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

Post by - Published on 09/19/19 18:42 PM

Copy of NIBS 19 boater booth babe invite (4)

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 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, Chatting us on, responding to a newsletter, or commenting when we send you a survey. 

Get out there today!

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