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NIBS 2019 Recap: Our Top 10 Boater Questions, Stories, and Winners from the Newport Boat Show

Post by Becky at Dockwa - Published on 9/19/19 2:42 PM

The Newport Boat Show always keeps us on our toes, happily chatting with hundreds of boaters, and 2019 was no exception! See which questions boaters posed most, and other stories from the four-day whirlwind in the backyard of our L'il Rhody HQ. 


Top 10 Dockwa Questions of NIBS 2019


1. Where are we based? 

People love to know the Dockwa crewmates' hailing ports! In the past year or so we've grown to 30+ employees: five based in Newport, 25 based in Cambridge, remote employees in Portland and Hoboken, and one "outdoor cat." 

2. How do we make money? 

This question got a whole lot easier to answer once we put up this in-depth blog post about batched payments and marina upgrade options. Thanks to the boaters who've emailed or who stopped by the booth this past weekend to let us know they found it helpful. 

3. How many locations do we work with now? 

More than 950 marinas, yacht clubs, boatyards, and mooring fields use Dockwa to manage their transient reservations, and that number climbs still higher when we account for the non-transient marinas using our long-term software. Woot!

4. How can I get my marina on board? 

By FAR my favorite question. Shoot me an email at becky@dockwa.com. Bonus points if you CC your marina manager or tell us who to get in touch with. You can also ping me on Facebook.

5. Can you guys help make my seasonal/annual contract stuff easier? 

I stacked the deck on getting boaters to ask this question by propping a banner up next to our booth that screamed "DOCKWA GOES LONG," but the fact remains: tons of boaters inquired about our long-term software, which made our collective hearts sing. So yes: Dockwa's software now makes light work out of long-term contract management. Tell your marina manager, shoot me an email, and sing it from the bowsprit – this software is legit. 

6. Can I get a hat? 

Oh heck yeah you can. At our NIBS booth you just needed a lucky spin on the prize wheel, but now you can score a hat in a few different ways: 

  • Record an on-board video testimonial telling your fellow boaters why you use Dockwa, and send it to us or post it on social and mention us in the comment.   

  • Post a winning photo in our Facebook Group – a new winner every week!

  • You can now straight-up buy a darn hat (or flip-flops, beach towel, hoodie, etc.) in the snazzy new Dockwa Store

7. Why did [Marina Name Redacted] take so long to respond? 

Not all marinas are created equal – which we love, variety being the spice of life and all. The varying approaches to marina management is a big part of what makes building Dockwa such an interesting challenge. Maybe they were short-handed that day. Maybe they have a marina manager who doesn't like to bring his phone on the docks. Maybe they were full but were trying to find a way to squeeze you in. 

Long story short: It's not for lack of trying on our part. We ping the marina in-app as well as email, and every marina has a dashboard view right on their iPhone to approve or deny your request on the go. We also built AutoConfirm, used by hundreds of our partner marinas, which allows them to instantly confirm reservation requests based on their real-time availability. If you think one of your favorite dockwa partner marinas could benefit from AutoConfirm, share this blog post. Also, support these marinas who, as early as last summer, were using AutoConfirm or responding in under an hour!

We're working on ways to reflect response times in the app. Meanwhile, if you're in a hurry for the reservation confirmation (ie, you're floating two feet off the dock with your fingers crossed, or there aren't that many options around), put in the reservation request and use Chat to let them know you're chomping at the bit. 

8. Why doesn't Dockwa let marinas take my calls? Why do I have to use the app?

We've written about this before, but I'm happy to continue to relay: every Dockwa partner marina has the ability to take your reservation over the phone and enter it into their Dockwa dashboard on their end. It is also the marina's prerogative to set internal procedures that will save their staff time and protect their boaters' privacy – asking you to reserve via the Dockwa app accomplishes both. 

9. How do I change my username or password? 

We fielded about 10 of these this weekend, and Dockwa Crew Superstar Ryan was on site all weekend resetting people on the fly. (Don't worry, he took a breather to go bike 26-miles, like a boss.) If you were one of them and want to Drizly over a token of your gratitude, he's now based out of our Cambridge office and his favorite beers are Ragged Island's Hydrofoil DIPA and the Captain’s Daughter DIPA by Graysail Brewing Company. 

