Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Anchoring Zen

(1:12) In the early days of ActiveCaptain, marinas sometimes complained about nearby anchorage markers and wanted them removed. That was something we wouldn't do.

(1:08) Anchorages are a key part of the cruising experience. They've always been a major part on the ActiveCaptain data. Understanding how and where they fit can help you use them to your advantage.

(1:03) While there are boaters who never drop the hook and ones that never tie up, the majority fall somewhere in the middle. We estimate that we're split about half and half, and love doing both.

(0:58) If we're on the move, nothing is simpler than anchoring after a long day and leaving at daybreak the next morning. And there are many wonderful places that can only be accessed by anchoring, most of the 1,800 islands of the Penobscot Bay in Maine, for example.

(0:51) When we do pull into a marina, it is typically for a few days, a week, or even a month. It's a time to provision, visit with friends, and explore the sites. The convenience of marina amenities, easy on/off the boat, and a courtesy car or other transportation features are always appreciated.

(0:43) So what does this mean to you?

(0:41) If you are a municipality, consider making dinghy access at the town dock a free service. There is no better way to bring in customers for the businesses in town and to encourage tourism. There are many times we have anchored and used a free dinghy dock and decided to return for a longer stay at a marina in the future. Municipalities charging or otherwise making it difficult for transient boaters to visit are losing sight of the economic impact of cruising boaters.

(0:28) But it's different for commercial marinas. Here you need to consider the needs of paying boaters and how their experience is affected. In this case, fees are reasonable, especially if you are providing access to your amenities.

(0:23) Offering a free or low cost option can be a good marketing tool and build goodwill with boaters. Maybe a dinghy dock for restaurant patrons or a limited tie up to visit the grocery or hardware store.

(0:18) For some marinas even this is not practical - for example, when security on the docks is key. In this case, know the options available to bring a dinghy to shore and tell them to boaters. They'll remember your kindness in the future.

(0:12) In all cases, transparency is key. Make your policies concerning dinghy access clear, easy to find, and consistent. Make sure they are included under the Dockage/Dinghy Dock item. State if you do not offer access and list any nearby options.

(0:06) The typical cruising boater spends time at the dock and time on the hook. Make me feel welcome in both cases and I'll reward you with my business.

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