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Old 20-05-2022, 09:06   #1
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Not sure if this is allowed but I'd really like your input.

Having done some full time cruising, I saw an area that I thought I might improve upon. But I'm really not sure if anyone else feels the same way.

Whenever coming into a new anchorage, I find it's kinda hard to find local knowledge about the anchorage. Active Capt fills that role to a certain extent but only in a clumsy manner and, I think, only because a better alternative doesn't exist (that I know about) and really isn't idea for a lot of situations anyway. Last night is a perfect example: one of our neighbors lost their dinghy. We grabbed while it was floating by. It didn't have reg numbers or T/T on it, so we have no idea who it belongs to, so we just tied it up to the closest dinghy dock and we hope they find it. My wife announced it on 16 but who really keeps their VHF on all the time while at anchor? She also called CG, but with numbers they couldn't really help.

But anyway, while I'm not always the most social person, I do like to meet fellow cruisers. Getting together for sundowners, beach BBQ's and sharing an Uber for a provision run, is something I enjoy from time to time. But the only way to meet fellow cruisers seems to be, by chance, at the local dinghy dock.

This is all leading to, I'm a mobile app designer. For the last month or so, I've been working on a chat app, kinda like whatsapp, but geo-located, so you are automatically singed into a group chat that is about .7 knotical miles in circumference. (You can also choose a spot on a map, if you'd like to join an anchorage chat that you are planning on visiting or check in on the group chat where you're boat in anchored but while you're away) In the future, I'd like to add a classifieds section that will follow you from anchorage to anchorage (so if you have something for sale, or provide a service, the add will follow to each new anchorage)

My question is, does this sound like something you'd use (It'll be free) and are there other things you'd like to see implemented into the app?

Again, if this is an inappropriate post, please let me know. Thanks.
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Old 20-05-2022, 09:34   #2
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Re: Not sure if this is allowed but I'd really like your input.

I cruise to get away from others, to be honest. But that said, as I recall, there is or used to be a similar function within the ActiveCaptain purvey.
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Old 20-05-2022, 09:47   #3
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Re: Not sure if this is allowed but I'd really like your input.

Sounds like a good idea, if people start to use it. The most difficult part is to make people interested in the app when no one else use it.
Maybe it could be divided in different ways to travel and interests. I can for example decide to see all messages in the groups for surfers, sailors and digital nomads.
I think it's good if it's possible to decide on which distance the messages should be visible on. Sometimes you would like to reach people in one anchorage, other times a whole island.
If that app was available now, then I would have posted one question tonight. I'm sitting in an anchorage in Greece and a propane bottle ran out. Where I can fill the bottles is a question which would be good to ask in that app.
And when it comes to get to know other sailors. It's not necessary to have much to talk about to get good friends. You don't need much in common to visit with the dingy on your way to land.
"So you come from the same country as me. I have not seen anyone from my country in weeks."
"Do you also sail singlehanded?"
"What a nice boat. I thought about to buy the same model."
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Old 20-05-2022, 10:57   #4
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Re: Not sure if this is allowed but I'd really like your input.

OP why would you possibly think your post isn't allowed? of course it's allowed. I'd suggest putting a much clearer title to the thread so you get people reading and interested. The title becomes important in a week, a month, a year when people search CF for the content topic. Any good developer appreciates the need for clarity of keywords (I'm using keyword in the wider sense) in a searchable database.

OP, beyond the awful thread title there are a few more negatives to your idea, and I hate to lead with them, but.

Such a group anchorage App would be a very handy tool indeed for thieves. And quite a number of people would have seen that floating dinghy and thought to themselves 'oh thank you god for the free dinghy'.

In respect to having 'local knowledge' we've had them for years, they're called cruising guides. Quite a number have been converted to an App. Here's an example you'll find in Google Play (I have Android, don't know about Windows). It's called 'Cruise Guide for Marlborough'.

Years ago a couple of guys wrote a hard copy cruising guide, and it's still widely sold and used. Many updates (eek old school: editions) over the years. And one of the authors is still with us. But the local Harbour Dept decided to fund taking the Cruising Guide and using it as the basis of an App. I don't know the details of the financial deal but that's irrelevant.

