The Gold Coast sets a high bar for cruising destinations. As the Marinas.com community grows out West, we wanted to give a shout-out to the marinas that are leading the pack!
Should your marina be on the list? If you’re a boater, submit your review. If you’re a marina, share your marina profile’s URL with boaters to let them know you’d love to hear their thoughts. (And don’t forget to claim your free profile so that you can respond and edit your marina information.)
To help spotlight some of California boaters’ favorite places to tie up, we crunched the numbers. Without further ado or frills, these are the top 15 highest-rated by Marinas.com users:
By: Becky Pineo, published on January 08, 2020
January kicked 2020 off with a whopping 50 new marina profiles added to Marinas.com. If you’re the owner of one of these fabulous destinations claim your profile and edit away!
Are the marinas near you on the map, claimed, and up to date? Email [email protected] to let us know if you spot one we missed.
By: Becky Pineo, published on January 06, 2020
The Log, one of California’s leading boating and fishing publications, brought up a fantastic point with regard to the Boaters’ Choice Awards: why aren’t there more West Coast marinas on the list?
Out of the 259 winners, only two Cali marinas “made the cut” as determined by boater reviews left on their marinas’ profiles, while upwards of 100 in New York, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island did. Any boater or marina manager with a shred of California pride would wonder, what’s the deal? We commented in response to The Log article itself, and are sharing here as well in an effort toward transparency and with hope it will help get the message out: Boaters’ Choice Awards are based on boater reviews, so marinas should claim their profiles (it’s free!) and encourage boaters to submit reviews.
Marina managers or staff:
Here’s our response:
First off, thank you for your interest in Marinas.com’s 2019 Boaters’ Choice Awards. Regarding West Coast representation on the list of marinas, you make a valid point that we, too, noted internally as we crunched the numbers to reveal this year’s winners.
To provide more detail and backstory:
Marinas.com’s user base – made up of boaters and marina managers/teams – is stronger on the East Coast, and we’re working to grow both communities throughout the country. There’s clearly work left to be done, and balancing geographic distribution is one of our top priorities.
As you noted, the 2019 Boaters’ Choice recipients earned this year’s designation based upon the cumulative reviews submitted by boaters on Marinas.com throughout the year. Prior to The Wanderlust Group’s acquisition of Marinas.com in 2017, becoming a Boaters’ Choice Award recipient had been more of an advertising play; namely, a way in which some marinas could pay for the designation of “best.” One of our priorities during the transition of Marinas.com was to democratize the Boaters’ Choice Awards in a way that would legitimize the award while leveraging one of the site’s key features: boater reviews. We considered conducting an end-of-year vote, but that method is subject to its own biases (e.g., ballot-stuffing). We took a page from travel industry leader TripAdvisor, and decided to lean on the “votes” submitted organically and continuously: boater reviews.
We’re working to improve our communication efforts with marina teams to educate them on Boaters’ Choice Awards requirements, as well as why online reviews matter, why receiving a Boaters’ Choice Award matters, and how Marinas.com can further help their business across the board. All businesses are eligible to be honored; there is no ranking system, and no cap on the number of marinas that can earn a Boaters’ Choice Award. Further, since the reviews on which the award is based are within one calendar year, earning a Boaters’ Choice Award is a milestone that all marinas can reach despite changes in management, construction projects, etc. More marinas achieving Boaters’ Choice status indicates, among other things, an increase in marinas going above and beyond to provide awesome experiences to their boaters, and leveraging relevant avenues to promote their marina and communicate with customers in order to continue to improve and grow their business.
The list of Boaters’ Choice Award winners is intended as a celebration of the businesses that Marinas.com boaters are most excited about, not an intentional judgment with regard to the quality of inland and West Coast marinas. The representation was and is due to, admittedly, a geographically-skewed user base. We’re sincerely looking forward to announcing this year’s awards in December 2020 and the months leading up to it as we grow Marinas.com in regions where we currently have less of a presence. Thank you for drawing attention to Marinas.com and the Boaters’ Choice Awards to help us kick those efforts into high gear.
Please let me know if you have any follow-up questions, I and the team here are happy to continue the conversation. Thank you to you and your team for all you do to promote boating.
By: Becky Pineo, published on January 02, 2020
After a chance to recharge over the holiday, it seems marina teams and local press are ready to keep cheering for the 2019 Boaters’ Choice Award winners! We’ll update as more reports come in. Share the news, or share our tweets and Facebook posts to help get the word out.
If your marina earned a Boaters’ Choice Award this year, click here for more information about sharing the news with your community.
By: Becky Pineo, published on January 02, 2020
We pride ourselves on hosting the most comprehensive list of marina locations on the web. That said, marina names can change with new ownership, or some locations were missing even before the crew at The Wanderlust Group acquired Marinas.com and all its glorious marina intel in 2017. Credibility matters, so we’ve been quietly making our way – virtually, for now – through the U.S. mapping every dock, ramp, and mooring field.
