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New online coupon site offers discounts for boating community

Posted by Meghan Walker on March 28th, 2012

Move over, Groupon: a new coupon website has cropped up recently, geared at delivering deals for the boating community. It’s called BoatPop, and this week, they’re offering 75 percent off a boat haulout at Seaview Boatyard in Ballard.

Screen shot from BoatPop’s website

BoatPop was started just over a month ago by John Thorburn with the Northwest Marine Trade Association (NMTA) and the creators of Three Sheets Northwest, Marty McOmber and Deborah Bach. Thorburn, who also works to produce the Seattle Boat Show, saw an opportunity to serve the boating community year-round. By using a format similar to Groupon, Living Social and other daily deal sites, and reaching out to businesses that serve boaters, Thorburn secures one great deal a week. He says the NMTA works as a sort of chamber of commerce for boating companies, so it’s a great resource for finding businesses to participate. Past deals include a 12-day chartered boat trip to Alaska and moorage, both of which sold out.

Three Sheets Northwest, a local news site for the boating world, is run by McOmber and Bach, former newspaper writers. They came up with an idea for a coupon site for boaters around the same time as Thorburn, so they decided to team up. McOmber says they handle the technical side of setting up a coupon website, and they do the writing for the ads. Also, with their blog, they’re able to advertise each deal to their large audience.

Thorburn says they have subscribers in the tens of thousands, and that’s just since their February 14 start. The group hopes to market to other areas; Thorburn says they’ve had calls from boaters in British Columbia, Oregon, and even Minnesota who are interested in having BoatPop in their communities. And, it won’t just be for people who own boats; he says he hopes to offer deals like sailing lessons, and other deals for new boaters.

McOmber says it’s great because it’s a different way of serving the community. “A lot of people who have boats are willing to make sacrifices for the lifestyle,” he says. He sees BoatPop as, “giving them an option to save a few bucks on doing what they love to do.”

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