February 10 2015
You can book a flight, hotel and restaurant on your cellphone. How about a slip at a marina?
A new app, Slipfinder.com, lets boaters see what slips are available for their specific boat at participating marinas and book those slips in real-time. About 60 marinas on the East Coast have signed up so far, including Cable Marine West in Fort Lauderdale.
"The boatyard and marina industry is in its infancy using information technology," said Matt Gibbons, business development manager at Cable Marine West. "We're constantly looking for innovative ways to tap the market" to fill slips, especially in slow periods.
Keith Cooper, a boater in the New York area, said he came up with the idea for Slipfinder for his own use. He likes to visit new places with his 30-foot boat and found it cumbersome to find marina websites, send e-mails with slip requests and wait for e-mail answers when he was already on the go.
Cooper said he and a partner who owns a marina, Todd Brice, spent about $125,000 and eight months to develop the concept and team with programmers to launch the app for mobile phones and tablets.
It works like this: Both boaters and marinas sign up on Slipfinder for free. Boaters enter information about their boat, such as the length, so they can find appropriate slip options. Upon booking, boaters pay a fee - 10 percent of the slip price, applied on only the first two days of each booking.
That means on a $60 per day slip booking for several days, the booking fee would be $12, Cooper said.
For now, the app works for same-day bookings. Cooper aims to add future bookings, too.
Other Florida marinas that have signed up for Slipfinder include Daytona Marina Works in Daytona, Fisherman's Wharf Marina in Venice, Seafarer's Marina in Jacksonville, Miller's Marina of Suwannee and Treasure Island Marina of Panama City.