the conversation turned to things they look for when selecting a marina. One of the boaters said, "Every marina needs to imagine what it's like without a car." The comment received instant support from the other boaters.

(1:02) Do you know what it's like to live at your marina without a car?

(1:00) If you are a marina that wants transients to stay for more than just one night, you need to understand the issues surrounding transportation for boaters. The best way to do that is to experience it yourself. There is no faster or more accurate way to understand the issues. Once you truly understand them, you will be better positioned to offer solutions that transients will love.

(0:52) One day this week leave your car in the parking lot and see what it is like to live without a car. Take a walk to that grocery store that is "just up the road." Fill several bags and walk back. Consider how safe the roads are for walking and biking. Is there a better route you might suggest?

(0:45) Actually take the bus that stops nearby and find out how easy, or hard, it is to get where you want. Learn what stops are best and understand how any transfers that are needed work. Call the local taxis service and see how long it takes and how much it costs. Really understand the options that boaters have.

(0:38) Then you will be ready to provide all of the information I want and need. This will likely encompass a wide range of things.

(0:34) Real distances to the nearby services is the most critical. I can't count the number of times we have been told that a store is "only 5 minutes away" only to discover that might be true if we were in a car driving 50 mph. The difference of one half versus one mile to someone on foot is huge. So don't guess the distances. Actually measure and record them. Then include that information in your welcome packet. Let me decide if I can walk, bike, or need motorized transportation.

(0:22) Providing a map is great but at a minimum offer a list of services and amenities nearby with the address, phone number, and real distance from the marina.

(0:18) Know all possible transportation options available including bus, taxis, rental cars, and rental bikes. Provide contact information and other details, such as the bus schedule, in your welcome packet. Make it easy for a transient boater.

(0:12) I've written about this before. If access is difficult and options are few, consider offering a courtesy car or a shuttle service. This is an amenity that is becoming more common and definitely something that transients look and plan for.

(0:06) Solving boaters' transportation issues can bring in more boaters and get them to stay longer which means more revenue for your marina.

(0:02) And that's the marina minute.