As fun as it would be to try to convince Ryan to stand on the curb outside the Newport office all year, there's an easier way:

10. Is "Becky at Dockwa" a real person? 

Oh you bet I am, boaters. Say hi on Facebook or at one of our upcoming events.

Bonus "Best" Question: All of'em

There are no dumb questions or feature requests. Thanks to everyone who came by and mentioned an idea or point of confusion that we could clarify or bring back to the team to discuss. If you didn't make it to this boat show, you can always send us feedback by emailing mayday@dockwa.com, Chatting us on dockwa.com, responding to a newsletter, or commenting when we send you a survey. 



Copy of 9_9 boater newsletter (3)

Top 10 Stories & Moments of NIBS 2019

  1. We kicked off NIBS early this year with Dockwa Happy Hour at the Marina Pub near Goat Island Marina, and were psyched when more than 50 boaters and marina managers came to talk shop over a brewski. 

  2.  One of the first boaters to stop by after Thursday's downpour started scrolling through all of her past Dockwa reservations – the first one dating back to June 2015, at which point the app had been live for mere days.

  3. Meeting Ed and his crew from Marina Bay in Quincy – and then watching as he spun the prize wheel to win a Dockwa Happy Hour! Apparently this group runs their own Sunday brunch on the docks, and I'm delighted that I get to join and bring some mimosas and Irish coffee their way. 

  4. At one point, a harbormaster of one of my favorite places in the world (TBA...) sauntered into the office and the first words out of his mouth were, "We've looked into it, and we'd like to get on board." Heck. Yes. 

  5. One boater listened to our spiel, spun the wheel, signed up, and booked dock space on the spot. ⚓

  6. The marina manager who stopped by the booth and shared that, while at first some of his visiting boaters weren't too keen on using Dockwa, that number has gone from about a dozen down to one lone luddite. 

  7. The boater who relayed to us, and I quote: "Dockwa is like Coca-Cola and Kleenex, everyone knows the name now." Swoon!

  8. The yacht club cruise coordinator who announced that he creates float plans to stop only at marinas that use Dockwa. Kudos for making your & your members' lives easier. 🙌

  9. One boater laughingly relayed, "Dockwa saved my marriage!!" – Having a slip on the books and being able to message or call marinas from the app certainly takes some of the stress out of tying up. 

  10. We loved – as always – getting to catch up with boaters and marina managers about all things not Dockwa – boating/marina philosophies, events, changes within the community, etc. Thanks again to everyone who stopped to chat. 


Copy of 9_9 boater newsletter (2)


Top 10 Winners of NIBS 2019

While everyone left the booth with something – a koozie, temporary ink, Dockwa Dollars, or the perhaps even-more-coveted Dockwa hat or belt – some boaters found the booth when the wheel had some extra-special prizes listed. These boaters won their home harbors/marinas Dockwa Happy Hours! 

  1. David R. from St. Petersburg, FL

  2. Ed V. from Marina Bay in Quincy, MA

  3. Kathie K. from Pickering Wharf in Salem, MA

  4. Justin T. from Pilot's Point in Westbrook, CT

  5. Kevin H. from New Bedford, MA

  6. Fred B. from Popes Island Marina

  7. Willem O. from Wickford Yacht Club

  8. Ray R. from Cowesett Marina

  9. Ellen V. from East Greenwich Yacht Club

  10. Louise L. from Rhode Island Yacht Club

Keep an eye on our social channels, newsletter, and events calendar to coordinate a rendezvous. (In case you're wondering: yes, that is a lot of Dockwa Happy Hours. Giddyup!)


And one of you 1,000 giveaway entrants won the big time: $500 in dockage credit to use at Dockwa partner marinas. The luck of the draw goes to: David R. from East Greenwich, RI! Congrats David – don't spend it all in one harbor. 

Post by Becky at Dockwa

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