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Old 26-08-2014, 10:28   #31
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Re: Active Captain - ramblings of a user

I think with Active Captain as with many things, it fulfills it's primary purpose very well. If one tries to use it for things beyond that, then it may be disappointing. There could also be a wish list made of hundreds of other features one or more people would like.

Personally, I have no complaints at all. If I'm heading somewhere or even on a long trip in a new area, I have no problem clicking on every marina and anchorage just to become familiar. I use the information there, which is always increasing. As to that not there I head to the facility's website. I've found it of tremendous benefit in multiple areas.

As to what fit's in what classification, if one tried to be too specific you'd have as many colors as Baskin Robbins has flavors and be totally confused. Are fuel docks Marinas? The dock behind a restaurant where they do allow you to overnight? Where do moorings fit? Those are all just judgement calls made by AC and there is no right or wrong. It works for me.

As to the wish there was a search data base, it would perhaps be nice, but I think it might well lead one to overlook places they don't wish to. I'll give you an example we've encountered. We have cruised in larger boats at times. So we look for size restrictions. Yet we don't automatically eliminate those under our length. We might look on their site or just zoom in with a satellite view. Amazing how many marinas even say on their web site something like "Up to 60 ft." and then elsewhere you find out they can handle one or two larger boats on T ends or side tie docks.

Much is incomplete or out of date. Unfortunately, AC has no way to automatically get all that information from every facility. But one feature I do find very helpful is the Fuel tab. Even using it though, I still need to call to know the latest price but also all the deals. Discounts for this that and that. Or penalties for using a credit card.

To me AC is the place I start. It isn't the end all of everything. Can't be. But it's the most complete listing available. The biggest single feature I applaud is that they do appear to do a great job of having every marina and fuel stop, details on bridges and locks, and public facilities. As to anchorages there will always be additional places someone anchors and doesn't report to AC. We actually anchored one night in Alaska and the Pilot said, "I sure hope no one reports this to Active Captain." It was sort of his "secret" place.

If anyone expects a quick glance at AC to give them all the information they want, that's not going to happen. But spend time, starting with it as your base, and you'll get an amazing amount of information.

I compare it somewhat to "Trip Advisor." Trip Advisor isn't the end all for attractions or restaurants or other things. But it comes the closest to a complete listing I've found. And it arranges them in order of popularity. Now that doesn't mean it's going to fit with any individual's preference. But when I'm about to visit a new area, the two sources I start with are Active Captain and Trip Advisor (we only visit places by water so they always go together...don't travel by car). They get me started and 90% of the way there in my planning. Then I get other information I can find.
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Old 26-08-2014, 14:04   #32
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Re: Active Captain - Ramblings of a User

As a person who has headed to a closed marina at lest once, not knowing it was closed, I like having them mapped.

Of course I'm also the guy that has shot an approach to a runway, only to see the big X on it as I got closer too
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Old 26-08-2014, 14:58   #33
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Re: Active Captain - Ramblings of a User

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Originally Posted by a64pilot View Post
As a person who has headed to a closed marina at lest once, not knowing it was closed, I like having them mapped.
So you would have looked up the marina on AC before heading to it?

I'm talking about cruising down the ICW (or anywhere) looking for a place to spend the night or take on fuel. Closed or private marinas don't fit those requirements. Neither to repair shops.
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Old 26-08-2014, 15:11   #34
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Re: Active Captain - Ramblings of a User

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So you would have looked up the marina on AC before heading to it?

I'm talking about cruising down the ICW (or anywhere) looking for a place to spend the night or take on fuel. Closed or private marinas don't fit those requirements. Neither to repair shops.
I just did a test. I did not rush or cheat. Time to click and open marina on AC, observe comment it is closed, close it, and then click elsewhere. 5 seconds. Some things are inconvenient. That is not really. Some things are annoyances or pet peeves. That may be for you.

As to private marinas, many are potential places to dock. It's like the members only night club that sells memberships at the door for $5. I don't know if by private you mean yacht club or private to homeowners, but I have docked at both.

I would rather have too much information than too little. As to repair shops, many along the way are looking for repairs at marinas or shops. Many shops have dockage for customers. Make it a separate color then what do you do to marina/shipyard combinations? Give them two markers in two different colors or choose just one designation? Or create more categories for marinas with repair vs without and marinas with fuel vs without. No with diesel, gas, both or neither.
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Old 26-08-2014, 15:16   #35
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Re: Active Captain - Ramblings of a User

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So you would have looked up the marina on AC before heading to it?
.
Actually we do for those we think could be questionable. We also just look to read recent reviews. Find a review like "Loved it here but new manager has made this place awful." Or, "Dock in very bad condition since the storm in June". Or "No longer sells fuel."
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Old 26-08-2014, 15:16   #36
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Re: Active Captain - Ramblings of a User

Too much information is just as bad as too little-- the internet proved that.

The difference is that with too little information, you know you don't know.
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Old 26-08-2014, 15:18   #37
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Re: Active Captain - Ramblings of a User

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Too much information is just as bad as too little-- the internet proved that.

