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There have been a number of times where we have been at boat shows or meeting people and talking about our life. Back in the early days, we wished we had an easier way to exchange information other than just writing down emails on a spare scrap of paper. Boat cards sound pretty common in the cruising community as a way to keep names/blogs/emails all straight and are a nice touch when at social events.
Here are some thoughts on what to put on your boat cards.
Boat & Crew Names
Pretty obvious here. You want people to remember these things, at a bare minimum.
Boat Manufacturer and Model
I am surprised by how many boats have this information on it. If you don’t have a photo of your boat on the card (we don’t) it makes it easier for people to remember your boat specifically.
This is the best contact info for any cruiser. Amy and I have both of our email addresses on the card, so people can get in touch with us individually.
You’ll have to decide if putting your offshore email (from a satellite phone or SSB) is right for you. Generally, the people we hand boat cards out to understand the limitations of offshore emails, but if you don’t want someone to “forget” and email you some lolcatz, you might want to leave it off.
Some people have photos of the boat or crew on their boat cards. I like the idea of the crew photos, as that way you can put a face to the name!
Why would you put your MMSI on the boat card? Digital Select Calling (DSC) on the VHF is a little-known trick. You can use a boat’s MMSI number to “call” their VHF, and then transfer to an open channel. A cool trick, but not something we use often.
We don’t have our phone numbers on our boat cards, although many people do. Some people also include their satellite phone number. I doubt that would lead to a lot of accidental calls as calling a satellite phone is not simple. However, a good number of cruisers nowadays have an Iridium Go, and text messaging another Iridium Go for free while on passage is a lot of fun!
If you are cruising internationally, include your What’s App number, which is probably the same as your cell phone number. You can simply put WA followed by your number. One thing I’ve seen, which is very cool, is a line that says “local number:________” to be filled in before giving out your card. If you frequently get a local sim with talk and text, this is a great idea.
One thing we are quite proud of is the logo we’ve come up with for our boat and we wanted that to feature rather prominently. For those who are curious, we used a site called 99designs.com to come up with our logo. It’s a great concept that allows you to post a “contest” and graphic designers submit their concepts. You can work with them and refine everything until you get something you love.
My brother helped out with the final design and layout of the cards, and we used Overnightprints.com for the order. We’ve used them before for our business cards and once again everything came out great.