The App is great, and as well as the original cruising guide functions (where to go safely, what's there and where/how to anchor), it incorporates weather, tide tables, marine traffic using AIS, and a few other goodies. I'd encourage you to give it a try. You can also make your own little notes just as people do when they write little side notes. Best of all it works well offline, given that there's no or limited signal through much of the 4,000km of coast line in the geographical area covered.

What is especially beneficial for the user though is something I suspect is very important. It is backed financially by a well resourced 1st world nation's Harbour Dept that is committed to ensuring the App remains up to date using a commercial software house. And importantly they have the resources to promote and advertise the App.

And OP I don't know how you'd undertake the development, perhaps you'll Open Source and have a Community based development? So there is at least continuity beyond whoever nursed the baby idea though infancy.

One other problem is that Apps are so often just total rubbish or they do work, but the user is inundated with adverts., or you're expected to annually replace your $1,000 phone. So you're perhaps fighting an already cynical and antagonistic market. Many developers have been before you. Your idea is not original, in fact do a bit of a search here on CF and you'll see the shattered dreams of many.

And just to finish, quite a number of cruisers aren't interested in being connected or even want to join nice social sun downers or beach bbqs. Some just want to be left alone and enjoy their own company much of the time. You're cruising OP, you know this.

I appreciate rereading this that there's little encouragement. Also a personal side note, my comments entirely relate to the OP's Post and idea, I am not in any way intending to disrespect the OP personally. If opportunity ever presents I'd very much enjoy joining the OP for a sundowner, I am not a hermit. OP please be my friend.
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Old 20-05-2022, 12:34   #5
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Re: Not sure if this is allowed but I'd really like your input.

I think it's a good idea. We already have AIS, which enhances communications between vessels within VHF range, so why not geo-located phones within a much smaller area such as an anchorage. It's an opt-in/out system putting the choice as to participation strictly within the individuals power.
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Old 20-05-2022, 12:45   #6
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Re: Not sure if this is allowed but I'd really like your input.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hillbillybuddha View Post
Having done some full time cruising, I saw an area that I thought I might improve upon. But I'm really not sure if anyone else feels the same way.

Whenever coming into a new anchorage, I find it's kinda hard to find local knowledge about the anchorage. Active Capt fills that role to a certain extent but only in a clumsy manner and, I think, only because a better alternative doesn't exist (that I know about) and really isn't idea for a lot of situations anyway. Last night is a perfect example: one of our neighbors lost their dinghy. We grabbed while it was floating by. It didn't have reg numbers or T/T on it, so we have no idea who it belongs to, so we just tied it up to the closest dinghy dock and we hope they find it. My wife announced it on 16 but who really keeps their VHF on all the time while at anchor? She also called CG, but with numbers they couldn't really help.

But anyway, while I'm not always the most social person, I do like to meet fellow cruisers. Getting together for sundowners, beach BBQ's and sharing an Uber for a provision run, is something I enjoy from time to time. But the only way to meet fellow cruisers seems to be, by chance, at the local dinghy dock.

This is all leading to, I'm a mobile app designer. For the last month or so, I've been working on a chat app, kinda like whatsapp, but geo-located, so you are automatically singed into a group chat that is about .7 knotical miles in circumference. (You can also choose a spot on a map, if you'd like to join an anchorage chat that you are planning on visiting or check in on the group chat where you're boat in anchored but while you're away) In the future, I'd like to add a classifieds section that will follow you from anchorage to anchorage (so if you have something for sale, or provide a service, the add will follow to each new anchorage)

My question is, does this sound like something you'd use (It'll be free) and are there other things you'd like to see implemented into the app?

Again, if this is an inappropriate post, please let me know. Thanks.
Sounds useful, make the geo area user selectable size though.
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Old 20-05-2022, 14:38   #7
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Re: Not sure if this is allowed but I'd really like your input.

Hi, hillbillybhudda,

Just take the dinghy through the anchorage till you find whose it is. Just keep asking, "do you know whose dinghy this is?" Make a new friend. It usually does not take very long to rescue an errant dinghy, and it's kind of rewarding. I wouldn't just leave it somewhere like the dinghy dock, because they'll have to swim for it, and it would be vulnerable to being stolen. Way better to find out to whom it belongs. ....Actually, now I remember it, this very thing happened in Mexico, when we were there, and it was a local fisherman who came in through the anchorage with someone's dinghy, asking till he found them.

Ann
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Old 20-05-2022, 15:41   #8
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Re: Not sure if this is allowed but I'd really like your input.

