A New Way To Find Marine Services Near Me
If you haven’t heard of Boaters List, you soon will. It’s one of those, “why didn’t I think of that” ideas that makes perfect sense. The brainchild of a boat captain who was tired of struggling to find marine services when running boats for clients, Boaters List is a nationwide, one-stop resource center for all things on the water.
From marine services, to boat maintenance, to boat service and repair, to rentals, to charters, to fishing guides, to boat and equipment sales and rentals and everything in between – if it has something to do with boating, you can find a provider on Boaters List.
Filling a Need
“You no longer have to do a long Google search, fill out info forms or struggle to find the service you need. Boaters List is a streamlined, user-friendly and convenient way of finding anything on the water.”
Even though he’s only 30 years old, Williams has worked on or captained fishing boats the majority of his life and understands the frustration of needing a service but being unable to find the person to perform it in a timely manner.
“My father is a boat captain, so I got an early start,” he says. “I’ve worked on boats my whole life. I got my captain’s license when I was 20 years old. After I graduated school, I began traveling all over the world with a program called Singularis. I’ve been on the whole East Coast of the United States from Massachusetts all the way down to the Keys.
I’ve spent time around Bermuda and the Caribbean down to Grenada. And I have been in the Gulf of Mexico from Texas to Florida. I’ve also spent time in Isla and Cancun, Jamaica, Panama and Panama Canal, Costa Rica and Nicaragua, as well as Cuba.”
Williams currently has a 200-ton captain’s license and runs a 60-foot boat called Dirt Pit out of Orange Beach, Alabama.
When Something Goes Wrong
To say the least, Williams has covered some water and during those travels, it was inevitable that he’d run into issues and need marine services.
“When I was traveling, I often didn’t have access to Google or couldn’t simply pick up my phone to find contractors for things that failed on my boat. In these situations, you have to learn to ‘MacGyver’ and fix it yourself. If you can’t fix it, then it just stays broken until you can make it back to a major port.”
Williams says that’s exactly what he had to do when towing a center console behind the boat he was running to Cuba.
“On the way to Cuba, we encountered bad weather and broke a tow line, so we had to run a temporary one until we could make it to Cuba. But, I had no contacts in Cuba for tow lines. Boaters List would have come in handy to help us find tow line. We also had an AC unit compressor go bad. Not having Boaters List at the time meant we had to ask around until we finally found the part we needed.”
But boat repairs and maintenance issues aren’t the only issues boaters encounter.
“I get asked all the time for suggestions on good fishing charters, hired help and those who wash and detail boats, and the list goes on. There’s been times we needed to grab an extra mate for a trip. So, we got on the Coconut Hotline till we found one. Boaters List can streamline that process and make it easier.”
Williams says Boaters List is especially helpful for people who are new to boating or are traveling the islands for the first time because they can really find themselves in a pickle if something goes wrong and they require marine repair.
“I started making a big contact list during my travels that included small mom and pop businesses and freelance guys who do great work, but don’t have the budget for advertising or a way to reach people. As my list grew, I started thinking, ‘why can’t I provide this for everyone?’”
Williams said he pitched the idea to friend Martin Kroesche, who liked it.
“I helped Martin bring one of his boats called Game Hog back from Isla Mujeres, Mexico. He thought Boater’s List was a great concept that was much needed.”
Williams said their schedules got busy so they put the idea to the side for a year.
“About 16 months ago, we decided to pick the idea back up. We started trademarking names and clothes and began diving into the process of designing the site and building the apps. Since then, we’ve gone from just us two guys to 18 people working on Boaters List. We have different agents and office people all over the country. It’s really grown. The goal is to start in the U.S. and expand outside the country. We’ve recently just launched in Mexico and are signing up companies in Puerto Rico, Turks and Caicos and the Bahamas.”
Williams says currently the site is free for both the user and marine service providers.
“All the user has to do is go in and create a free profile. And then he or she can do a simple search for the service needed. You just enter the zip code, city or state and the list will populate. There is also a geo map that you can click on for directions on how to get there and how far.
The system is beginning to learn what you’re looking for. For example, if you type “dive” instead of “diver,” categories of divers will pop up.”
He says all the marine services provider has to do is go in and provide the company name, hours of service and contact info. They can include a small blurb about the company and a few images. They can select 10 out of 100 services provided.
As the site grows and more people join, Williams says the categories will expand. The plan is to eventually implement a review and ranking system where customers can provide feedback of the services provided.
Businesses of all sizes can benefit from Boaters List, but the small businesses really stand to gain.
“I’ve met so many great people during my travels who are amazing mechanics, painters and fiberglass experts, but they simply don’t have the marketing or ad budget to get their names out there, so they’re easy to overlook,” Williams said. “When most people need marine services, they’ll simply go to Google and click on the providers that pop up toward the top. They never find out about the one-man show that does amazing work at a reasonable price.”
Building A Stronger Boating Community
He said those who use Boaters List will also likely be able to get boat service more quickly. If a company is big enough to have a prominent presence on the Internet, it is likely so inundated with business that it can’t get work done in a timely manner.
Big companies get booked up months out. If it’s the only company people can locate via ads, tv, etc., it’s likely got so much work that it can’t handle it all.
Of course, Boaters List isn’t just for those seeking a boat repair service. The categories cover basically anything that has to do with the water.
“It’s an especially helpful site for the first-time boat owner,” he said. “For example, people who buy a boat for the first time, but don’t really know how to operate it or what to do, can find help on Boaters List. They can get on there and find someone to teach them how to fish or how to drive a boat or how to go out and find the best fishing spots. There’s no limit for categories of services that can be shared on Boaters List.”
The innovative platform is quickly gaining traction among the boating community, and Williams said the key to its success is the boating community itself.
“If we all stick together and build this as a community, we will all benefit,” he noted.
And, from the looks of it, that’s exactly what is happening. Boaters List has just passed the 28,000 mark of marine services providers who have signed up and are ready to help those on the water.
“Boaters List is going to build the boating community and make it stronger.”
111 W Olmos Drive,
San Antonio, TX 78212