ActiveCaptain is not commercial. There is no cost. There are no
advertisements. It is designed to be a place where you can find
marinas, anchorages, and local knowledge visually on worldwide maps.
It should be fast and interactive...and fun.
We've loaded the initial database full of 8,000 marinas in the US.
Each entry holds 116 fields broken up into 5 sections and 49 groupings.
The database includes common things like phone number, lat/lon,
website, etc. but we also track things that aren't often documented -
are pets welcome, diesel price/date, internet access, slip price per
foot, and many other items. There is also an extensive capability for
reviewing and rating a facility. Anchorages and "local knowledge" are
much simpler and will be added next.
We need people to review the marine facilities in their area and make
additions, corrections, reviews, etc.
ActiveCaptain is all about community. The framework will allow others
to share their knowledge and experience. Adding the information you
know into this framework will help many others and end up helping
yourself when you cruise to an area that you are less familiar with.
It's these folks who appear to be solid:
It's one of those "Why are they doing this?" things. No ads or other source
of income. OTOH they already have the infrastructure to do it without much
investment so it could well be a nice hobby contribution.
There is way too much security for the purpose. You have to register, get
and email confirmation, click to confirm, etc. Maybe that's necessary now
to keep troublemakers out of their servers but the site is only going to
become useful if a LOT of people join and round out the very minimal
information that is currently there, most of which could be found in other
ways. The sign up procedure will keep a lot of people away. I certainly
would have never bothered with it if it wasn't people right in my backyard.
Worth a look and encouragement but I'm skeptical that it will ever take off
unless they make it more accessible and get more useful information into it
Oh, sure, don't forget to "register" so you can be spammed to death.
This website isn't "free" as long as there is a registration of personal
information to fill out......no thanks.
Democracy is when two wolves and a sheep vote on who's for dinner.
Liberty is when the sheep has his own gun.
> Worth a look and encouragement but I'm skeptical that it will ever
> take off unless they make it more accessible and get more useful
> information into it themselves.
> Roger Long
They won't even let you LOOK at the website data unless they harvest your
Just reeks of spammers....
That's why I wouldn't have even bothered to take a look if it weren't for
the local interest.
This will probably doom the effort for it depends on the participation of
lots of people, many of whom will feel the same way.
Hopefully, they will be monitoring this group and take note.
> Oh, sure, don't forget to "register" so you can be spammed to death.
That's not going to happen. I'm one of the people involved with it.
It's taken a year of effort to get it to release. We're cruisers
ourselves and we had the tools, desire, and interest in making this
available. We also see a tremendous opportunity for having this data
available for some products we are working on (mobile phone software -
see www.panbo.com for today's posting - 1/26/07).
If you sign up for the newsletter, you'll get an email from us if there
is something new to say. If you don't want any emails from us, don't
sign up for the newsletter. I don't like getting spam either. We will
never, ever sell, rent, or disclose email addresses or registered users
to anyone. Ever. We do have a privacy statement that talks about all
of these things. We take it seriously.
There really is no evil attempt to coerce anyone into anything. It's
really about doing something positive Something that we know is needed
after cruising up and down the ICW and Bahamas over many thousands of
nautical mile. Sure, if you use the site, you'll eventually learn
about our nautical charting software for mobile devices. But just like
the newsletter sign-up, there's no requirement to take part in it.
Consider the note taken.
The site has been up since Monday. We have 500 registered users who
have made about 3,500 edits already. That's after one work week with
almost no exposure. Our first real exposure is coming today with
www.panbo.com - and there are 40 people logged on right now entering
new data and viewing what is there. Power & Motoryacht magazine has a
mention of our site in it's February issue. Those are just starting to
All in all, I'm very pleased with the participation so far. Doomed?
Perhaps. I'd rather like to think that there is a friendly, helpful
community of boaters out there. After all, Roger, isn't that the way
life, er, boating, should be?
That's excellent. It sounds like you've found a need that people want to
fill. Still, are you sure you need such an extensive sign up process with
yet another password to keep track of? I wonder how many more people would
be contributing if it were easier.
BTW, you missed the marina where I keep my boat in Portland. I'll post some
information after I dig it out.
> Still, are you sure you need such an extensive sign up process with
> yet another password to keep track of?
I know, but seriously, it isn't really extensive. You need to enter an
email address, password, name you want to go by, first and last name,
and home port. There's a balance between making it easy for people who
should be on and making it hard for spammers. One of the things that
makes ActiveCaptain different is that you can change any of the 100 or
so items in each record of a facility. This also means that it is
possible for someone to go and make a lot of changes to a competing
facility to spoof it. For example, one marina could change that the
marina across the way has no slips, etc. We want to protect a little
(Changes made don't replace real data until they are verified by us -
this is a time consuming process with 4,000 edits so far - we're up to
date right now after some non-stop checking all week)
> BTW, you missed the marina where I keep my boat in Portland. I'll post some
> information after I dig it out.
