9 Benefits of Digital Marina Contracts

Learn the 9 biggest benefits of switching from paper contracts to digital marina contracts. Plus, discover the best contract management tool for your marina.

If you dread the time-consuming, redundant process of creating and sending contracts to your boaters, listen up: there’s a new way of doing things!

With the right technology, you can save hours you’d normally spend processing, printing, and mailing contracts while simplifying the contract management process for yourself and your boaters. Keep reading to learn about the benefits of digital marina contracts and why you should switch to a digital process today.

Navigate this guide:

What are digital marina contracts?

Digital marina contracts are contracts or license agreements that boaters review and sign digitally instead of physically with pen and paper.

Once a boater receives a slip, dockage, or moorage, the next step is to draw up a legally binding contract to limit your liability and protect your bottom line. And handling this process digitally rather than manually with pen and paper will benefit your marina in several ways.

Mobile Boater Experience for Signing Marina Contracts via Dockwa

The problems with paper contracts

You’ve been printing and mailing contracts for years — why change your process now? 

Traditional contract sending methods involve:

  • Printing contracts (plus spending money on paper and ink).
  • Filling out contracts by hand.
  • Faxing or mailing contracts to customers (and spending more money on postage stamps).
  • Waiting for customers to send back their contracts and submit payment.

Even if you draw up a contract on-site, most boaters won’t want to stop by your office immediately to sign paperwork and provide their registration and insurance. 

Or if you email your contracts to your more digitally savvy boaters, they still have to print, sign, scan, and email them back. This is cumbersome for your customers!

And at the end of the day, you’re still responsible for collecting each boater’s information — and you’re liable if there’s an issue with a customer who hasn’t signed their contract.

Assisting reluctant customers

Some customers may wonder why you’re switching to digital contracts. But you can easily paint a picture of the many benefits going digital provides, from the convenience and speed to the environmental impact of cutting down on paper and envelopes. 

In your communications with customers, make it clear that your ultimate goal is to make their lives easier while also making your business run more efficiently — a win-win! 

9 benefits of digital marina contracts

  • Save money
  • Save time and simplify the process
  • Send contracts from anywhere
  • Get contracts returned faster
  • Receive payment sooner
  • Automate recurring billing
  • Delight boaters
  • Easily verify registration and insurance documentation
  • Customize contracts for your marina’s unique needs

Save money

Paper, printer ink, envelopes, postage — these little costs add up fast!

Sending your contracts manually requires a lot of expenses. But you can save big when you switch to digital documents and e-signatures.

Save time & simplify the process

You’ve got enough on your plate without having to waste hours printing documents, stuffing envelopes, and chasing down customers to return their contracts. 

Marinas that switch to digital contracts shorten a months-long process into a matter of weeks, if not days.

Send contracts from anywhere

When you send contracts the old way, you probably find yourself chained to your desk in your office for hours upon hours. In contrast, sending digital contracts allows you to work from anywhere.

A digital contract process only requires an internet connection, so you can work from your phone, tablet, or laptop from anywhere — whether that’s your dock office or the comfort of home.

Get contracts returned faster

A manual contract process requires one of three things:

  • Sending contracts in the mail and waiting for customers to mail them back.
  • Waiting for customers to visit your office to sign their contracts in person.
  • Sending contracts by mail and waiting for customers to print, sign, scan, and send them back.

None of these options is a good use of your valuable time.

By sending your contracts digitally, you’re more likely to get them back faster. When a boater receives their digital contract, they can quickly review and sign it from any device, no matter where they are.

By switching to Dockwa’s digital contracts, Menemsha Harbor saw 30% of their contracts returned with payment within 48 hours.

Receive payment sooner

No one likes chasing down customers to get paid. 

Sending paper contracts usually results in you following up with boaters several times a month, reminding them to pay their bills.

But when you accept digital payments with your contracts, boaters can easily pay by credit card or bank account at the time of signing. That means less time wasted chasing down payments, and more time focused on keeping your marina running smoothly.

Plus, customers can set up automatic payments to charge their payment method of choice accordingly with their billing schedule. This further prevents you from chasing down missed payments.

Automate recurring billing

A digital contract process allows you to set up automatic billing on a recurring basis. That way, a boater’s chosen payment method will be automatically charged on a set date.

Without a digital process, you’d be following up with boaters multiple times per year to collect installments and payments. So why not just set it and forget it, letting your software do the work?

Delight boaters

When’s the last time you reserved a hotel or booked a flight in person or over the phone? Most processes these days are handled digitally, from reservations to payments. Even many apartments and offices are now leased with digital contracts!

Modern boaters have come to expect technology in their day-to-day lives — including at their marinas. Paper contracts feel clunky, outdated, and frustrating to the modern boater who just wants to sign and pay online. 

By offering digital contracts, you’re not only doing yourself a favor — you’re also improving the experience for your customers! Trust us, they’ll thank you for sparing them from driving to your office or sticking a paper contract in the mail.

Easily verify registration & insurance documentation

One of the most important parts of the contract process is getting your boaters’ registration and insurance information. Without it, you could be liable for issues that arise. 

If you send your contracts digitally, you can require your boaters to provide this documentation at the time of signing. That way, you’ll have it right away, stored digitally so you can access it any time. Plus, you’ll reduce time spent filing paperwork and searching for documents amid stacks of papers.

Customize contracts for your marina’s unique needs

Every marina’s contract process is different.

When you go digital, you have more power to control billing schedules and set custom rates for storage, seasonal, and long-term dockage customers. Best of all, updating these settings is quick and easy — it just requires a few clicks within your software.

Whether a contract spans weeks, months, or years and whether it bills weekly, monthly, or at a cadence unique to your marina, going digital provides the flexibility you need. 

How to digitize your marina contract process

If you’re ready to go digital, you have a few options:


It’s never been easier to scan and digitize documents now that so many people have access to a powerful camera in their pocket. You can easily find apps that let you scan paper documents and turn them into image files or editable PDFs. 

Simply turning your current forms into digital ones is low-hanging fruit to start the process. 


Converting your paper contracts to digital files is a good start, but you might want to go a step further by paying for a software tool like DocuSign.

Digital signature tools are relatively simple to integrate into your current workflow, and will certainly cut down on the time spent mailing physical contracts. 


For best results, opt for software that handles everything for you. The best platforms will store customer information and contract details, as well as process payments automatically, so you can effortlessly automate the contract sending process.

Dockwa’s digital contract management tool

Dockwa’s marina management software includes comprehensive digital contract management tools that empower you to take your process online.

On average, Dockwa’s digital contract tool saves you 20 minutes per boater.

Dockwa’s digital contract tool empowers you to:

  • Create and send contracts in minutes. Upload documents, set rates, and bulk-send contract agreements to your customers’ emails with a few clicks.
  • ‍Know immediately whether or not a contract is signed and paid for. From the Dockwa dashboard, you can see the status of all contracts in real-time, including when a contract was sent, opened, signed, or expired
  • Simplify contracts for your boaters. E-signatures and multiple payment methods allow boaters to sign and pay for contracts on time automatically.
  • Customize your contract management process. Set custom rates and billing schedules that match your marina’s needs.

And don’t worry — if some of your boaters prefer the old process, you’ll still have the option of offering in-person signings.

How it works

From the Dockwa app, boaters can add and update their payment information. And you can use the Dockwa app to offer guests a more convenient and efficient way to pay without needing to go to your office to process transactions.

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