Boat Cards [and sharing contact info...]

Boats are one place where the old fashioned 'business card' has use and appeal. This is partly because as travelers, we don't always have internet access when we meet someone we would like to exchange contact information with.

We also maintain an extremely detailed online document that we only share with those we know and who may need to get ahold of us no matter what. [More below- including the link to a sample document...]

Boaters we meet online [e.g., forums- and therefore haven't seen our boat card...] sometimes ask what information we chose to include on our boat card. 

Our choices were predicated upon the intended uses and recipients [luggage/shipping tags and other boaters we choose to stay in contact with...] so keep this in mind. [i.e., What info does another boater need?...]

We also tape our cards on the inside and outside of baggage when we ship or commute [e.g., fly on airlines, etc.; often with multiple checked cargo tubs of boat stuff...]

With this in mind, we included the following info on our current boat card:

Front of card:
  • Boat name and USCG documented Home Port and Country 
    • Not the USCG Documentation number- even though this is publicly available we feel it is just one more item a fellow boater wouldn't need or care about...
  • Our logo [a graphic artist friend gifted us our beautiful logo]
  • Boat email address
  • Boat blog address
  • Our full names- each including our personal email address and personal mobile phone number

Back of card:
  • Make and model of boat
  • Photo of vessel [or a watercolor in our case...]
  • MMSI number [International version; i.e., FCC issued; For DSC radio coms]
  • VHF/Marine SSB call sign
  • HAM call sign

Future versions of our boat card will include:

Face photos of us on back. [I don't know about you, but we typically remember the boat name and not always the boater's.... photos would help others remember...]

Note we don't include mailing address info. This is not only to reduce clutter on the card, but we figure if a fellow boater wanted/needed to mail us something, they will have to contact us first- which is what we prefer. Why?  Because even though we have a full time mail service address, sometimes we will arrange for shipping to our current location- bypassing that... This way we can pick and choose.

We also maintain a very detailed "How to contact us" document that we share with select individuals and SAR Authorities via secure, online, controlled access. [We also have printed and PDF versions, but prefer you check the online version for changes before using when possible...]

That document includes extreme details including all mobile phone numbers [including Int'l when outside the US]; satellite phone contact methods and procedures; shipping and mailing addresses; all vessel info for SAR [Search and Rescue], etc. [That document is now 5 pages long with the first page being the short version of all contact info... It contains extreme detail- a how to document really- for everyone including the technically challenged amongst our friends and family...]

Here is a SAMPLE version of our contact document. [All of our personal contact information is obfuscated to help protect us from internet villians... All procedures are accurate as of the revision date on the document.]

How and where to have boat cards designed and printed?

We received great service from Vista Print online, and will use them next time as well. They are a one-stop-shop; design your card and receive a box in the mail. 

We designed our own card [i.e., we didn't use their fill in the blank templates...] using their online system [and you can use Pantone #s for color if you are geeky...] and had them printed on heavy, waterproof card stock for cheap. [~US$33 for 500 cards + $10 shipping to Alaska in early 2015...]

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