Chandlery July 2017 Issue

Angie’s List for Boaters

 

Finding good help in a far flung port may be easier as the Mariner Exchange app takes hold. The boating app sources marine services, separates them by type, and rates the vendor via consumer feedback.

Cofounded by Alex Nicholson (left), Mariner Exchange (right) matches qualified marine services with sailors in need of some technical assistance or labor.

It all began with an effort to profile a wide range of regional boat service vendors located around the northern reaches of the Chesapeake Bay. We have watched this startup gather momentum in the Annapolis, MD area, spread north and south on the Bay, move into Delaware waters and recently send their crew to Newport, RI to launch their app with a focus on New England sailors and services.

The goal is to link boaters with marine trades providers through a user-friendly app that geographically links nearby marine services, lists their technical talents and adds ratings and reviews. Their premise is that word of mouth is the “old school” way to find someone to fix boat problems such as an overheating diesel or a broken shroud.

Many boaters are skeptical. They see independent marine services as an opaque and fragmented industry, one that would benefit from a third party information flow. The Marine Exchange works as a centralized hub pointing boaters toward a wide range of repair providers. Users can book a needed service and receive an estimate. The app uses crowd-sourced info compiled from the experience of other boaters who have used a specific service. Feedback from users is shared on the app helping to steer others seeking a qualified service provider.

Cofounder Alex Nicholson (no relation to the editor), alluded to a boat owner from Long Island who was Cruising on the Chesapeake Bay and need a technician to repair an ailing AC system. Unsure of capability of the local options, he decided to fly his homeport technician to Baltimore in order to reconcile the problem. Alex pointed out that 71 percent of boat owners are middle class families and aren’t about to fly in a “have-wrench-will-travel” technician. But they do want more than a yellow pages listing to effectively hire a local tech.

Mariners Exchange has recently developed partnerships with Sea Tow and The Waterway Guide. Their arrangement with the latter includes a significant valued added for app users. The inclusion of the Waterway Explorer, a detailed, digital chart option, is very useful to cruisers exploring the Chesapeake Bay’s abundant coves and harbors. Marinas are listed and their services are called out—there’s even small anchors embedded on the charts that depict a wide range of available anchorages—a real value to those heading north or south on the Bay.

Comments (11)

If you are not able to find services in your area, there is a "Need Help" button on the app and you can send Mariner Exchange a message. We will actually do all of the leg work and send you service provider recommendations even if they are not listed on the app.

We also do not censor reviews unless they contain expletives. If a company gets too many negative reviews, we remove them from the platform even if they advertise with us.

Thank you all for your comments. We love hearing feedback so we can continue to make the platform better.

-The Mariner Exchange Team

Posted by: anicholson | July 6, 2017 10:50 AM    Report this comment

If you are not able to find services in your area, there is a "Need Help" button on the app and you can send Mariner Exchange a message. We will actually do all of the leg work and send you service provider recommendations even if they are not listed on the app.

We also do not censor reviews unless they contain expletives. If a company gets too many negative reviews, we remove them from the platform even if they advertise with us.

Thank you all for your comments. We love hearing feedback so we can continue to make the platform better.

-The Mariner Exchange Team

Posted by: anicholson | July 6, 2017 10:48 AM    Report this comment

If you are not able to find services in your area, there is a "Need Help" button on the app and you can send Mariner Exchange a message. We will actually do all of the leg work and send you service provider recommendations even if they are not listed on the app.

We also do not censor reviews unless they contain expletives. If a company gets too many negative reviews, we remove them from the platform even if they advertise with us.

Thank you all for your comments. We love hearing feedback so we can continue to make the platform better.

-The Mariner Exchange Team

Posted by: anicholson | July 6, 2017 10:48 AM    Report this comment

If you are not able to find services in your area, there is a "Need Help" button on the app and you can send Mariner Exchange a message. We will actually do all of the leg work and send you service provider recommendations even if they are not listed on the app.

We also do not censor reviews unless they contain expletives. If a company gets too many negative reviews, we remove them from the platform even if they advertise with us.

Thank you all for your comments. We love hearing feedback so we can continue to make the platform better.

-The Mariner Exchange Team

Posted by: anicholson | July 6, 2017 10:48 AM    Report this comment

It depends on who pays for the service, the vendor /service provider or the consumer ?
I trust a rating where there is no conflict of interest which I believe is unavoidable when
the report is paid by the provider,however if the consumer pays for the report such as one does for Consumer Reports(c) and Practical Sailor(c) it's much less likely to be the case,also consumer paid reports are more inclusive.

Posted by: Capt. Singood | July 2, 2017 7:49 PM    Report this comment

I've read that Angie's List gives preferential treatment to paid "advertisers." If this is the case, or if it happens with marine services it will be useless.

Posted by: Surrymark | July 2, 2017 6:38 PM    Report this comment

The whole reason why this app is needed is because the marine services industry is opaque and it's hard to find quality, honest service. If consumer boaters adopt this app, use the providers and leave reviews, like people do on Angie's list and Yelp, we'll all be better informed and have better experiences.

Posted by: BFleisher | July 2, 2017 5:28 PM    Report this comment

What took so long???????

Posted by: Mandarin Star | July 2, 2017 11:58 AM    Report this comment

What took so long???????

Posted by: Mandarin Star | July 2, 2017 11:58 AM    Report this comment

Just downloaded app for Mariners Exchange. Not one service listed in my area. Actually can't find anything on there for wooden boats, caulking, etc. I am in coastal South Carolina with a 2" thick teak planked Chinese Junk that needs recaulking. Fat chance I'll find help here. I deleted the app.

Posted by: Mandarin Star | July 2, 2017 11:47 AM    Report this comment

Is the app available now and is the name Angie's List for Boaters? How can I add a tradesman info to this site? Thanks

Posted by: zengirl | July 2, 2017 11:21 AM    Report this comment

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