The Nebo app is pretty close to what you're proposing. It's popular with Great Loopers and sponsored by AGLCA. It shows all the enrolled boats on a Google Maps sat shot, and has a messenging function. The phone app is free and works pretty well if you remember to turn it on and off, but they also sell an installed tracker device that's on all the time. They say people have even tracked down their stolen boats with it. Friends and family at home can keep tabs on you which is it's real intended purpose.
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Old 20-05-2022, 22:53   #9
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Re: Not sure if this is allowed but I'd really like your input.

If it's on mobile phones how will thieves connect the phone to a particular boat?
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Old 21-05-2022, 04:26   #10
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Re: Not sure if this is allowed but I'd really like your input.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hillbillybuddha View Post
My question is, does this sound like something you'd use (It'll be free) and are there other things you'd like to see implemented into the app?

No. Not interested.

Note Jeff/ActiveCaptain made a bit deal about eboatcards (before he sold to Garmin). Wasn't interested in that, either.

We are, by nature, more solitary...

Good luck with your idea, though.

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Old 21-05-2022, 04:51   #11
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Re: Not sure if this is allowed but I'd really like your input.

I love your idea, and no this is not inappropriate. I think it would be a major contribution, and I would expect another bigger app might buy it up and include it one day. I’ve seen my most useful apps, like Navily - which started as a Marina booking app in the Med - increase to become an anchorage, weather, routing and social media app. Go for it, please!
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Old 21-05-2022, 04:55   #12
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Re: Not sure if this is allowed but I'd really like your input.

As to the lost dinghy:
July 3, 1976 - Tall ships, New York City, anchored up in the Hudson waiting for the fun to begin. Enjoying morning coffee and what should come down river with the tide but a perfect little fiberglass dinghy with oars in the oarlocks. I’d departed the keys w/o a dinghy, and this seemed like a gift from Neptune himself. I could ‘t begin to figure out a way to get the rig back to its’ rightful owner, so….. That was quite a journey.
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Old 21-05-2022, 06:32   #13
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Re: Not sure if this is allowed but I'd really like your input.

There are at least two apps/websites that do what you are suggesting in addition to the ones already discussed.

Aqua Map has a function called “Live Sharing”. Once activated you can view other boats actively sharing from around the world. It has a chat function and we’ve been using it with several boats we’ve met this year in the Bahamas. It works well, but is currently only active when your cell/tablet is connected to internet. Aqua Map also contains both Waterway Guide and Active Captain anchorage information if you turn it on in the menu. You can actually also post your own reviews to both directly from within Aqua Map.

http://www.noforeignland.com has a map that is similar to Waterway Guide. It contains a “Chat” function as well. This site also has many icons with information and photos for things like groceries, attractions, restaurants, public docks, etc.

These, as well as the others, are only as good as the crowdsourced information contained. There remain many who either do not wish to share “their hideaways”, who want their privacy, or who don’t want to take the time/data to input information while cruising.

We personally try to share anchorage information as we believe it makes for safer boating for all and appreciate when others do the same.

We also actively share our explorations on http://www.facebook.com/breathesaildiveand have been shooting drone video of quite a few anchorages along the way. We post those on https://youtube.com/channel/UCdsV8brgUu5xHhn58xhptGA
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Old 21-05-2022, 07:28   #14
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Re: Not sure if this is allowed but I'd really like your input.

I sail to get away from people too.

BUT... I’d use this app. I was thinking of a similar one myself in a different market. Give a little more thought to your geo fencing. .7 miles is too restrictive and arbitrary. It needs to be as large as the anchorage and many are bigger than your area. So ditch geo fencing and keep a list of anchorages, allowing people to join an anchorage.
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Old 21-05-2022, 07:34   #15
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Re: Not sure if this is allowed but I'd really like your input.

Not so widely used in N America but v popular in Europe is the Captain's Mate App available to members of The Cruising Association (CA). You can choose whether to be visible or not and you can send a message to the other person's email addr or look up their mobile number on the members' list. You can adjust the search radius to suit your own requirememnts. The CA membership is >6,000 covering all over the world but as i said above there is a high concentratiion within Europe.

OK, membership is not free, costs about £125/yr but there are so many negotiated discount arrangement, marinas, chandleries, paint, sails, etc that these typically pay for the cost of membership
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