Should we call them Transients? NO! Plus, give your Marina Guests a Warm Welcome to remember

Be Our Guest

Apr 18, 2022

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

There has been an age-old discussion on the label that the marina business gives overnight visitors arriving by boat to their facilities.  The label is “Transients”.   Merriam-Webster’s definition of transient is “one that is transient such as (a) a guest or boarder who stays only briefly (b) a person traveling about usually in search of work”.  That dictionary definition doesn’t sound terrible, but “Google” search “Is the word transient offensive” and you will see that the word has a negative connotation.  So, personal opinions aside, the use of the word will not be for everyone, and we are an industry addressing our visiting boaters that way!  Perhaps there is another word that is a little more welcoming.  Disney, along with many hotels and resorts call their customers “Guests”.  In my previous marina management, our marina term was “Guest Boaters”.  Maybe you would like to come up with a term that is unique to your business.  Say “Transient Boater” out loud.  Now say “Guest Boater” out loud.  Which label do you think is a little more Warm-Fuzzy?  You decide!  I’m using “Guest Boater”.

Guest Boaters arrive at your facilities from short and long distances.  Sometimes, your Guest may have decided to make your marina their overnight destination and their Home Port is only an hour or two cruise away.  Other times, your Guest has arrived at your facility in-the-midst of their month or year-long Bucket-List trip.  Whatever the case, there is a good chance that they are new to your facility or have spent minimal time there (likely in another slip) and a warm welcome will go a long way in providing a great Customer Service Experience and one that they will tell all their friends about.

Here are a few suggestions to Welcome your Guest Boater:

1. The Guest Boater is likely to have called in on VHF Channel 68/66A (depending on where you are in Canada) and has been given a slip assignment with instruction on how to navigate there.

2. Send Dock Staff to the slip to assist with lines and powering up. A good set of two-way radios is a great way to communicate to your staff easily.

3. Once the boat is secure and the Captain and Crew are settled, a Dock Staff could use these guidelines and customize a Welcome unique to your facility.  Keep this information short, 5 minutes maximum- you don’t want your boater doesn’t Glaze-Over!

o “Have you visited before? If you have a moment, I can tell you a few things about our marina.”

o Customize this information for your marina.  Information about services that might help to generate spin-off revenue is also a good idea but don’t focus only on those points.  The purpose is to offer a great Customer Service Experience.

o Dock Staff can point to the location of the marina chandlery and registration, boater showers and washrooms, garbage bins, fuel & pump-out dock, doggy doo-doo pick-up bags and shared BBQ’s.

o Sharing the hours of operation and important marina policies (pets should be on leash, check-out time on day of departure) will also help to keep your marina operation running smoothly.

o Always end this warm welcome on a fun and positive.  Offering location of the bar or beach are always winners.  Afterall, your Guest Boater has just arrived and is ready to chill and have some fun!

Through-out the guests stay; it is a good idea for marina management to drop by to say hello and thank the Guest Boater for coming.  This is a great opportunity to build the foundation for a long-lasting relationship that could result in continued overnight visits or this Guest becoming your next year-round slip customer.


Jill Snider is the Publisher of CY Media.  A former graduate of the three-year Marine Technology & Recreation program at Georgian College, Jill later became an instructor for Service & Information Techniques at Georgian’s Marine Engine Mechanics Program.  She worked in Marina Management for +20 years. Please send questions, comments and article topics  for Jill to jillsnider@kerrwil.com .

Link 1 – https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary


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