Marine trades and services, in-depth weather checks and useful journey information all comes together on Boat Central, explains founder Iain Bonneywell
There’s no shortage of information on the Internet, but when focusing on boat-specific jobs like servicing, supplies, moorings or getting quotes for yard work, it can be hard to cut through the noise and find relevant and reliable sources.
That’s where Boat Central comes in – with over 18 months development, it already has more than 19,000 listings of boat related businesses in over 65 different categories, including marinas, fuel, surveying, chandlers, maintenance, training and much more… Better still it’s 100% free for boat owners to use.
Rather than spend hours online to find out what’s along the way on your chosen journey, checking weather, finding trades and services, or sending multiple emails to receive quotes from local businesses, we put it all under one roof”, explains Boat Central founder Iain Bonneywell.
“With a few simple clicks you can find what you need – and it’s location-based so we always look to support local businesses and order the results in the most appropriate way for boat owners.
Part of the reason for Boat Central’s rapid expansion is that it offers free standard listings for marine businesses so they can easily reach new customers, whilst their ‘featured or premium’ service allows businesses to receive requests for quotes from boat owners and promote offers, events and discounts.
Likewise, boat owners can request a free quote for anything they require from businesses near their homeport and know that they are getting reliable, up-to-date information.
“There are very few alternatives, many of which are out of date – so our team constantly checks listings and web addresses to police the quality of the site,” Bonneywell adds.
Built by boaters for boaters
Bonneywell is an avid boater himself, so he used his experience on the water to make sure Boat Central was as useful as possible. “When I started the process of buying a boat in 2015, I needed to find a broker, surveyor, legal conveyancer, marina, fuel, valet company, mechanics and much more.
“It was all done through countless hours of searching online and word of mouth. There were a couple of generic sites, but I found a large proportion of the listings were not current or the companies no longer existed.
“The crowning glory for me was when I required new batteries for the boat – after spending hours sourcing companies who may be able to help and having to email or phone them individually, I received quotes for the same job with a variance of £1,000’s!
“Another was the price of fuel; I again had a variance of nearly £300 to fill up with diesel within a 2-mile area.
“A further frustration was missing out on offers from local restaurants, boat shows at neighbouring marinas and discounts from chandlers or services locally.”
Before launching Boat Central, the team also worked with a large group of boat owners to get an idea of the struggles they had when searching for boating information online.
“It became clear that many boat owners search differently even though they may be looking for the same thing – that’s why we created search categories which are easy to understand. All too often the search results for ‘fenders’ brought up a selection of expensive guitars”
“Planning journeys was also a major common issue for boat owners. Whilst the majority had the equipment and charts to plan the physical journey, they also wanted to know what was along the way, such as fuel, moorings, somewhere to get a bite to eat when they arrive late at a new marina, or where they can buy chandlery locally if something goes amiss on the journey.
“Others wanted to know what was on in the local area if the weather wasn’t conducive to being out in the water, also where they could entertain children with ‘cabin fever’ on dry land – so we included a section on recreation too. We’re currently developing the recreation and food & drink sections on our site and have received great feedback so far!”
And Boat Central isn’t just about finding the right business, there’s plenty of expert advice on topics like keeping a dog on board, how to keep fit in small spaces, or even how to present sandwiches in a way that will impress your guests.
“If it floats we can help”, adds Bonneywell. “All boats require maintenance and as we know many things continually go wrong, from a rip in the upholstery to a lost fender that needs replacing”.
“It can be a lonely place owning a boat and you can feel at the top of a very wide pyramid. Boat owners want a place where they can see everything under one roof – it doesn’t sound unrealistic when you think about it…”
To find out how Boat Central can make your boating life easier, visit: boat-central.com