Friday, November 30, 2012

3rd Annual Holiday Gift Guide for Boaters

This week, for the third year in a row, I published a holiday gift guide on the Daily Boater. Just like the previous two years, the 2012 edition includes a mix of fun, unique and practical gift ideas that any boater or nautically minded loved one would enjoy seeing under the tree on Christmas morning.

Daily Boater Gift Guide
Once again, the gift guide includes products from trusted partners, such as a little cookbook filled with 800 (count 'em!) practical recipes: The Boat Galley Cookbook. Our favorite 'dream big' MegaYacht Wall Calendar is back for the 3rd year in a row, as well as several other products that I personally put to the test.

Of course, no self respecting boating gift guide is complete without personalized boating gift suggestions, and since I also own, it was easy to come up with a few ideas. You'll find some neat gift items - mostly related to eating and drinking - in the Personalized Nautical Gifts section of the Gift Guide, and you'll find a mix of personalized and non-personalized boat-wear ideas in the Boating Apparel area.

Enjoy the 2012 Holiday Gift Guide for Boaters at

If you have a unique product you'd like to include in next year's guide, or perhaps in our Father's Day gift guide, please contact me.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Your Quarterly Update

Quarterly is way too long to go between blog posts for someone who considers himself a blogger. Now that that's been said and is behind us, here is a little of what I've been up to...

Boat Name Gear at Norwalk Boat Show
I exhibited at the Norwalk Boat Show for the first time last month, and will most likely do it again. With my BoatNameGear booth on display I was able to gain a bunch of new customers right in my own home state, and reconnect with a few boaters that I've seen at other boat shows over the past couple of years. I was also able to make a couple of corporate connections, and am currently delivering a large order to a boat manufacturer for products they will use at the Fort Lauderdale show in a couple of weeks.

Technical issues seem to have plagued my multiple hosting vendors over the past 60 days. My old friends at OLM seem to have dropped the ball once again recently when a power outage seemed to leave them clueless. Every issue these guys ever have seems to put them in bind. Luckily only one of my sites,, is hosted with them. It won't be for long. I used to work for OLM, so maybe I am jaded having looked under the hood and having seen how messy the engine actually is under there. I always figured you're better with the devil you know than the one you don't, but I think it is finally time for a change.

Another frequent offender is Volusion. This is the e-commerce host that powers BoatNameGear. I switched to Volusion from Yahoo right after Christmas 2011 because I thought they looked more professional than a yahoo store, and they were also recommended in an article about a store that sells millions of dollars worth of UCONN gear each year. I had seen some bad press in forums about Volusion having trouble with slowness and downtime, but I chose to believe the good press about the company's improvements. I may give them some more time, as moving an e-commerce store is a pain in the ass. Hopefully they will get better.

Danica Patrick

Thirdly, GoDaddy had issues in September  - this is the first time in 10 years of holding domain names with GoDaddy that i have been noticeably affected by any issues with this company. I don't actually host any websites with them, but I have many domain names that forward to other websites - these domain names were down for about a day while GoDaddy sorted out their issues.

On another technical note, I've been diving into WordPress a lot lately since creating on the platform. If it continues to impress me as much as it has been, I expect to be creating several new sites on WordPress between now and the end of 2013. This blog and several other sites I manage are created on Google's Blogger platform, and that certainly is easy to use and still has some advantages. If anybody is interested in my thoughts on Blogger vs. WordPress, contact me and I'd be happy to share my experience. 

Hopefully my next post will be a positive one about some funding that I am working on, and hopefully it will be sooner than 3 months from now!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Batting 1,000

Last week, Nautical Sites Media hit another milestone when I posted the thousandth article on the Daily Boater.
One thousand.

As I mentioned in my last post here, I couldn't do it alone. In fact, number 1,000 turned out to be a guest post by Carolyn Shearlock.  But whoa - 1,000 seems like a whole lot of articles about boating for what I still consider to be a young publication.

I hope people are enjoying the content and keep coming back for more.

Speaking of the Daily Boater, advertisers have started signing up for a new program called the weekly Marine Product Review. This is a program I started in partnership with Mark Sutton of in which we review a nautical product each Wednesday, and make sure that the product being reviewed gets as much publicity as we can muster across our mutual sites and social media accounts. This is the only paid, advertorial content on the Daily Boater, and to keep the quality high we reserve the right to turn away advertisers whose products we don't want to review.

More information for potential advertisers can be found here, and the first few reviews we've done so far can be found here.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Independence Day

Just a quick note to say Happy 4th of July to all our fellow Americans.

It also happens to be the anniversary of the Daily Boater, born on the Fourth of July in 2006. Wow - hard to believe we've been turning out articles about boating almost every day for six full years.

