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Old 23-02-2007, 09:21   #1
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What information?

I'm looking through a few of my cruising guides, and a website, which are primarily dedicated to telling cruisers about marinas (at least, it seems to me a whole lot more of the publishing real estate is given over to marinas and commercial services than is given over to the little gunkholes, where to anchor free, or things-to-do-which-don't-cost-money.)

Anyway, none of them talk about the same information. This one gives me the telephone number and the information that ice can be found here. That one says they monitor channel 68 and only have transient moorage. The third one says there's a liquor store and a restaurant within walking distance.

What information is really important about a marina?

Here's my list of things I want to know:
  • Contact
    • Phone
    • Radio (VHF and other)
    • Mailing address
    • E-mail/website
  • Map
    • A quick hand-sketch would be just dandy.
  • Services
    • Transient or permanent moorage
    • Fuel: Including type (gasoline, pre-mix, diesel at the least)
    • Haul-out (either at the marina or nearby)
    • Repair (either at the marina or nearby)
    • Chandlery and Grocery (either at the marina or nearby)
    • Restaurant/Café/Pub
    • Showers/bathrooms/laundry
  • Attractions
    • Honestly!
    • Focus on what to do for free, like hikes, views, etc. If not free, cheap.
  • Commentary
    • If the showers are gross and never cleaned, I'd like to know. Same with the other things I'm going to use every day I'm at the marina. But also the opposite; for example, the bathrooms at the Lund city docks (Lund, BC, Canada) are among the nicest I've ever seen at a public marina, and fitted out like at home, not unknown to have a glass with wildflowers in it.
    • Ditto for comments about the moorage; is it good in all weather? are the docks wide enough to set up chairs and a barbecue? Will it usually end up rafted out 3 deep during the season, or is it finger piers? Exposed to waves? Is the second dock from the wall partially submerged/the "party dock"/prone to electrical outages/&c.?
The first mate just chimed in that distance to stores/town/attractions should be included, so you're prepared for a hike or whatever. (Example: John Wayne Marina at Sequim, WA, United States is *not* near the town; take the bus which stops regularly. There's taxi service too; usually business card/number tacked to the bulletin board by the laundry.)
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Old 23-02-2007, 13:39   #2
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FWIW:
I could write a marina guide by sending out questionnaires to marinas. To write about anchorages, I (or someone else) would actually have to go there. Who would advertise, in my free anchorage book?
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Old 23-02-2007, 18:07   #3
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I've *been* to marinas which answer questionaires

I'm rarely surprised by a marina exceeding it's listed services, but rather more often disappointed. Very few "guides" check the accuracy of these self-reports; they have a financial incentive to not do so.

Captain Wiki is one of many efforts by sailors to produce a guide for each other written primarily by people who've actually been there. This is a lot harder than sending out a questionaire because the people involved in writing the guides do not usually have an incentive to do it other than self-less interest in supporting cruising. I'm not sure it's a good model, either, but it's one of them.

You ask who would advertise? the bigger question is do you need advertisers? There are other motivations than profit, like reciprocity. Just as I and the members of my yacht club pool our funds to keep a few slips available for members of other yacht clubs to visit our location so we can go visit their place, sailors can pool their knowledge in order to make it easier/safer/more fun for everyone to go cruising. Advertising provides a much better motivation, I'm sure, but the cost of maintaining my 5 websites on a professional host is $7 a month so maybe the owner of Captain Wiki is likewise able to justify the small cost to publish a resource for the cruising communities.

This doesn't mean good cruising guides are going to go away; every sailing club I've been involved with has been doing exactly the same thing for years. Every year we share stories about the places we've been this season that were great, or not so great, or places we'll avoid in the future. A lot of us go back to the same places year after year, and can tell you about the ongoing changes - good and bad - that our favourite spots are undergoing. That's something a few good guides do, but they probably can't visit as many places as we cruisers do.

But it would sure be easier if we got together a bit, talked over what kind of information we would like about the places we plan to visit, and maybe built that questionaire you were talking about either to send to marinas or to fill out for ourselves when we go places.

Someone I talked to last night mentioned that he goes to places where he can get a newspaper. I'd never have thought of that as a criteria.
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Old 23-02-2007, 22:58   #4
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Great Guides...

I found these great guides a fair while ago. They are called maps.
The main ones that I use are street maps and charts.
If you read between the lines you can work out just about everything you need to know.
They even show those great secluded anchorages.
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Old 24-02-2007, 00:39   #5
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Good point. I can always call ahead if it mattered and I have. Word of mouth is also very good. Looking at a web map and nearby places is also good.

