Nantucket Moorings runs a transient field of 125 moorings in Nantucket Harbor, providing nightly DIY accommodations to boaters—you might even call it an on-water Airbnb.
“Boats come and go,” says office manager Leigh Van Hoven, who’s been with Nantucket Moorings on Nantucket, Massachusetts, for about 20 years. “We found that using Dockwa was an easy way to run our mooring-rental business.”
When the company, owned and operated by Nantucket-native Tim Reinemo, first started incorporating the Dockwa reservation platform in 2016, they saw reservations average about 40 percent through Dockwa and 60 percent direct credit-card bookings via over-the-phone reservations. The staff had their hands full dealing with reservations.
But last year, the company recognized a change in boater behavior toward a preference for digital booking. As a result, they switched their booking system completely to Dockwa so every reservation was input and charged through the Dockwa digital platform.
Reservations through the Dockwa website and app soared. Customers are pleased, as seen in the many five-star boater reviews on Nantucket Mooring’s Marinas.com claimed profile. Such as: “Great experience at Nantucket Moorings. Helpful staff and very easy to locate moorings. Beautiful location just outside the boat basin. Convenient options with launch service or town dinghy dock. Excellent communication with the marina staff. We enjoyed our experience and thank the staff for their great support. Our third trip this summer—great crew and service.”
And: “This is the ideal way to visit Nantucket. Nantucket Moorings was even easier to use than ever before. We got our mooring assignment during the day, while we were enjoying a great sail. Efficient. Clean moorings. Looking forward to returning again next season.”
“We’re happy with the Dockwa system. It’s helped build the business through the online platform,” said business owner Tim Reinemo.
The company’s main business, apart from sales and service of mooring tackle, is to rent berths in Nantucket Harbor; they don’t have a ship’s store or fuel or other point-of-sale services. Fuel and boat-maintenance services are available at Nantucket Boat Basin and the onshore facilities run by the town of Nantucket.
“Our customers can utilize all of those resources, but we don't maintain any of the dinghy docks or the showers,” Leigh continues. “That’s all through the town.” Water taxi or shuttle service to the town docks is available.
A mooring runs from $65 to $150 per night based on boat length (maximum is 85 feet) for a two-night minimum stay (a three-night minimum is required from July 1 to 4), which boaters request through Dockwa. Then the company’s staff approves the reservation and assigns a mooring.
“We use the assignments on the Dockwa platform’s homepage, and it has worked pretty slick. I can do all the assigning in-house. It streamlined our rental business, for sure,” Leigh told us.
“With all of the reservations coming through Dockwa, we restructured our reservation process with the boaters coming in long-term: In the past, we would have a flat fee—you paid one fee and you could use the mooring from as early as mid-May through September. But the demand in Nantucket and the boating world is such that we changed our whole way of doing reservations,” she said. “Now, it’s basically à la carte. If you want to come in on June first and stay until September 15, the boater pays nightly rates.”
This billing structure is easier for the company to manage, Leigh said, and if a boater comes in a week late, they can change the billing through Dockwa. “The credit goes through immediately back to their card, and vice versa if they come in earlier,” Leigh said. “It made sense to streamline it all right through Dockwa, and most people are happy to do that because, luckily, 90 percent of our customers already are familiar with using Dockwa. It’s now our exclusive rental portal.”
The moorings are labeled by letter and number—P2, P5, T7, and the like—so making assignment changes is straightforward, and then when the boater radios in and is familiar with the mooring field, the Nantucket Moorings crew simply tells the operator which mooring is theirs.
“I’ll tell you that using Dockwa has provided me with more time, because I'm not on the phone all day making reservations and literally filling out reservation papers. Now, it's all the click of confirm, print, and file. It makes our life a lot easier, for sure,” Leigh continued.
Though boaters reserve through Dockwa, Nantucket Moorings still controls the final approval of a reservation. "I have the ability to block off dates that are full so people can't reserve them, so I have final control and say on if it’s available. Keep in mind, we have a lot of reservations that come in and if we only have a couple spots open and an 85-foot boat wants in and it’s only good for a 38-foot boat, obviously, I have to decline the 85-footer and tell them why. So, I still have ultimate control over the boats we can take.”
But, Leigh added, “I come in some mornings and have eight or nine pending Dockwa reservations in the queue.”
Also, Leigh said if a boater books a reservation after office hours, they won’t get an answer until the next morning. “If somebody comes in and it’s late at night, and they pick up a mooring, we call those night owls—they're not necessarily putting in a reservation on Dockwa. They’re probably just going to pay us in the morning. Typically, however, a Dockwa user is pretty organized, and they’ve usually made plans ahead of time.”
Leigh said that using the platform makes recording booking easier for the Nantucket Moorings team. Previously, they used a program requiring the office crew to enter the boat name and close out the program at the end of the day, updating all of the booking information.
“With Dockwa, all of the reservations for the day pop up and they just need to be assigned on the mooring grid. I either do that in the morning, or my crew does it when they get in,” she said. If anything changes, the reservation grid is updated with a quick click.
“Then, you just click them in, and it automatically adds a little green checked-in line. It's a lot easier using Dockwa. It is a time saver . . . we don't have to fill in as many blanks. If something changes, you don't have to delete and then reenter—it’s really just a change of an assignment.”
Through the Dockwa system, Nantucket Moorings gets an email alert for each reservation. “The difference now is I’m not inputting 1,800 credit cards and saving them to a copy of a reservation. So, the process is streamlined when I hit ‘yes.’ As long as the reservation charge goes through, I print it and I file it. It saves me time that way, too,” Leigh said.
“If every reservation is through Dockwa, then the other staff and I have the same access, either here in the office or on the harbor on an iPad. So every day we know what boats are here or coming. It's streamlined our rental business, for sure, particularly during the busy summers.
“We’ve been very happy with the system. It’s working well,” she added.
"Nantucket Moorings is one of the top-tier mooring fields in the country,” said Reid Burns, manager of customer success at Dockwa. “We were excited when we first started working with them in 2016 and are absolutely thrilled they have been able to expand their Dockwa usage, creating more efficient processes. At the end of the day, we are building tools to help the marina team and their customers spend less time in the office and more time out on the water. I believe that is what has happened at Nantucket Moorings."