Now that we have made your life easier, want to know more about us?
We build tools and offer personalized support to make our users boating lives, easier, safer and more affordable.
It all started with a question in early June, 2012, in Dustin’s old apartment in Chicago. It should have been a simple question–After all, John had been boating for 20-odd years. He’d taught sailing for 5, led his college sailing team, and was literally planning a sailing trip to the Caribbean–But it wasn’t.
9 months and more than 6,000 miles later John had a better answer, though we had begun to question how the world was being ‘forever changed’ by technology. If that was true, then why did we need to make seemingly every mistakes ourselves? We were four strapping(ish) young adults, all reasonably fit, intelligent, motivated and capable. Yet in all the wide reaches of the internet, we could rarely find the information we really needed. We therefore spent countless hours engaged in trial and error. It was the method we employed to respond to engine or rigging trouble. It was how we found places to stay the night, and determined what gear to use. We were fortunate someone taught us how to spear fish, or we would have trial-and-errored our way into a lot of hungry nights.
Looking for more stability, the boat was sold. We all went our separate ways and settled into entry-level jobs. John started off in IT sales for a large consulting firm and pivoted into an IT consulting and product development role (If you’re not involved in IT, you may have just felt your eyelids droop right there). Dustin entered the film industry, eventually specializing in commercials for TV and web advertisements. Every time we saw each other it was clear the old enterprising spirit was still there, not yet snuffed out by menial labor (Dustin) nor mindless repetition (also Dustin). We craved another venture, something unique, something that would make a difference.
In 2016 and early 2017 we talked a lot more about what was next. Planning a transatlantic crossing seemed a logical next step. Sadly, we watched the physical and emotional labor of putting together a team and funding fall apart after months of work. But from the ashes of that unmitigated failure, a phoenix of inspiration…bloomed?
We talked constantly about boating’s unnecessary complexities and imagined how nice it would be if someone just fixed this one small thing…and that small thing…and that one… Then it hit us, we had a chance to make a real difference. With John moving to Chicago to attend Northwestern’s Kellogg School for an MBA, we had an opportunity to give this long-brewing project a shot.
Oh yeah, and the question? “What life jacket should I buy?”
Making boating easier
There is a lot of information on the internet. Unfortunately, not all of it is good. Even more relevant, it is not all in one place. We work to solve both of these issues by building tools that give you answers specific to your circumstances and confirming our information against multiple sources whenever possible. We want our visitors, and especially members, to spend less time trying to find the right information and more time enjoying their adventures on the water.
Make Boating Safer
A large percentage of people reacted to John and Dustin’s idea for a voyage with the same mantra: “I would not do that, it’s not safe”. Boating can certainly be dangerous, but so too can driving, which after all kills nearly 40,000 people each year. Our safety focus is on three core components: training, knowledge and gear. We tend to focus on each of these elements independently to make them more easily digestible. They are interconnected, however, and we find that boating cannot be truly fun, relaxing or enjoyable if we haven’t taken the right precautions.
Make boating more affordable
“If it doesn’t last, then it’s not cheaper, it’s different.” John heard that from his father for years, but it took a while to sink in. He had to spend a decade buying things online that claimed to be “comparable to XYZ”, but never were. Having rediscovered this nugget of wisdom, John and the rest of the team want to ensure that people get not only a good price, but a good product. Each and every trip reminds us: being cheap in the store can mean being stranded on the water.
That said, references to BOAT (Break Out Another Thousand), do not come from nowhere. We believe in bringing transparent pricing to our consumers, especially regarding services like insurance and loans that have been opaque for so long.
When it comes to physical goods, we prefer working with trusted partners and sometimes buying straight from the manufacturer. We want to get a good price like anyone else. But we also want to ensure that the service, warranties and support (which are so often necessary) are there when we need them most.
Certainly not everyone who has helped us along the way, but here is our core team.
John has worked since 2013 to put together a viable website to improve and simplify boater’s lives. He founded Agent Water in 2017 after a failed Atlantic crossing attempt and before starting his MBA at Northwestern’s Kellogg School. John has spent the last year identifying and building tools to improve the lives of boaters of all stripes. John’s main role is to keep everything moving forward, and to ensure that we do not stray from our goal of making boating easier, safer and more affordable.
Director of Marketing
Dustin was part of the company’s founding in early 2017 and has written or edited nearly every word on the site. He currently is focusing his energy managing and editing the work from our researchers and contract writers, building out our social media presence and planning our advertising approach.
Grant works as a developer to make sure that everything that you see is intuitive and functional. He is developing our upcoming tools and played a major role in the evolution of our insurance comparison tool.