Monday, January 30, 2012

Accountability... time to speak up

This will be a somewhat different post than you'll normally find on this blog... A bit of a rant and for that I apologize.
After this post, I promise, I'll go back to the normal pics and narratives.


Boats break... that's a well known fact. Boats need constant maintenance, another certainty. Sometimes we boaters need to hire expertise to perform repairs or maintenance that we don't have the skills or tools for, or just don't want to do. (Which for me, the latter is usually the case) So we rely on the plethora of highly skilled (or so they say) individuals or marine service organizations for these chores.

I'll get to the point in a moment...

I was talking with a friend last week who had just recently sold his boat and he was lamenting his dream of life on a boat. When I asked him if there was anything he didn't miss about the cruising life he didn't hesitate for a second with his response, he said, and I paraphrase because my memory is for shit, "I really don't miss having to deal with the boatyards who most times overcharge and under deliver, I don't miss the high dollar servicers who tout their expertise then contract the job out to someone else while I'm not aboard, the marinas that offer a special deal until the bill arrives that's loaded with hidden charges. All of this became the rule rather than the exception... I don't miss any of that stuff. I loved the boat, I miss the boaters, and I miss the lifestyle, but I don't miss those in the business of servicing my boat."

I totally understood, I've argued my way out of more than a few boatyards, and no, not all of the marine servicers are that way. Some are dishonest and trying to take advantage of the cruisers when who are out of their area and in a bind. Others misrepresent themselves and just aren't very good at what they do, but quite a few are genuinely trying to help out in the most efficient and least expensive way possible, trying to do the right thing —but— unfortunately they are few and becoming fewer.

Okay... so what's the point of this very lengthy diatribe?

Like my friend who just sold his boat, I too am tired of these types of business practices. I wanna out the ne'er-do-wells and tout the honest professionals. I'm gonna to post my experiences with these companies and individual contractors in a section of this blog I'm calling "Marine Services Review". My intent is to express my opinions and recount my experiences in short concise narratives; relating the work, attitude, and overall experience while dealing with these marine services companies as we travel and find their services necessary.
The objective is to show this post to any boat fixer before he works on Istaboa and explain: there are usually between 100 to 150 people a day who look at this little blog, most of these people are boaters and majority of those are boaters on the east coast.

Mr. Boat Fixer, this is your clientele. If you do a good job at the agreed upon price I will sing your praises and probably render a generous tip. View this as an good opportunity, as a free organic little advertisement.
If you deliver less than desirable service... I will write a detailed account of my dissatisfaction and make my opinions perfectly clear to quite a few folks that care.

Now, do you still want this job?

Some will walk away... I will let you know who does.

In this section, (which you will find in the column on the right side of this blog) anyone, including the subjects of praise or the opposite of, can make comments that are in agreement with me or not. Fellow boaters who have had good or bad experiences can share them here. Every boater that keeps a blog should do the same thing. Speak up! Word of mouth is cool, but our words will carry further online. Maybe we will find more positives than negatives and share those experiences and contacts for our common good.

  • Will this make a difference? Maybe, probably not, but you gotta try.
  • Why am I doing this? Accountability... There's certainly a lack of that in the marine biz.
  • Am I crazy? Can be. Ask some of the boat fixers.
  • Is this unconventional? Not really. 
If this works it will be just another form of crowd sourcing... Kinda like Active Captain, which is a great source of information. (Istaboa has built up over 800 points with them) They have a section called Captain Rated that hasn't been totally put into effect yet. I look forward to the completion of Captain Rated and wish the Active Captain folks success on it's implementation. (Then I can go back to just posting pictures and writing short narratives about our happy experiences while cruising.)
My motive is not to profit from this...
  • I just want decent service at a fair price. 
  • I just want accountability in this little niche industry. 
  • I really just want a better boating experience.
We'll see what happens.