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Old 01-22-2017, 10:55 AM   #1
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Default Transient Docking Business Idea

Hi All,

I'm a senior at Clarkson University and I'm trying to start my own business. I appreciate you taking time to read this. I've made this post in the Northeast region section already but I would like to recieve feedback from the Great Lakes region.

My startup is a website (Not Open Yet) that is designed to allow boaters to find private-owned dock space as they travel from place to place. These docks can be reserved in advance or you can find nearby dock space on demand. These reservations would have a maximum of 30 days for one stay. Seasonal reservations will be considered.

Here are some questions that may help with your feedback:

1) Have you needed a dock space for a few days before?
2) How do you currently plan for dock space as you travel?
3) What are your thoughts on renting a space from a private owner?
4) What do you like about the idea, and more importantly what do you NOT like about it?
5) Do you think this website would make you want to discover more places on land?

I was able to talk to a few boaters who enjoy traveling up the Hudson to the St. Lawrence Seaway. These boaters said that they like to travel based on good weather conditions and that this website would allow them to take advantage of this weather by finding dock space further ahead.

I would love your perspective as a boater, dock owner, or both.

Again, thank you for taking the time to read this.

Feel free to reach out to me if you would like to talk more about this business idea.
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Old 01-22-2017, 11:07 AM   #2
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This would be useful for tournament fishermen
I had a friend call recently to ask where he could stay next to the tournament. There are few hotels and even fewer places to keepa 36' boat.

Btw I had a lot of friends that went to clarkson. Great school.
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Old 01-22-2017, 11:10 AM   #3
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Very good idea I like it a lot. One thing to consider is clear communication about local conditions, like access throughout tidal shifts
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Old 01-23-2017, 05:51 AM   #4
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Great idea - sort of airbnb for docks? I was glad to see you mention "private-owned". Many if not most dock leases contain language that prohibits sub-letting.

1) Yes.
2) On boat trips, we make reservations when possible at marinas and hope weather and sea conditions allow us to keep on schedule
3) I'd consider it - esp if I could read reviews
4) Lack of privacy - being in someone's backyard etc., and I'd prefer an app to access on a mobile instead of a website. In the Great Lakes, marinas are often destinations themselves, with pools, bars restaurants on-site. That tends to be less-so in the SE.
5) not sure?
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Old 01-23-2017, 06:44 PM   #5
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I thought I seen an app that offered this kind of transient docking idea but I don't recall the name of it.
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Old 01-24-2017, 05:08 AM   #6
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Dockwa is like an expedia or truvago for marinas. It's not taking much hold in our area though. I've had conversation with dockmasters, but the last time i looked they only had 1 or 2 contracts in the whole lake.
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Old 01-24-2017, 09:46 AM   #7
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love this idea.

1) Have you needed a dock space for a few days before?--yes, often
2) How do you currently plan for dock space as you travel?--use active captain to get reviews and then call the marina that I like to inquire on space
3) What are your thoughts on renting a space from a private owner?--no issues,
4) What do you like about the idea, and more importantly what do you NOT like about it?--like, the ability to access more spaces and thus potentially lower costs. Concerns--private dockage--water depth, safety of location (both land and water)
5) Do you think this website would make you want to discover more places on land?--probably not

I keep my boat in FLA (on a trailer) for the winter but am always looking for space to dock while down there (so as to not keep loading/unloading and transporting it each day).

I'm not sure if others have mentioned this yet, but another potential user base are boaters who take trips and this leave their home slip vacant for a period of time.

good luck
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Old 01-24-2017, 03:16 PM   #8
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What I really would like is something like this for parking tow vehicles and trailers. I tow my boat to various places and finding launches is no big deal. However, the biggest problem is finding a safe place to park the tow rig for up to several days at a time. The places that do have safe, multi day parking really limit the places we can boat from.
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Old 01-24-2017, 09:16 PM   #9
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Thank you for all of the advice so far! Your feedback allows me to expand my thoughts and also make better decisions.

Dockwa.com is seen as the hotels.com for the marine industry while the soon-to-be dockahoy.com is seen as the airbnb.com.

It's important to start with a small market segment to test out a startup. My original idea was to start with Lake George and Lake Champlain. Please let me know if you have any suggestions for areas on or around the Great Lakes region.

Again, thank you for the input.
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Old 01-24-2017, 09:55 PM   #10
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Snag-A-Slip is in the process of doing this just an FYI. They do marinas now and will be doing private docks very soon. I know because I have a dock and they spoke to me about it.

Mike
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Old 01-28-2017, 01:03 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RollerCoastr View Post
Dockwa is like an expedia or truvago for marinas. It's not taking much hold in our area though. I've had conversation with dockmasters, but the last time i looked they only had 1 or 2 contracts in the whole lake.
The app I downloaded was called " Slip Finder ". I have the app but I have never used it.
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Old 03-24-2017, 08:30 PM   #12
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Will prove to be more difficult on Great Lakes as there are few privately owned docks - most are marina leased due to the restricted access to the lakes. I know that I can not sublease my dock space as the marina itself will rent it out if my boat is not going to be there for a few days. (no $ to me, all to them) I am not even sure that I would not get hassled if I pulled my registered boat and put one of my other boats into my slip. I am sure they would ask but may let me leave it there... Our slips are rented to a single boat.
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Old 03-25-2017, 05:39 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PrivateerSportFishing View Post
Will prove to be more difficult on Great Lakes as there are few privately owned docks - most are marina leased due to the restricted access to the lakes. I know that I can not sublease my dock space as the marina itself will rent it out if my boat is not going to be there for a few days. (no $ to me, all to them) I am not even sure that I would not get hassled if I pulled my registered boat and put one of my other boats into my slip. I am sure they would ask but may let me leave it there... Our slips are rented to a single boat.
Same here on Lake Erie. Marina typical rules say if you leave your dock for more than 24 hours you need to let the harbormaster know - they will rent it out to transients and of course keep the dockage fees.
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