I couldn't do it alone, and I probably don't say this enough - Thank You to the many great contributors over the years that made the Daily Boater what it is today, including Vincent Pica of Atlantic Maritime Academy, Mark Sutton of Marine Product Reviews, Carolyn Shearlock of The Boat Galley, Sean McQuilken, Captain John Jamieson of to name a few. Your articles have helped visitors to the site grow by 300% over the past two years. Thanks for all you do!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Multiple Mentions Of Nautical Sites

It's been a good week when it comes to PR for Nautical Sites.

Monterey Boats put out a blog post yesterday that mentioned several of my websites, and included links, in an article about boat names: The Name Game

And on Monday, BoatUS announced their BoatUS Angler “Catch of the Month” photo contest, which has four major sponsors - one of which is!

The latter news has already been mentioned in a few publications across the country - including the Paramus Post, the Bladen Journal,  and Captain Ken Kreisler’s Boat and Yacht Report (THANKS TO ALL FOR INCLUDING THE BOATNAMEGEAR LINK) - and I suspect more will follow.

Here's the full release from BoatUS...

Press Contact: D. Scott Croft, 703-461-2864,

Take Your Camera on Your Next Fishing Trip and You Could Win Big

BoatUS: Contestant Callie Shumway of Bellefonte, PA

There’s a lot to pack before you head out for the spring fishing season. Just don’t forget the camera to take shots of your catch to submit to the BoatUS Angler “Catch of the Month” photo contest at, which kicked off this week and runs monthly through October 31.

Monthly winners, one freshwater and one saltwater, will receive a one-year BoatUS Angler membership with basic on-water towing and roadside assistance, a $50 Visa gift card and a “prize pack” filled with fishing and BoatUS Angler gear. In addition, winning photos will appear in BoatUS Angler Magazine and Tacklebox monthly fishing e-newsletter. 

Monthly winners will be automatically entered to win the grand prize in November: an upgrade to unlimited on-water and on-road towing assistance, a high-quality fish replica from The Fish Mount Store, and a $50 gift certificate from BoatNameGear.

BoatUS Angler’s roadside assistance “club” for boat trailers and tow vehicles and its on-the-water towing service helps anglers spend more time fishing and less time worrying about breakdowns. Visit for more. Anglers can also check out all of the photos submitted at:

About the sponsors:

BoatNameGear offers a unique, hand-picked selection of high-quality personalized gifts, clothing and gear. BoatUS members enjoy a 10% discount on all products plus free shipping on all orders of $99 or more. 


Thursday, April 12, 2012

Local Boat Shows

BoatNameGear occasionally exhibits at boat shows in and around Connecticut where I live. The shows give me a chance to see a few existing customers in person, get feedback on products, get the name out there, and meet all kinds of great people. If time permits, I also get the chance to talk to folks about the other sites in the network - I usually can find a story idea or two for Daily Boater or the new Northeast Boater.

This is the back of the booths at SailQuest in Mystic, CT, last year. SailQuest is moving to Milford this year.
And since Father's Day is one of the website's busiest times of year, I was especially excited to find a couple of events right in my home state right before things get really crazy for the big holiday. The two events are in-water boat shows, and both are on the Connecticut shoreline.

This will be my first time at the Brewer show, which should be interesting - I'm told the land vendors like me will be "in the shed". I'm looking forward to it! Westbrook and the surrounding towns are great boating communities, so it seems like a good location for a show.

I'm also looking forward to SailQuest, which will be my third time exhibiting at the show, which is every year it was held. I'm also hopeful the show will draw a bigger crowd than it has in previous years due to its new location, free admission, and the fact that the promoters have now had two years of experience. It will also be a bit of a homecoming for me as I grew up in Milford and spent many a summer boating in and out of Milford Harbor.

If you're in the area, please stop by:

Brewer Spring In-Water Boat Show
LOCATION: Brewers Pilots Point Marina, Westbrook, CT
DATE: April 28 - 29, 2012
MORE INFO: Brewer Spring In-Water Boat Show

SailQuest Boat Show
LOCATION: Lisman Landing Marina, Milford, CT
DATE: May 18 - 20, 2012
MORE INFO: SailQuest Boat Show / WindCheck

Friday, February 24, 2012

Soft Launch, BETA, In-Progress...

My latest nautical site,, is live on the inter-webs. You can google it. You can see the site and click around, subscribe to the news feed, etc. You can get to it by the aforementioned long URL, or the abbreviated, which has nothing to do with Nebraska and everything to do with getting a shorter domain name.

And, after I heard a friend actually say "N E Boater" out loud a couple of times, I also bought the domain "Any Boater .com", which could make a good name for an entirely different type of website in the future, but for now, just helps people find my new site if I give out the abbreviated version of the name and they get confused.

