Booking Transient Slips And Mooring Reservations: Staying Tech Savvy

Booking Transient Slips And Mooring Reservations: Staying Tech Savvy

I recently had the pleasure of going on a team yacht trip south to Miami from Charleston with a captain that – to put it nicely – is super old school. He never made any reservations or plans regarding where we would stop, which was great because it allowed us to be spontaneous as a group. We could play things by ear depending on the day, the weather, the waves, our mood, and our hangover each morning. However, he was also old school with things like technology. And, with the waterways more packed than ever these days, we were often greeted with “NO WAY” when the sun started going down and were scrambling to find a slip or mooring for the night.

Woman Using Smart Phone On Boat To Book A Marina Slip For The Night

Above: A woman uses her smart phone to find a slip at a marina to park the boat overnight while cruising. Photo: Pond5.

He’d have us calling any marina in sight on the GPS and most places would usually be completely booked. More than half the places wouldn’t even answer the phone. We ended up spending most of our nights anchored out, which is always an adventure. We had a large enough water tank, generator and plenty of supplies to make it work, but that is not always the case. The reality is, most people are booking their slips and moorings on apps like Dockwa now, which provide a much needed bridge between boaters and marinas.

Here are just a few of the many benefits these types of technology services provide.

Marina Apps: Instant Access To Real Time Availability

Imagine having to call all the hotels in a city during an event week trying to find an available room. That’s the old school way of doing things. There was a time when road tripping through the country meant physically stopping at every motel along an interstate exit late at night trying to get the best rates and availability for a quick night’s rest. Sure, that was par for the course back in the day – but these days, almost everyone just does a search online for the dates and amenities that they need. While directory sites like (a searchable marina directory with intel on more than 75,000 marinas and anchorages) can help get information and reviews for marinas and services, apps like Snag-a-Slip and Dockwa now provide faster, mobile on-the-go services for boaters wanting to find a place to tie up for the night.

Mobile marina apps allow captains to just enter their desired area, dates, length overall (old captain’s tip: people often underestimate here to save a little cash), beam, and desired shore power and you’ll be presented with all of the available spots within your cruising range. You’re welcome to plan as far ahead as you like, or do a same-day search for the ultimate in convenience and flexibility. Payments and check-in information are also done online through the apps and make it so much easier than wandering through the docks trying to find the marina office – whose attendant is usually off doing something, trying to manage dozens of guests’ demands simultaneously while the credit card machine is down etc. This is why so many yachters cruising the ICW, traveling the Great Loop or traversing up and down the East or West Coast prefer to use apps these days for booking nightly anchorages.

Long Term Discounts For Boaters

These great tech applications can also be a comfortable way for boaters to explore new destinations for longer term slip bookings. You’re able to browse through all of the different areas or search specifically for great deals (like Dockwa Discounts), particularly if you’re feeling adventurous and are open to trying out a new place. You’ll be able to look at all of the marina profiles, photos, amenities, and most importantly other boater reviews so you can get an idea of a true depiction of the location. The app also tells you the details of each discount, like minimum number of nights, ineligible dates, and when the deal is expiring so you can make the most informed decision for your trip.

Management Software For Marinas

With demand for dockage skyrocketing, slip booking apps can not only handle reservations, they can also help streamline your entire operation as a marina. Over 60% of boats 40 feet or more use Dockwa for their bookings. It’s a matter of convenience. You can easily fill your transient slips, long-term contracts and winter storage by simply creating a marina profile.

Boaters are absolutely critical to each and every marina operation. Dockwa allows users to capture reservations and inquiries 24 hours a day via an easy online form. You can also publish instant promotions and easily upsell your customers on additional purchases like fuel, supplies, and maintenance work. Additionally, the technology allows boaters the freedom to reserve, pay, and communicate on their own time. Marinas can also earn rapport and build their brand with the online review system.

As with most other things in this world, booking marina slips has largely become an online business. It’s important for both boaters and businesses alike to stay on top of the great opportunities these new technologies provide – from streamlining operations to saving money and connecting boaters, apps like Dockwa and Snag-a-Slip are leading the way towards an easier and more convenient future of boat travel.

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Written by Laila Elise

Written by: Laila Elise

Laila Elise is a former fashion model, writer, actress and entrepreneur, with an affinity for a life on the water. She has a Masters in Finance and a Bachelor’s in Business Education, and has traveled extensively around the world working with top agencies and designers. She writes regularly about her passion for the sea on her blog:


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