Friday, August 17, 2012

The Cruising Community Communicates

There are 6,742 cruising boats on the east coast.   5,981 sit at the dock empty, day after day, week after week, month after month, and many probably year after year. 

OK, I made those numbers up.  I guess it's because it's election time and everyone is lying about everything.   Sorry.  I'll generalize.

Then you have cruisers, some of whom are dashing around the Great Loop getting from place to place as quickly as they can.  Some (like us) sit in one place for months on end, enjoying the moment and where we are.  And then you have everyone in between.  No matter how one cruises, one thing I've learned while cruising is that cruisers talk to each other.

We write a blog, like 687 other cruisers.  

Sorry, I made that up too.  Damnit.

By writing and following blogs, we communicate not only with our readers but with fellow bloggers.   Not too long ago, when we posted that we needed a veternarian here in Brunswick, Georgia, our friends on Istaboa, Melonie, Bob, Radar, and Muddy (find their blog listed on our blog list, bottom right) suggested Cheek to Cheek, owned by relatives of theirs.  We took Dirty Gertie there yesterday and were delighted with the vet we saw, Guy Cheek, a cousin of Melonie.  Gertie is in deep shit, it turns out.   She presents like feline asthma but her tests are all negative.  That's a blog post for another day.

We also communicate on Al Gore's internets message boards.  There are many out there, but my favorite is the Cruising Sailor Bulletin Board.  I don't frequent it as often as I used too, but ask one question there and you'll get a dozen different answers, each one correct according to the poster.   The American Great Loop Cruiser's Association has a board, as well as the Marine Trawler Owners Association, and although I don't post on them, I occassionaly read them.  Internet message boards are a great source of up to the minute opinions on, well, anything.

There are relatively new internet tools such as Active Captain.  This is a wonderful resource for cruisers, including an interactive cruising guidebook that is updated continually by cruisers.  Want to know about the marina around the bend?   Look on Active Captain for its reviews.  Want to know about shoaling on the next stretch of the ICW?  Look on Actve Captain for timely information.

Once we cruisers connect, we often stay connected on social media sites like Facebook.  We also "like" marinas, "like" makes of boats, and even "like" boat gear (I "like" Simrad).  So besides connecting with high school friends I haven't seen in 44 years (no, that's a real number, sadly I didn't make that up), I can stay connected with folks I just met and hope to meet again one day.

So what does all this mean?  Well, I suppose you can make it into anything you want to.  But here's my take on it.  Modern technology has made it very difficult for a rotten business to fly under the radar.  Screw over a cruiser and by the speed of light all the others will know about it.  Gouge a cruiser and before you can blink all the other cruisers will know what you did and your docks will empty.  If your marina has outstanding service and fair pricing, cruisers will flock to your docks and your coffers will fill.

I know that this is just common sense, but you'd be amazed at how many boat business people have absolutely no common sense.  Trust me.  If you're a cruiser, I know you're nodding your head in agreement.  If you're not a cruiser yet, you're wondering what the hell I'm talking about.  Go ahead, cast off the dock lines.  You'll see.


  1. Go ahead, I double dog dare you. You're absolutely right, Dave. I know you guys enjoyed your time there, but the sting of being nickel and dimed to death at Isle of Hope Marina has to have left a bad taste in your mouth. I know it has mine and when I finally do get a chance to cast off the lines, we won't be stopping at Isle of Hope. Count on it.

    1. Isle of Hope is actually a great transient stop. Their prices are fair and they have loaner cars, a huge plus for transients needing groceries. As a liveaboard marina, I don't think it's as good a place as some others, mainly because of pricing but also because of amenities such as working wifi and cable TV, as well as laundry facilities.