Categorized | Shoestring Startup

Boating Business Started from Love of Boating

My family and I have been sailing for the past 13 years. We started out wind surfing and then switched to sailboats. We purchased our own sailboat 5 years ago. I try and get out on the water every opportunity that I can. My wife calls our sailboat my “mistress” because I spend so much time with the boat. I love being on the boat. It doesn’t matter if I am sailing, motoring or just working on the boat. I always enjoy the time I spend on the boat and being on the water. I am very passionate about boating and have always wanted to start my own business so I decided to combine the two and created a boating related business.

In December 2007 I started my internet-based business called Sea Dog Boating Solutions, LLC which is a combination of a consulting business for boat owners and also a retail business. The retail aspect consists of selling useful boating products that solve boating problems and are available from my web-site. My goal is to “Enhance Your Boating Experience” for boat owners or potential boat owners.

I provide boat owners with solutions to their boating problems by applying technical problem solving skills to the vast boating challenges that typically plague the recreational boater. My consulting services are ideal for someone new to boat ownership or someone that has a problem that they can’t solve on their own. I enjoy meeting new people and creating solutions to existing problems.

I worked with a couple who were interested in purchasing a trawler and they were new to boating. I helped them find boating related services in our area and also in the area where the boat was located. I helped them find a surveyor to evaluate the boat. I assisted them in finding a local marina with a slip once they went ahead with the purchase. I was able to give them advice and a list of things to think about regarding their entry into the world of boat ownership. This made their transition into boat ownership go much smoother. They were very appreciative of my services.

I am always looking for unique products that solve a boating problem and continue to expand my product offering on my web-site. I test and use these products on my own boat or use similar products myself to ensure that these products are useful and durable. If you own a boat or know someone that owns a boat, you should check out my web-site:

One product that I sell is the Sea Joule Solar Bilge Pump which automatically pumps out the water from a dinghy or open boat and has a built-in solar panel to keep the battery charged up. It saves you from having to manually bail out your dinghy every time it rains. Another product is the Eartec 24G Simultalk full-duplex radio system that allows two crew members to communicate hands free while docking, mooring, anchoring or communicating while someone is doing work up on the mast. Both of these products provide a solution to boating problems.

One of my challenges with my business is getting the word out. I have a blog page on my web-site that I use to communicate useful information to fellow boaters. I have a Sea Dog Boating Solutions, LLC Facebook page, twitter account (@SeaDogBS) and a LinkedIn page to help get more exposure for my business. I am always looking for new ways to advertise my business on the internet. I have business listings with Google Maps, Yelp, Yahoo and Yellowpages. All of these internet tools that I have used are free advertising. Since part of my business is a consulting business, “word of mouth” is the best form of advertising to get new clients interested in hiring me.

The first year I spent about $600 to get my business defined and set up. This included creating my web-site and getting it on a server. I created the web-site myself and I am my own web-master and that saves a lot of money.

My advice for someone who feels that they have a good idea and are looking to start a business is to do the research and talk to some of the organizations out there that can offer free help like the Small Business Development Center or other similar groups. My best advice for starting out would be to keep things simple. If you truly don’t need something to run the business, don’t buy it until you actually need it. This will help to keep costs down. Don’t wait until you feel you have worked out every possible detail, but after you have done the research, GO FOR IT and Good luck!

by Steven Charlebois
Owner of Sea Dog Boating Solutions, LLC

Company contact information is as follows:

Sea Dog Boating Solutions, LLC
(802) 734-3389
[email protected]

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