What’s a boating community without professional marine services?

boating community without professional marine services

From the age of twelve years old I’ve been fortunate to be boating. In Kawartha’s cottage country, I had a small 14 ft. tin-bender with a 7.5 Mercury. That little boat would fly, and I took it everywhere. Sometimes in Balsam Lake, but mostly on the Gull River, up through Silver Lake into Shadow Lake. Fantastic summer memories as a kid.

When I moved to Toronto for school and eventually work, it wasn’t until I was twenty-eight when a close friend purchased a boat and kept it at Outer Harbour Marina, Toronto.  For me, it opened a whole new world in the city – The Lake Ontario boating community.

For years most of my friends and I travelled back and forth to cottage country for summer boating. With access to a boat in the city, it was a chance for me to meet more like-minded people that shared the love of being on the water. It was incredible to think that I had lived and worked in Toronto for almost 10 years and never once considered boating on Lake Ontario.

It was a couple more years before I purchased my own boat in Toronto. It was an old 26 ft. Sea Ray, and it needed a lot of work. At the time, there was only a handful of local guys around the marina that offered marine services. There were a few dry marinas, but they were always super busy, and very expensive. Consequently, we ended up doing much of the service work ourselves.

I learned a lot that summer about the unique boating community I was now part of. The helpfulness and generosity of the boating community is second to none. Unfortunately, I spent much of the entire first summer with my head in the engine hatch, fiddling with one thing or another. However, I was always there, and dock neighbors would stop by, introduce themselves and see how things were going, ask questions and offer some help. Some good advice, and some not so good advice. However, the thoughtfulness and eagerness to help a fellow boater was always there.

Any boater will tell you, especially in Toronto, foot-itice is real (always wanting a larger boat). Another term that became evident is the definition of a B-O-A-T (Bring Out Another Thousand). As I progressed from my 26 ft Sea Ray, to a 268, 30 ft., 330 and 370 Sea Rays, finding good marine services techs was always hard, and it still is. In fact, it was so hard that many of us (entrepreneurs) discussed the idea of creating a marine service business that would provide a system and better customer service for the boating community. This idea stayed on the shelf and never took shape until recently.

Having worked in software for several years, and recently designed some IOS and Android Apps for the pet industry, I decided to return to my love of boating. My entrepreneurial spirit was determined to design a community-based platform for the boaters and marine services. Ship2Mates was born.

For me, social media platforms had so much clutter unrelated to what I wanted. It was hard to find local like-minded boaters (outside of my boating circle), resources and marine services. It’s still very much a word-of-mouth community. Boaters typically meet each other in our marinas or on the water, share Instagram or WhatsApp to communicate. We’d hear of someone looking for a good upholster, winterizing or shrink-wrapping services and send a message.

Initially Ship2Mates™ was developed as a social networking platform dedicated to the boating community. It would provide boaters with an easy-to-use platform to meet, share and connect. Discussions and resources for boaters would be available all in one place.

We started with creating user profiles, that provides users the ability to create a separate boat profile. We call it MyBoatsProfile™, and users can have multiple boat profiles. MyBoatsProfile™ stores everything about your boat, from photos and specifications to service records and surveys. The boat profile is shareable inside and outside of the App, so boaters can send their boat profile to marine service providers and insurance brokers to request a quote. This is a very powerful, time-saving tool, that stays intact and transfers from one owner to the next owner, as it captures updated information throughout the life of the boat.

Next, we created BoatChatR™ it’s the platforms in-App messaging system that allows users to communicate directly on the App. Boaters choose who they want to connect with, ask questions, share information, events etc. The in-app messaging system also provides communication between boaters and marine service providers. Boaters simply send a quick request for a quote, include their boat profile, and start communicating until you agree to the job description, price, and timelines. Payment is made and kept in escrow until the job is delivered and approved. All done from your phone.

Our goal was to create a platform with organized transparency and accountability for both marine service providers and boaters. We created a transactional rating and review system with a unique caveat; both buyer and seller rate and review each other after the job is completed. The strength of this type of ratings model is proven to significantly increase the customer service experience. Expectations, costs and deliverables are clearly defined and agreed. The clock is ticking and if additional time or costs are required, it’s quickly and easily communicated on the App, so both parties are informed, agreed and recorded for review if any misunderstanding should arise.

We also created the platform to help marine service providers get access to more customers, streamline their schedules and communication, and get paid faster. We’ve added hundreds of marine service categories and subcategories; all searchable, to include services offered by large marine service providers to the small part-time specialist. We want more options for our boating community, and the Ship2Mates™ platform provides the necessary ingredients to ensure there are benefits for marine service providers while helping them to deliver a secured, superior customer experience.

Whether you’re a boater like us or a small or large marine service provider, we welcome you to explore the benefits and opportunities Ship2Mates™ community offers. Enjoy the waves and look for more features to be released to help improve your boating lifestyle.

Please visit our website https://linktr.ee/ship2mates to download the App or email us at Hello@Ship2Mates.com


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