The difference is that with too little information, you know you don't know.
You're talking about too much usable information versus too much misinformation. I don't qualify an internet rumor as information.
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Old 26-08-2014, 16:11   #38
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Re: Active Captain - Ramblings of a User

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So you would have looked up the marina on AC before heading to it?



I'm talking about cruising down the ICW (or anywhere) looking for a place to spend the night or take on fuel. Closed or private marinas don't fit those requirements. Neither to repair shops.

No I'm talking about heading into somewhere I've never been, see a dock and head for it as thre is only one marina here, but the open one is actually a little further down, knowing there is a closed one before the open one avoids confusion.
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Old 26-08-2014, 16:34   #39
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Re: Active Captain - Ramblings of a User

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You're talking about too much usable information versus too much misinformation. I don't qualify an internet rumor as information.
When you look at Active Captain, you can't distinguish one from the other. It's a perfect example of too much information, it's a perfect example of bad information masquerading as good information, it's a perfect example of the fallacy of "we have the information we need". In fact, if I set out to design an example of information overload and misinformation, I'd start with Active Captain.

You have a far better chance of ferreting out idiots on the internet than you do on Active Captain.
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Old 26-08-2014, 16:37   #40
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Re: Active Captain - Ramblings of a User

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Originally Posted by Jammer Six View Post
When you look at Active Captain, you can't distinguish one from the other. It's a perfect example of too much information, it's a perfect example of bad information masquerading as good information. In fact, if I set out to design an example of information overload and misinformation, I'd start with Active Captain.

You have a far better chance of ferreting out idiots on the internet than you do on Active Captain.
I don't know what your personal vendetta against them is. Just will say I very much like and appreciate Active Captain. And I can sort their information vs reviews. I do admit though that it like any site does require intelligent and careful use of the information presented.
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Old 26-08-2014, 16:44   #41
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Re: Active Captain - Ramblings of a User

The only way we see improvement in anything is to see what's not so good about it and improve on it. If we think it's fine, it will never be improved.
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Old 26-08-2014, 17:29   #42
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Re: Active Captain - Ramblings of a User

Ron-you can filter AC to show only marinas, you filter to show only marinas with diesel, with pumpout, etc. Then the AC window will how only those tabs. Look under "Settings" at the bottom left. Those marinas are also listed in the window to the left of the chart under "Markers". When you roll your cursor over one on the list, the tab will light up so you can see its location. You can ass fuel price and slip price as a filter. It ain't hard and it takes just a second or two as B noted.

As to improvements, Jeff Siegel participates quite often on another forum, Trawler Forum, and is quite open to suggestions for improvements. Easy to find his email and send him any suggestions.

AC just debuted a "Fuel List" showing locations, prices, discounts, etc. for fuel.
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Old 26-08-2014, 17:44   #43
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Re: Active Captain - Ramblings of a User

Ron-apologies-I forgot you are the TF as well.
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Old 26-08-2014, 18:11   #44
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Re: Active Captain - Ramblings from a New(ish) User

AC was brought to our attention only this year, whilst down in the Caribbean and we think it's simply brilliant! Most particularly for the ICW.

A personal experience: We arrived off Wrightsville NC just as dawn was breaking, we'd not anticipated being anywhere near there and it showed; all the information we had on board was an electronic chart and a very outdated Pilot Guide, which gave the ocean entrance little more than a passing mention. But we did have a 'live' US Internet dongle which we'd bought in Puerto Rico and were promised would work in the mainland; three miles out, we picked up a signal, logged onto AC and got a whole heap of information, not the least of which was some very detailed information about the dredging operations currently filling a good chunk of the entrance channel; that information was less than 48-hours old! I've no doubt that we would've made it in OK without the assistance of AC, but at the end of a long and unpleasant passage, it was great to arrive at the approach buoys, see all the lights and obstructions in that channel and actually know what was going on.

Whilst we've not found the reviews/information infallible, surely we've all seen enough on the internet by now to be able to make a reasoned assessment of what we're seeing? My own particular bug-bears on ICW reviews were:

"On the right/left hand side" - with no indication of which direction the reviewer was travelling; or similarly "on the east/west side" when that stretch of ICW - in the real world, rather than on the chart-plotter's screen - actually runs in an east/west direction.

Another regular was "we had x inches of water under the keel, even at low water." Fine, but how about telling us your draft too?

The quality of 'holding' in anchorages - both ICW and back in the Caribbean - was an area we particularly took with a pinch of salt, or perhaps to be more accurate, we looked actually out for 'old friends' amongst those posting: When we see that someone's posted along the lines of "Previous AC posters said that the holding here was good, but we dragged/couldn't get the anchor to set" at yet another location, we wonder how many more they'll give a one-star rating to, before perhaps considering whether their own technique or ground tackle is perhaps suspect.
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Old 10-09-2014, 06:03   #45
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Re: Active Captain - Ramblings of a User

Sounds like there may be a market for another app. Maybe even pay for play. What would be the value tipping point for an app that delivers the right info? Two revenue sources include users and commercial service providers. Alternate to a subscription fee would be an AC competitor startup app that's crowd sourced. The quality of that data could possibly be higher.
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