How do we go about doing that? We have someone on the team – our fearless “spider” – leading the charge, combing a specific region each week and filling in any gaps. In addition, we receive messages from boaters and marina managers/staff letting us know or looking to make updates. And on top of all that, the rest of the members of the Marinas.com team are often out on the water, reading articles about boating and the boating industry, and/or have a penchant for simply nosing around nautical charts dreaming about up adventures; if we don’t see a marina listed that should be, we ping our Spider pal with whatever information we were able to find in order to get the process of adding their profile under way.
We then verify the basic address information with Google, track down the marina’s contact info, and email the marina staff to let them know their business has been added and they can claim the listing for free in order to update contact details, photos, approach info, etc.
Below are the marinas we added in December alone. Marinas denoted with a checkmark have claimed their marina profile, which means they’ve also most likely updated and added information to help boaters find their way and make decisions about booking. We’ll update the checks at the end of January.
Are the marinas near you on the map, claimed, and up to date? Email [email protected] to let us know if you spot one we missed.
By: Becky Pineo, published on December 31, 2019
The Boaters Choice Awards is a long-standing tradition within the boating community. This year, 249 marinas received the designation for their excellence in hospitality. Click here to see the full list of 2019 Boaters’ Choice recipients.
Each year the requirements for a Boaters’ Choice Award change; in 2019, the winning marinas, yacht clubs, and shipyards earned five or more reviews within the year which averaged a four-star rating or higher. The cut-off for reviews was 12:01AM ET on December 4, 2019. The Elite Fleet tier of the Boaters’ Choice Awards earned 10 or more reviews in 2019 averaging 4.8 star rating or higher by 12:01AM ET on December 4, 2019.
Thank you to the thousands of boaters who took time to share their feedback and praise on Marinas.com.
By: Becky Pineo, published on December 10, 2019
Each December we here at Marinas.com run the Boaters’ Awards, and each year it sparks anew a conversation about what makes a good review. Our pals at Dockwa put together a blog post with some of their high- and low-lights to help guide boaters and marinas alike. Read on for some key takeaways, and click here for the original post in full.
We keep a close eye on reservation requests, approval times, and – you guessed it – the reviews that pepper our marina partners’ pages in the Dockwa app and website. And honestly, they can’t all be gems: while some are candid and manage to stay level-headed even when reporting a less-than-excellent experience, others can come off sounding personal, malicious, or unreasonable.
One of the best things about Marinas.com is that marina managers can respond to reviews (for free) to correct the record or – if they were in the wrong – attempt to make amends. Also, boaters and marina staff alike can flag reviews if they don’t meet the community guidelines.
So while we’d love to show off only the glowing praises, we’d thought that we’d take the opportunity to check out some of the ones that are somewhat less than helpful in the spirit of encouraging boaters to leave helpful reviews, even if their stay was less than enjoyable. We’ll lead with the less-good so we can end on the high note.
Afterwards, put your top-notch review skills to the test by leaving a few at some of the marinas you visited this year by going to Marinas.com. And who knows, along the way you might help a marina you love qualify for a Boaters’ Choice Award.
In truth, there are no bad reviews. We want you to be able to be yourself, share what matters most to your boating experience, and tell your story. If you only have a moment, a short review is better than no review. You can always go back later to fill in the details of your stay, or update the review after each visit. Here are some noteworthy negative reviews:
“The dockmaster was rude and unprofessional. Would NEVER go back.”
It’s a start, but other than a tone of foreboding, reviews like this don’t give boaters a whole lot to go on and don’t carry as much weight.
“Just took a mooring for one night. Did not go ashore.”
There’s more to review than ashore! We’d love to know about the mooring conditions, the vibe in the field, was launch service reliable, etc. That said, simple and sweet is a great start and we hope he’ll be back.
“Absolute horrible service, the owner [name redacted] is rude, very nasty and talks nasty about the customers to other employees thinking you didn’t > hear him and a total unprofessional business man. Please do not use this company. My husband and I were ripped off and treated very poorly. No one > > seems to now how to be professional at this marina to their paying customers.”
The vast majority of marina staff we work with are professional, polite, and love their line of work. So we would have loved to hear specifics – what about the service was horrible? How were you ripped off? Because horrible launch driving and horrible engine work are two very different degrees of horrible, and someone forgetting to add on a discount (which can be remedied) is different from them forgetting to fuel your boat up.
“All 000000000. Horrible marina. Mechanic [name redacted] sucks.”
Maybe it’s just me, but I completely ignore reviews like this full-stop. There is nothing constructive in this review to actually aid a marina in becoming better hosts and it definitely doesn’t help a fellow boater make an informed decision about whether or not to tie up at this marina.
“Horrible experience. The rift raft walking back and fourth and the drunks hanging out on the benches was disruptive to our vacation.”