As a registered user, you can add a new facility. We haven't missed
many - it could be that it isn't where you expect it to be. You can
search for an item by facility name - it might be that we have it
marked at a mailing address instead of its location on the water. If
you don't want to join, feel free to give me the name of the marina and
web-site address and I'll add it.
> "Roger Long" <rlon...@maine.rr.com> wrote in
>> Worth a look and encouragement but I'm skeptical that it will ever
>> take off unless they make it more accessible and get more useful
>> information into it themselves.
>> Roger Long
> They won't even let you LOOK at the website data unless they harvest
> your information, FIRST.....
> Just reeks of spammers....
All they did was ask for your information in 4 screens instead of 1. They
only asked for a user name, password, first/last name, and e-mail address.
That's no different than any other site. However, I agree that it's
strange that they won't let you view it without registering. Normally the
above is limited to posting.
Criminy, Dave -- you want to break his rice bowl? Everybody's gotta eat, and
it seems to me that the site is quite a project, even with the contributions
from volunteer labor.
> Jeffrey Siegel
> Active Corporation
Ah, now I see....www.activemap.com
Here the fine print posted not-so-fine:
"Sign up at ActiveCaptain to automatically receive our newsletter about
mobile device products.
It's free and it's an excellent resource for boaters - content,
Copyright © 2007 Active Corporation - All Rights Reserved"
Now I see why it's so goddamned important you harvest our email addresses
and personal information.
According to Panbo:
"NOAA’s free chart policy strikes again! Maptech will no longer sell
Outdoor Navigator, the nifty PDA (both PocketPC and Palm) and Smartphone
charting program sort of shown above. The developer, Jeffrey Siegel, has
decided to go independent, largely because he can now freely access U.S.
raster charts and topo maps. Moreover, the program, to be called
activemap, will also be [[[FREE]]] (emphasis added). I don’t quite
understand the business plan, if there is one, but am quite sure that
Jeff and his team are up to something interesting. More as available."
I've never had a FREEWARE programmer send me promotional emails to make
sure I have his latest FREE product, so excuse me if I'm a little
suspicious of any CORPORATION who's main product is FREEWARE, when it
used to sell for big money. How does this corporation make any money,
giving away FREE software and FREE webpages and NOT spamming anyone who
signs up?? Are you independently wealthy and needing a tax deduction??
> Well there's progress. You're at least admitting that you're doing
> this for commercial gain, rather than to foster some sense of
Not at all! Panbo's article says his activemap is FREE!
When I think about some of the stuff which goes on in this newsgroup due to
unrestricted access, I can see why you need some controls. People pretending
to be other people gets really old; expecially when it's yourself whose
header they are spoofing.
This does look like a very worthwhile effort.
I avoid marinas as much as possible, however. Sights not to miss and danger
spots would be a nice addition. There is a cliff on an island off Portland
where you can see about five different faces at least as realistic as the
late Old Man of the Mountain of NH although smaller. The slack tide
predictions for Hell Gate can be way, way off., Etc.
Maybe little exclamation marks on the charts for notes like these that
people want to add. Maybe another icon for sea stories people would like to
post (like being rolled by a 20 foot breaker off the Cuckholds, Southport
>How does this corporation make any money,
>giving away FREE software and FREE webpages and NOT spamming anyone who
>signs up?? Are you independently wealthy and needing a tax deduction??
If the product is free, you have to sell more of it to make any money.
Maybe the profit is in shipping and handling?
> We have developed an online marina database with some unique
> capabilities based around content, communications, and community. It's
> all about sharing knowledge among the community of marinas and boaters.
> The database has free access for anyone. It's called ActiveCaptain
There exists a similar website: http://www.skipperguide.com
In difference, it is not focussing on facilities, but on all aspects
that may be interesting for cruising. The objective is to become a
online cruising guide, wrote by various people. This site is quite new,
at the moment mainly European waters are covered.
...and you don't have to register at all to use it ;)
I can see how active captain is going to quickly put an end to me
shelling out $100+ a season for updated marine facility guides which
contain mostly outdated information. (Ever try to go to a Restaurant
or West Marine location in a guide book, that is no longer there?).
