How to Build a Boating Community from Scratch

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If you want to get more out of your boating experiences and form new bonds at the same time, you might be interested in getting involved in a boating community. But if you live in a small city, or if the boaters in your city aren’t particularly active, there may not be a thriving community that you can join.

If that's the case, don't worry. It's entirely possible to build an entire boating community completely from scratch. Here's how you can do it.

The Value of a Boating Community

Boating communities have a lot of potential rewards. They offer a significant flexibility in their purpose as well; for some people, it's a way to find partners for boating activities, while for others, it's just an opportunity to celebrate and eat food together when you're ashore.

Whatever your motivation, you can benefit from:

  • Companionship. Boating communities are some of the best places to find companions for whatever your hobbies are. You'll find avid anglers who are willing to join you on your long fishing trips and competitive sailors who want to join your team for the next race. You'll also find plenty of people buying and selling boat-related items, forming a pseudo marketplace in the process.
  • Support. Is your boat making a funny noise that you've never heard before? Are you not sure whether it's appropriate to go out with current wind speeds? Your boat community can help, providing you with assistance and advice whenever necessary.
  • Mentorship, knowledge, and wisdom. Boating communities are also an excellent place to find mentorship, knowledge, and wisdom. Even if you're an experienced boat captain in your own right, you'll find people more experienced than you who can share their perspectives on a wide range of marine topics.
  • Public events. Together with your boating community, you can plan and host large-scale events. Depending on your goals, that could mean orchestrating a massive volunteer effort or simply throwing a neighbourhood party.

Searching for a Community

Before you formally decide to start your own boating community, take a moment to search for communities that are already established in your area. Talk to avid boaters at the marina and look for established groups on social media. You may find a group that you like that requires no intervention on your part. Alternatively, you may figure out what type of group is missing from your local area – and you can find an easy way to distinguish yourself.

How to Build a Boating Community from Scratch

So how do you build a boating community from scratch?

  • Take initiative (or find someone who will). First, take initiative. You need to be the leader and the visionary for this organization. Without someone making decisions and setting a course, most groups fall apart pretty quickly. If you don't like the idea of this responsibility, or if you don't see yourself in a leadership position, your first goal should be finding someone who can fill that role.
  • Start small. Once you have a leader in place, start forming your group on the smallest possible scale. You don't have to call it a group at this point, nor do you need to be particularly organized. Instead, you can get started just by getting to know the people around you and spending time together. If you have even a handful of fellow boaters that you get along with and share ideas with, that's an excellent start. This is going to serve as the nucleus of your eventual group; nobody wants to join a group that only has one person attending, so it's vital to have a small following initially.
  • Contact local marinas. Next, start contacting your local marinas. Are they interested in hosting a group of people on a regular basis? Are there any community events that are already in existence there? Would they charge a fee for the use of amenities? Would they be willing to promote the group on your behalf to new and existing boat owners in the area? Marinas and other aquatic organizations can be powerful resources as you attempt to build your community from the ground up.
  • Host and list meetups. Once you're ready to get started, plan and host meetups. You can use social media, meet up websites, old-fashioned flyers, or a combination of these strategies to get the word out. No matter what, you'll want to meet on time and provide an organized setting for all attendees. Your first few meetings are going to make a big impact on the people attending, so make sure you have a clear agenda in place and that you make a good first impression.
  • Be consistent. One of the keys to establishing a thriving community is consistency. If you only meet some of the time, people aren't going to bother showing up. Whatever frequency and timing you prefer, keep your meetups as consistent as possible. For example, you could meet every Monday night, or meet the second Saturday afternoon of every month.
  • Practice outreach. You might have a strong core at the centre of your boating community, but if you want the community to thrive and grow, you're going to need to practice outreach. That means reaching out to new people who might be interested in your group. Break out of your comfort zone and try to network with people you wouldn't ordinarily meet. You might also consider small-scale marketing and advertising strategies to raise awareness of your group.
  • Make everyone feel welcomed. Inclusive communities tend to perform better than exclusive ones. Your community is about boating primarily, so it's important to be open to people of all ages, races, genders, and socioeconomic backgrounds. It's also important to make all those people feel welcomed so they're more likely to come back in the future.
  • Be open to new ideas. Your community may not be a hit immediately; some of your group members may have new and different ideas for how they want the group to function or how it should grow in the future. It’s important to remain flexible and adaptable; that doesn’t mean you have to accept every new idea presented by another member of the group, but you should at least be open to them.

If you want a boating community, it makes sense to have a boat of your own. If you’re new to the world of boating or if you’ve been looking for an upgrade for your old vessel, TheYachtMarket has you covered. Browse our listings of new and used boats today!

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