Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Little Things

(1:06) My Minutes typically draw on my own experiences as a liveaboard cruiser and marketer. But I also like to listen to what other boaters, marinas, and people involved in the marine industry have to say and incorporate that wisdom, experience, or knowledge. A fairly new boater email me a suggestion to pass along to marinas through the Minute. What she wrote about was just a "little thing" but it struck a cord with me and I know other boaters feel the same way.

(0:58) As I've addressed in other Minutes, coming into an unfamiliar marina can be one of the most stressful moments of a cruiser's day. There are so many things to consider - current, wind, and the directions to the slip. While there's little you can do for the first 2 items, it is fairly easy to remove the stress from the last one.

(0:51) A typical marina will lay out their docks along lettered rows with numbered slips. When we make our VHF call as we approach the marina we'll often be told something like, "You'll be on C dock in slip 16." Then we may receive some additional instructions, port/starboard side, X slips down, or some other direction for finding our slip, such as, boat names we'll be near or landmarks on shore.

(0:43) Too often the directions are confusing in ways you may not even realize. Remember, we are new to your marina and everything we see is unfamiliar and must be processed while doing numerous other tasks. Add to that, missing or blocked signage and you quickly create a confusing and stressful situation. I think fellow boater Annette on Magnolia said it best in her email:

(0:35) "It would be most helpful if marinas would include a map of their slips with how the slips are labeled and numbered. This could be on their website. Sometimes they have the letter of the pier but not whether the slips are numbered odd/even or high to low. This would be a huge help for newbies or those new to a marina to reduce docking stress by at least knowing which direction to head. St Augustine Public Mooring field had a good map. Also really good signage helps."

(0:25) If you already have such a map, make sure it is easy for boaters to find on your website. Consider putting a link to the page under the Dockage/Docks section of your ActiveCaptain marker. If you do not have one, now would be the time to develop one.

(0:18) It is also the time to visit the docks and make sure that they are well labeled. And I don't mean from the land side. We have visited many marinas that have wonderful signage at the head of the docks and on power pedestals. That works well if I'm approaching by land but I'm unable to see that signage from my boat. Make sure that there is equally good signage visible from the water.

(0:09) Remember this is my first interaction with your marina. Make it a positive one and you are well on your way to providing me with an excellent experience. Make it a negative one and you are forced to play catch up. Make sure you're starting off on the right foot.

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