We’ve always found our boat buddies on the go. We’ll enter an anchorage, share a beverage with the adults, kids go off to play and the rest is history. Learning how to find a boat buddy doesn’t take long!
Failing a meeting in an anchorage, there are so many online resources to help you find boat buddies.
My friends Ansley and Sarah met online before they met in person. They discussed buddy boating over a Facebook chat. I think they might have met in the Kids4Sail Facebook Group. When you have children you look for boats with similar aged kids. And then you find out where they are, where they’re going and how you can get the kids together!
Another fantastic online resource on how to find a buddy boat is the social website NoForeignLand.com. It’s the FaceBook for Sailors. The site owners Steve and Helena have created such a valuable FREE service for the boating community. Simon, Sienna and I recently met Steve and Helena during a cruiser sundowners social on the beach in Bequia, an island in St Vincent & the Grenadines.
The lovely couple walked us through their sailor’s social platform and I was immediately sold on the value.
I asked Steve if he wouldn’t mind writing a guest post for me to share with you. Read the article Steve wrote below, go check out NoForeignLand.com, register yourself, find Britican to follow and we’ll follow you back.
It seemed like a good idea at the time
Like most ideas, it’s hard to pinpoint exactly what inspired it. It was that time of year when we were planning to leave our winter marina in Sicily. We were talking to other boats to get an idea for what places we might visit, and who we might meet up with again in the summer months.
That’s when this particular idea struck: wouldn’t it be great if we could get live updates on where our friends were while we were out sailing? We knew for a fact that many boats would be in the same cruising area, but without knowing where they were on any given day or the direction in which they were headed, it was likely that our paths might not cross again until the following winter.
The first version of NOFOREIGNLAND was a simple Google Map which allowed us to see where a handful of other boats were.
We encouraged our friends to add their boats to the map, and they, in turn, asked other boats in the marina to join in. By the time we set sail, there were about seventy boats registered.
As they headed out for their summer cruise, each boat’s journey drew a red line across the map. The resulting explosion of red lines headed north to Sardinia and Corsica, east to Greece and Croatia, west to the Balearics, and south to Malta and Tunisia.
That summer in Greece we could check where our friends were, and we had a great time meeting up with them and spending time sailing together.
On return to our wintering base, it became quite clear that we were not the only ones that had found the site useful, so we decided it would be fun to make it publicly available for any boats to join. Since we made that decision, hundreds of boats have joined NOFOREIGNLAND, and the site has grown more quickly than we ever imagined.
Keeping track of it all
We’re currently at anchor in Antigua (it’s a tough life), and as I look on NOFOREIGNLAND, there are no fewer than eleven boats registered that are anchored around us: there are some we know and have been buddy boating with, quite incredibly no fewer than four are friends from back in Sicily who we’ve met up with after completing Atlantic crossings, and the other boats around us we’ve not yet met. So, given that there are so many boats on the map now, how can you determine which ones are of interest to you?
Follow my boat – how to find a buddy boat
The simplest way to keep track of a friend’s boat is to “follow” it. Just click on the heart-shaped Follow button and you’re done. Your activity feed will then start to fill with stories related to their boat: they published a new blog article, shared a YouTube video, they added a new place or reviewed a place shown on the map, or they have sailed somewhere new. Importantly for staying in touch, whenever a boat moves you will be notified and shown the distance of that boat from yours:
Ok, so now you know that they’re on the move and where they are but are they heading in the same direction as you? Does it look like your wakes will cross any time soon?
You can answer these questions by examining their recent movement and looking at the direction of their track on the map. Remember those red lines that exploded from Sicily? Well, rather than having all the boats scribbling all over the map, you can now selectively show journeys for individual boats, and easily see the direction in which they are heading:
If you want to contact them, then click on the Chat button and send them a message. If they miss it, they’ll be sent an email letting them know that they have a message from you.
How to find a buddy boat on the map
If you’ve used our site for a while and haven’t discovered filters yet, then you’re really missing out.
There’s a lot of data on the map. Users of our site have added thousands of place markers. Over 1500 boats have now joined our community and can all be seen moving around. In order to declutter, and make things easier to find, you can select what’s shown, and what’s not shown using filters.
So for example, to identify where your friends are, click on the Filters button. The filter button is the one with the funnel icon, second from the top on the right side of the map. Then turn off all place markers, and filter the boats to show just the ones you are following. You’ll then see no place markers and only the boats you are following will be displayed.
These are our friends in and around the Caribbean, you can see the filter settings on the left:
Make new friends and how to find a buddy boat
You can use the Chat button to make contact with any boat. We sometimes use it to contact boats on a similar route to ask specific questions about anchorages or places they’ve visited ahead of us.
If sometime later we see them at anchor we’ll drop by to say hello and thank them for their advice. In typical cruiser style, this can often take a lot longer than five minutes. It will most likely involve food and drinks too.
A great way to meet other boats is to join a group. Our groups are quite different from ones you might be used to on sites like Facebook.
A NOFOREIGNLAND group allows boats with common interests to get together and exchange simple messages. But the key difference is that by joining a group you can find other group members on the map using filters.
Boat groups have proven to be one of the most popular features we’ve added to the site. We continually get feedback from cruisers we meet telling us how they’ve met many other boats along the way using them.
There are dozens of different groups ranging from boats with kids on board that want to play together (Kids4sail), to those that want to exchange cultures for making yoghurt (Lynta’s Yogurt Culture).
This video illustrates how easy it is to join the Kids4Sail group (how to find a buddy boat), and locate other members:
What if I don’t have a boat?
You don’t need to have a boat to join the NOFOREIGNLAND community. We have thousands of visitors each month that come to read blog articles published by our boats and to explore the information and read the reviews our community contributes to the places they have found.
Can friends and family follow our boat?
Yes they can. They just need to click the Follow button on your boat page to get updates. You can invite them to follow your boat too. This is done by using the Share button at the top of your boat page.
If you’re planning a longer journey, perhaps an ocean crossing, and will be offline for a while, then you might consider configuring your satellite tracker, phone or SSB radio to automatically update your position on the map, keeping everyone up to date on your progress.
Is that awesome or what?!
The great thing about the NoForeignLand platform is that it’s free; Steve and Helena hate sites that are cluttered with ads. Like us at Britican they have a Patreon account. This enables those that see value to contribute to the continuation and development of the service. Check out NoForiegnLand.com and check us out on the site at: NoForeignLand.com/Britican
Make sure to follow us and we’ll follow you back 😉
Other Articles/Videos About Buddy Boating
- The Top 10 Benefits To Sailing With A Buddy Boat
- 5 Reasons To Find A Buddy Boat
- Boat Life With Boat Buddies (Video)
- Also…make sure to find us on: NoForeignLand.com/Britican