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Old 09-30-2009, 10:43 AM   #1
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Hi Everyone,

I'm just doing some research into whether people like yourselves would perhaps use / benefit from an online system which would allow you to book a Marina in advance? It would be a system which you could put your yacht details into and it would come up with the Marinas which would be suitable for your vessel in the area you searched for.

How far in advance do you book a marina at the moment? Also would a freephone telephone number which you could call to book a marina (anywhere in the world) be useful?

Any feedback would be most appreciated.

Many Thanks.
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Old 09-30-2009, 12:59 PM   #2
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I think there's something like that in the US already, but I don't know how much use it is put to. Here's my take on it.

We aren't particularly frequent marina visitors, but we do stop into one occasionally. Here on the East Coast US I will use our cell phone to call ahead to a marina on the day we expect to stop in there to see if they have room for us that night. I hear the large power yachts on VHF confirming that they have a reservation for that night so it seems that many, if not most, boats along this coast use their cell phones to make marina reservations.

I'm not so sure that on line reservations would work as well or be as popular. First, for many of us our plans are made as we travel; weather conditions and how much distance we are able to make towards our final destination when we are just day-tripping along. Even when we know we're going to want to stop at a marina, we can be several days too early or late when we first make our plans.

For vacationers with only a week or two on their boat, though, I think that perhaps there would be a greater usage since their plans are less flexible than a full-time (or even part-time, seasonal) cruiser.

I think that if it gave the prices for a slip online for each marina subscribing to such a service, even by those of us who have a hard time knowing what we are going to be doing tomorrow that it might be fairly well-used, though. Pretty sure that the average cruiser would shop prices very carefully, and if the marina didn't live up to its promise you might hear some loud complaints.

As for the rest of the world? I know nothing about marinas in the Med, so can't comment. For the Baltic, we stopped in a marina practically every night, and they were all "first-come, first-served" and in most cases, "we'll take everybody who shows up, even if they have to raft up three- or four-boats deep." No reservations. True equal-opportunity, non-discriminating marina services (can you tell that I liked the idea? Although I think that it is a bit difficult for an American to understand the idea.)

Just my opinion, of course.

J
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Old 09-30-2009, 04:01 PM   #3
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Wow,

Thank you for putting some time into a decent response.

With regards to using your cell phone to book yourself in to a marina, if you had a free phone number you could dial with a representative that would make all the booking arrangements for you and call you back with confirmation as well as find alternative nearby marinas that could accommodate you should the marina chosen or suggested not have space would you use that service?

Online reservations are for the strict itinerary users and people who stick to their travel schedule, not for people who book as they go depending on how things pan out. This may not necessarily be the case if you could get decent internet connectivity aboard your yacht and make reservations for the marina the same day.

I think the key is having someone call you back to let you know that your marina space has been booked or even send you an SMS text message to confirm its been booked but call you if alternative arrangements have to be made.

Obviously some marinas are a complete shambles and the thought of trying to book in advance is laughable as it basically first come first serve and a lot of rafting up should the marina become overwhelmed.

Let me know what your thoughts are on this as it's something I'm seriously considering setting up.
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Old 09-30-2009, 05:50 PM   #4
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I would like it. I find it a pain to get local information ahead of arrival. When I come into a strange town, I like to have a known landing place even if it isn't great so I can stop, rest, get out, and find out what to do and where to go.

Some places don't allow pre-booking. No guest slips are issued until you get there. I find this a PITA and a worry since I never know what I will find till I get there and I never really know when I will get there anyway, being a sailboat.

All my experience is US west coast and Sea of Cortez.
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Old 10-01-2009, 02:15 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Coyote View Post
I would like it. I find it a pain to get local information ahead of arrival. When I come into a strange town, I like to have a known landing place even if it isn't great so I can stop, rest, get out, and find out what to do and where to go.
I second that! Peter and I seem to always be at odds as to what we want to do - stop in a marina or anchor. If he wants to stop in a marina and I am having trouble finding one, getting in touch with them, feeling lost and confused, I pull out the charts and find an anchorage and say "that's it, there's where I want to be!" Even if it's not true but the work in finding a marina just gets to me sometimes. Boy am I appreciative if we find a good marina! Of course, each person's idea of a good marina is probably different. You might take a hint from the hotel finder services with their graphics describing amenities, such as "pool, laundry, restaurant on premises or nearby, internet,..."

I have pretty good internet access from our boat, but I'm not sure that the majority of small boats do. I think that a cell phone is the preferred "instant gratification" communications method for coastal cruisers, especially while they are en route. But I think that might change in the near future as more sophisticated "smart" phones and better data packages are offered by cellular providers. Are there such things as free phone numbers from a cell phone?

J
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