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The Challenges and Triumphs of Building a Startup in the Maritime Sector

Overcoming Legacy Systems through Education

The maritime sector, characterized by its deep-rooted traditions and legacy systems, has often been resistant to rapid technological change. However, Dockwa, with its innovative approach, has managed to carve a niche for itself in this challenging landscape. Drawing from a conversation with Matt Fredette, co-founder of Dockwa, this article delves into the legacy challenges of the maritime sector and how education became a pivotal tool in Dockwa’s journey.


The maritime world, steeped in history and tradition, presents a unique set of challenges for modern startups. While the vastness of the seas remains unchanged, the industry’s legacy systems and traditional mindsets often act as barriers to innovation. Enter Dockwa, a beacon of change in this vast expanse.

The Legacy Challenge in the Maritime Sector

For decades, the maritime sector has relied on legacy systems, especially in the realm of boat reservations. These outdated systems, often devoid of direct customer connectivity, have been a significant pain point for boaters and marinas alike. The lack of modernization not only led to inefficiencies but also hindered the overall user experience. This reliance on old systems, combined with a general resistance to change, made the maritime industry a challenging terrain for startups.

Dockwa’s Genesis: A Response to Legacy Systems

Matt Fredette’s personal experiences, especially a trip to Block Island, highlighted the inefficiencies of these legacy systems. Recognizing the gap, Matt, along with his team, envisioned Dockwa as a solution to streamline the convoluted boat reservation process, aiming to replace outdated methods with a more efficient and user-friendly approach.

Education: The Bridge to Overcome Resistance

While introducing an innovative solution was essential, Dockwa realized that to truly make an impact, they needed to educate their target audience. This meant not only showcasing the benefits of their platform but also addressing the apprehensions associated with transitioning from legacy systems.

By organizing workshops, offering hands-on training, and providing continuous support, Dockwa embarked on an educational journey to bridge the gap between tradition and innovation. This educational approach was instrumental in dispelling myths, addressing concerns, and showcasing the tangible benefits of modernization.

The Triumphs of Dockwa: A Testament to the Power of Education

Dockwa’s success is not just a result of its innovative features but also its commitment to educating its user base. By addressing the core issues and offering solutions through education, Dockwa managed to gain the trust and confidence of marinas and boaters, leading to its widespread adoption.

Lessons for Maritime Startups: Embracing Education

Dockwa’s journey underscores the importance of education in driving change, especially in sectors steeped in tradition. For maritime startups, the key lies in understanding the legacy challenges, offering innovative solutions, and complementing these solutions with robust educational initiatives.


Dockwa’s legacy in the maritime sector is a testament to the power of innovation, complemented by education. In an industry characterized by its deep-rooted traditions, Dockwa stands as a beacon of change, highlighting the potential that awaits those willing to educate and innovate.

Merrill Charette

Brought to you by 

SHIPSHAPE.PRO – Innovative platform that bridges the gap in marine repair

MIDA.PRO – Marine Industry Digital Agency – Web dev / Marketing