Most of the guide books are good but is hard to NOT get out of date as things change quickly. Like the KOA at Festa Key, A good place to get gas but, from the reports that I know is being sold and will no longer sell gas.

It is always best to call ahead if you relly need their services.
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Old 24-02-2007, 04:01   #6
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Tom Dove’s “The Intracoastal Waterway (ICW)” online anchorage guide would be an excellent example of the peer-generated guide:
Goto: Tom Dove Home Page
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Old 24-02-2007, 22:18   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Amgine

You ask who would advertise? the bigger question is do you need advertisers? There are other motivations than profit,
...
but the cost of maintaining my 5 websites on a professional host is $7 a month so maybe the owner of Captain Wiki is likewise able to justify the small cost to publish a resource for the cruising communities.
Yes, but $7 does not include labor. Captain Wiki expects volunteers to do the work for him, but then his product has poor coverage. For example, he has a link for the Chesapeake Bay on his site, but it contains no data at all. How long until it contains all the marinas and anchorages in Back Creek?

A useful cruising guide has systematic coverage of some defined area. Practically speaking, that means hundreds of hours of labor just to send out surveys and coallate the answers for an area the size of the Chesapeake. If you want to fact-check the surveys, you could spend many times more time going out to each marina to see what is there.

To have that much labor available, you have to pay people to do the work. That means generating enough revenue to cover the costs, as well as to make it worthwhile to be a publisher. If your publishing job can't support your eating habit, you might have to give it up in favor of some job that can.

Skipper Bob puts out a number of useful books that are based on input from cruisers. I found "Anchorages along the ICW" useful, though there were several discrepancies between the descriptions in the book and real conditions. Even he carries advertising.
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Old 24-02-2007, 22:57   #8
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My family always wanted to see a cruising guide that listed ice cream shops.
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Old 25-02-2007, 07:17   #9
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”Do not require a description of the countries towards which you sail. The description does not describe them to you, and tomorrow you arrive there, and know them by inhabiting them.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
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Old 25-02-2007, 12:30   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by coot
A useful cruising guide has systematic coverage of some defined area.
I don't think you're the person these projects would satisfy. The idea that people working together can create the definitive guide for a given area is silly; it will always be spotty in coverage and a work-in-progress like all the other guides. But by starting at some point it can accumulate value as more people visit, add to it. If you have something the guide doesn't you can share it; if you're looking for pointers hopefully it can help out.

But, if you could make the rules for your favourite marina guide, what information would it list?
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Old 27-10-2007, 14:26   #11
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The idea that people working together can create the definitive guide for a given area is silly...
Shucks. I wish a would have seen this thread back 8 months ago.

Actually, it isn't silly at all. ActiveCaptain has done exactly that - incorporated thousands of weekly visitors to add to the collection of marinas, anchorages, and local knowledge markers (bridges, TowBoatUS locations, West Marine's, etc., etc., etc). It's so very simple to see for yourself - you don't have to register, log in, or anything. Just go to ActiveCaptain, click in the On The Water tab, and zoom into any area that you cruise. You need to register to get Details about any of the markers but you can see all of the maps and data without any type of login.

At ActiveCaptain you'll find the best collection of real user-submitted data and reviews anywhere. Although we have Captains who add to the system throughout the world, most of the users come from the US and Canada today.

Check it out - you'll be amazed.
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Old 29-10-2007, 13:43   #12
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I think I'll pass...

I won't even ask for a suggested area so I could prove it's not definitive. I sure hope it's coverage is good and beneficial, and I'm glad you've created the opportunity for this information to be available.
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Old 29-10-2007, 13:54   #13
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...so I could prove it's not definitive...
The body of work in the ActiveCaptain site speaks for itself. I'm sure you could find much better things to do than prove something about someone else's site.

Perhaps you should poke around ActiveCaptain and see an implementation of this type of thing that works.
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Old 29-10-2007, 14:29   #14
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::chuckle::

Thanks for the invitation, but no thanks. I put in about 200 hours a month in online projects, all volunteer, except when I'm cruising. I don't think I'll make time for your commercial one.

But I'm available at my consultancy rates for evaluations. I don't do training anymore.
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Old 29-10-2007, 17:43   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Amgine View Post
Thanks for the invitation, but no thanks. I put in about 200 hours a month in online projects, all volunteer, except when I'm cruising. I don't think I'll make time for your commercial one.

But I'm available at my consultancy rates for evaluations. I don't do training anymore.
I went to your home page, a wiki I guess.

I am new to that type of thing.

I cannot get around to see anything.

Is there some sort of index or table of contents or map or something?
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