Northeast Boater was intended to be just like the Daily Boater... sharing news, tips and commentary with boaters, but with a laser-like local focus. However, I have expanded the plans for the site to include online charts of the coastal states, safety resources for each state, and an online events calendar - components that were never needed on Daily Boater because they already existed on So, in essence, NortheastBoater is essentially a 'regional' version of both the Daily Boater and First Boat combined.

NortheastBoater is currently focused on the waters of New England and New York. I had originally planned to also include other states, such as NJ and Penn, but will expand to cover a larger area of the Northeastern United States as resources allow. For now, seven states is proving to be keeping me busy.

So, in summary, NortheastBoater is live, but not nearly complete - there are entire state pages without content yet. After I fill in most of the gaps over the next couple of weeks, look for an announcement that the site is live (you'll see it here, first!)

In the meantime, please 'like' the new site's facebook page and follow it/me on twitter:

Thanks, and stay tuned!

Friday, February 3, 2012

Tools I Use

Some of this web stuff gets confusing sometimes. When people ask me what tools I use to do one thing or another with my websites or social media, I am always happy to help. But on the tools that I "set and forget", I am often living proof of why that phrase exists.

This post is about those tools so that the next time someone asks, I can refer to or share this link...

For this and many of my other blogs, I usually use Blogger, which is free and is owned by Google. In fact, many of the tools I use to run my business are both free and owned by Google.  These include my ad-serving software, analytics tools, email and calendar. While I am comfortable and happy with Blogger, I am also testing out WordPress for a new site that is launching soon, and so far it is great... WP is also free, but not currently owned by Google.

For some of the trickier stuff that I sometimes forget about (when they are working smoothly)...

When I write a blog post on the Daily Boater, it instantly shows up (title, link and summary) on the Daily Boater Facebook page. This happens thanks to a free app called  networkedblogs. (You can get it by viewing one of these posts on Facebook and clicking on the networkedblogs link below the post:

The 2nd thing that happens automatically.  That same blog post I mentioned above is also sent to Daily Boater Twitter followers as soon as I post it on my blog. I don't have to log into Twitter as frequently as I used to. This is thanks to Free. Non-Google. I haven't looked into it, but this tool could probably replace what I use networkedblogs for, as it looks like it allows me to post to both Twitter and Facebook. I only use it for twitter. On the other hand, Facebook pages have a setting that now makes this service obsolete (on my FirstBoat Facebook page, every post I write directly on Facebook from that page gets automatically tweeted  from @FirstBoat / to do this, go to your Facebook business page, edit your page, and click on resources.)

This one is big...
The 3rd automatic thing that happens when I write a blog post on the Daily Boater is it gets sent out via RSS. When initially setting this up, I found RSS, which I believe stands for Real Simple Syndication, not so simple. However, with yet another free tool from Google called Feedburner, my blog posts on Daily Boater are automatically syndicated. This allows the blog post to:
1. show up on the home page of
2. Get delivered to my RSS subscribers' emails
3. Show up in peoples RSS readers or iGoogle or myYahoo home pages if they "subscribe" to my feed.
4. a bunch of other stuff that I can't think of right now. Which brings me back to my original point in this blog post. I have relied on a lot of great automation tools as I ramp up this growing network of web properties, and when they work well, you don't have to even remember what they all are!

Okay, now it's back to work using these and other tools... contact me if you have any questions implementing these things or about other solutions I use to run my business.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Captain's Quarterly...

Has this turned into a quarterly post? I've got to get here more often!

It's been busy, but I had to tell you about some numbers. They look good on all fronts, but there is one shining star that I want to highlight.

The Daily Boater.

Yes, traffic was up in 2011 over 2010 - I've been writing more, adding more guest bloggers, and getting the word out to more readers. But what really caught my attention is the growth the site has experienced, especially this month.

January 2012 traffic is up on the Daily Boater by 134% over January of 2011, and unique visitors have increased for the same period by a whopping 167%. 

Admittedly, the gross traffic numbers are not huge, but they have been increasing each year since I started the Daily Boater with my first post on the 4th of July, 2006. In fact, 2011 as a whole saw a 119% increase in unique visitors over 2010, and unique visitors increased by 140% for the year. 2010 numbers were higher than 2009, and so on.

Keep in mind that these numbers do not include the thousands of people that read Daily Boater articles in newsletters that come to their email, or on FaceBook, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn.  Or the people that read the Daily Boater articles that are syndicated on, or so many other sites that grab our RSS feed and republish with (and sometimes without) our permission.

Bottom line, if you have products or services to promote to the boating community, you need to be advertising on the Daily Boater. Contact me if you want to get involved.