This is great intel for the peace-seeking and party-going alike. We’d love to know what control the marina has over this and what expectations were set – did they not patrol when they said they would? Did you ask to be moved to a new dock and they refused? What was the facility like apart from your fellow guests?
“If I could give this place negative stars I would. Always dirty. Docks are in bad repair. The owner is an ass and a thief. If you stop here does not matter if you lock your things up he will cut the locks and take your things because he thinks he is entitled. He is NEVER in the office. He holds mail locked in the office for weeks and lets the worst of the worst in there. If you confront him about wrong doings he will force you to leave. Awful awful place.”
All we can say about this is, “yikes”.
“No wifi. Only one bathroom and shower. No place to sit and relax. No one to ask questions of. Office closed on weekends?!”
We’d be exasperated as well. Marinas take note: boaters depend on wifi to plan, keep friends and family updated on their travels, and handle business. It’s 2019, the statute of limitations on having poor or no Wifi has run out.
And to our fellow boaters: Quit streaming Netflix while you’re on the docks. You know who you are.
“Horrible. 5 boats in our club could not get power!! Marina blamed our boats at first. They knew this was a lie. Staff would not admit their wiring problems. Locals all knew!!! Bad Bad Bad To hell with [marina name redacted].”
Not good, marina that shall remain unnamed! Solid feedback for the marina that the word is getting around and they should step up their game.
When you leave a marina rejuvenated, you want to tell the world and show your appreciation to the staff. Thanks to boaters who stick the landing during their check-out by writing a review about their great stay, not just problematic ones.
“Brandon, the Dock Master, helped us land our 34ft sailboat with an opposing wind. After fueling up, watering up and pumping out, we decided to stay in a slip for a few nights to wait out the upcoming storm. Again Brandon assisted us docking into the slip, and tiring our lines for the expected blow. Thank you for wonderful service!! Also the marina facilities are top notch and very clean. We will be back next year.”
We love reviews that showcase how helpful the dock hands were when tying up, especially during situations with some tricky weather. This type of information is always appreciated by fellow boaters looking to find a slip in a pinch when some nasty weather is on the horizon. And as always, clean facilities go a long way with boaters!
“We pulled in after a 10 hour run a little past 1700. They close at 1700 and we were met by Adam and he was very friendly and would not leave until we were securely tied up and had power. Very clean and well maintained marina with either a restaurant (Katch-22) or the deli across the street.”
Talk about marina staff going the extra mile! Another boater went on to say:
“Outstanding service from every member of the staff. They make you feel that you are their top priority……imagine that….a place that actually prioritizes customer service . Great overnight stay, great amenities, great people!”
It’s one thing if you had one good experience at a marina, but it’s another thing when that good service is consistent time and time again.
“I’ve spent close to 20 nights over the last 4 years at MHYC, and this is a fantastic place to visit. The Marina is well-protected, and their floating docks are among the nicest I’ve seen anywhere. They have an outstanding restaurant with a nice view out over the lake, and the fuel dock is staffed 24hrs a day.”
We love seeing reviews that boaters come back to to update with more information and insight about their experience. Bonus points to River Forest Marina for responding to every single one of their reviews (and for this amazing sunset picture)!
“Great marina. Staff is wonderful and accommodating, facilities are clean and new, and it’s the closest access to the ICW in this location. It is a bit farther from town than other marinas in the area, but they have loaner golf carts that you can use to go shopping, grab a bite, or just check out the town of Belhaven. They have plenty of room on the docks for bigger boats, and getting in and back out is very easy. Both my wife and I thoroughly enjoyed our stay here, and it will be a regular stop on our yearly trips, both up and down. Update: Thank you, Henry! Although getting older, we hope to keep doing our trip for at least another couple of years, and will be glad to see you on the way.”
“I was only able to stay one night of the two [nights] I booked. The harbor master, Ray, who came down personally to meet us as we arrived and assured us we would not be paying for a night we didn’t stay there. He gave us a free night stay. Kingston was beautiful and welcoming as always.”
Positive reviews that name marina staff members are an A+ in our book. It shows that that person really made a great impression during your stay and other boaters should know it. Hats off to you, Ray!
Thanks again to the thousands of boaters who have contributed to Marinas.com thus far! Marinas love hearing from you and being able to respond and react by sharing the praise with their team or working to improve.
Thankful for the awesome marinas that made your boating experiences even more wonderful this year? Show them your love (and help them qualify for a Boaters’ Choice Award!) by leaving them a review on Marinas.com.
By: Becky Pineo, published on November 26, 2019
You may be pleased as punch to see the thousands upon thousands of world-wide marina profiles – as well as the detailed information within each profile – but we’re working on even more features to help you floatplan. Marinas.com’s charts now allow for chart-type – chart, street, and satellite – as well as weather radar overlay.
Simply select your location on the chart, then use the tools in the upper left-hand side of the screen to toggle weather radar, storms, and advisories.
By: Becky Pineo, published on January 09, 2019