Dockwa: booking berths in one click
Theory and practice

Dockwa: booking berths in one click

Dockwa can help you find the right marina and reserve a parking space in it without quitting the app.
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Dockwa is a single system for booking marina berths and parking spaces. Launched in the summer of 2014 in Newport, Rhode Island, Dockwa is the brainchild of CEO and co-founder of 27-year-old Mike Melillo. Before creating Dockwa, Mike researched the work of a local dockmaster and was amazed at how inefficient the process was.

Let's say you are a yachtsman from Newport and want to stand in Martas Vignard on the weekend. On Thursday night, you call the local marina, asking for a mooring place. The dockmaster will most likely not receive your message until the next morning, and if he has a lot of work to do during Friday, he can only answer you by evening. By then you will most likely have already cancelled your trip, as you are not going to spend a few hundred dollars on fuel to get to Martas Vignard, not knowing exactly if you will have a place to stay.

Mike has calculated that from the time of the berth request to his booking, information from the yachtsman goes through a chain of 20-35 interactions. The Dockwa service was created in order to reduce the time between the request and booking.

The Dockwa application allows you to select a suitable marina along the East Coast of the U.S. and even further, request a parking space and after receiving a confirmation from the marina, pay it directly in the application from your bank card. The service also offers round-the-clock support for both yachtsmen and marinas.

The service has already made a lot of noise in the yachting industry. Last October Dockwa announced a partnership with BoatUS, the largest yacht ownership association with over 500,000 active members.

Dockwa recently canceled a service charge, which was included in the booking price.

Now it is possible to rent a berth through the application no more expensive than with direct access to the marina: a small percentage is charged only for processing credit card transactions. And Dockwa intends to earn money on additional software solutions for marinas. Thus, marina can buy the first place in the application list when searching for a certain region.

Today, Dockwa has 250 marinas connected to its service and the number is growing.

The application's geography stretches from Maine to the Bahamas and the Caribbean, including both the American and British Virgin Islands. Soon the Great Lakes region will also appear on the Dockwa map.

From March 1, the service will launch a new instant booking service in Edgarton Harbor, Martas Vignard. It will be possible to rent a parking space there in one click, without having to wait for marina approval. Mike Melilo predicts that by summer at least 10% of the marinas connected to Dockwa will follow the example of Edgarton Harbour.

If these predictions come true, it will be a major shift for an industry where many Marinas have refused to open reservations for weeks or even days in advance. Dockwa is looking to become the new industry standard, and there is a good chance that a startup will succeed.

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