I am a software company owner, to impress me is saying a lot. This web-
site is done very well in every respect. Especially in that it is very
easy to be a contributor. Click and grab a map to get to your area of
interest, zoom in, click on facilities that already exist, and see
recently updated information and reviews.
Want to enter your own information, it is really simple. See a
mistake someone else made, that is simple to fix as well. Suddenly we
are all editors of an on-line pilot guide. Want to know the price of
fuel, if we are an active community about this, the price of fuel
would be updated within days of it changing. Maybe they should put the
buoy's there as well, or at least create a category of contribution
that lets us captains post "warnings" where buoys, or other map
information is know to be wrong. I think I am going to suggest to the
authors that they create a category for "notice to mariners", and
maybe people in each local community could take responsibility for
reading and posting them in active captain so we can have them appear
in on active captains view of google earth! Then, in addition to
saving money updating our marina guide books, we can both save money
getting less frequent updates to our navigation software, and have a
way to double check quickly how out of date our navigation software is
for an approach to a new marina.
Some things I like about active captain:
- When other people make an entry that is wrong, you can change it
(that's YOU who are reading my google post right now!), everyone is an
editor and the accuracy and relevance of the information goes way up!
The marina owners are going to hate this ... ask Microsoft, who is
unhappy with their Wikipedia entry, and cannot get their view of
themselves into the Wiki database to stick, because the community
controls it. Likewise if a Marina or local restaurant provides high
prices or poor service, it will be on-line for all to see, if they
improve things, the same.
- Once you create a review, you can edit it (text and all) without
creating a new entry. Ever diss someone and come to regret it later
(Larry ?), or make a review and then find on a repeat visit things
have improved, and you want to change your original review (text &
all). I don't know about you, but I feel comfortable making a negative
entry, for example one I made for Danford's in Port Jefferson, knowing
that if on repeat visits I don't experience the same problems and/or
other review writers tell me my experience was abnormal, I can update
my review to be positive again. In a marine guide, you are very
unlikely to read a bad review, and that really doesn't help the reader
to distinguish between what I will really experience in a marina by
reading the guide book.
- Reviews carry a rating on the captain who made the entry. The rating
seems to vary on how much you contribute that turns out to be
accurate / accepted into the database. This gives more weight to the
active members, and kind of forces the marina owners to just fix
what's wrong rather then attempt to post good reviews of themselves.
Security - I read someone is afraid their email addresses will be
"harvested". This is unfounded. Give me a break, some of the many
vendors you pay for service, buy parts, magazine etc. have contributed
your email address and personal information to huge corporate
databases to the point anyone in the marine business can pay a tiny
amount of money to get your email address cross referenced to non-
marine sources and census data. I believe, for less than $1000 I could
get the email address of everyone who owns a boat along with the age
of your boat, how many kids you have, your kids ages, your income,
etc. etc. Registering with this service is hardly a risk in any way,
contrary to an author who suggested creating a temporary msn or yahoo
email address, I wouldn't bother.
Support - I have been very happy with the support I received over the
last two weeks. Granted virtually nobody needs to get support,
everything is pretty self explanatory, but as I tried to push the
limits of the web-site I found some inconsequential things (e.g. in an
anchorage suppose to be depth, or a comment), I got responses the same
or next day. This is far above the call of duty.
Enhance your marine experience, save a tree, and get honest
information about your destination, and go to www.activecaptain.com
and be an editor to what has unarguably established itself in two
short weeks, the ultimate on-line marine guide that is open to all of
us being the editors!
And ... if you had a good experience at Danford's in Port Jefferson,
post a review, if my comments are not supportable by the experience of
others, I will revisit it.
Thanks for hitting the nail on the head. We came up with this idea
after years of frustration with the current boating guides. What we
found is that we only went to guide books when we couldn't get
information from other boaters. They (other boaters) were the ones
told us what marinas to avoid (never see that in the guide books) and
what not to miss (have never been steered wrong).
In our last cruise south we made extensive use of online weather and
it was great to have current information any time we wanted it. We
started talking about how this could be done for marinas, anchorages,
local knowledge, etc. What we always came back to was the desire to
be able to "talk" to boaters who had been there and done that before.
Out of that came ActiveCaptain.
We have had several marina operators call concerned that "anyone"
could write about them. This only served to make me realize that
maybe we were on the right track to having information shared.
Yes, you're much more likely to get honest reviews - the printed
guides are clearly afraid to print anything negative about marinas.
see you're not out of line complaining about Danford's in Port
Jefferson. Already there is another review confirming your suspicion
that they have a service problem. You're not going to get these
surveys anywhere else.
Your Notice To Mariners idea is great, does anyone else here agree?
Content, Communication, Community