Food Delivery for Yachts is Here - Are We Ready for 'Uber Eats for Boats'?
As if being on a yacht wasn't a pleasurable experience already, now you can get your groceries delivered right to your swim platform.
A new mobile app in the Caribbean called Appel à Tous will deliver provisions directly to you - either at the dock or at anchor. They'll even reach you by paddleboard.
The premise behind Appel à Tous is to connect boat owners with local food producers. Yacht owners who place orders on the app receive items from local producers wherever possible, meaning everything from fresh fruit to locally baked bread supports the local economy while giving boaters first-rate provisions for their next outing.
The founders say they'll make the delivery to any local docks, or they'll paddle out to you if you're moored at a buoy. Groceries are guaranteed to be delivered within hours of making an order on the app.
The initial launch took place in November in Martinique. The next step is a Caribbean-wide expansion that's already in the works. Martinique is in the center of the Caribbean island chain with Dominica, Guadeloupe, and Antigua to its north, and St. Lucia, St. Vincent & The Grenadines, and Trinidad and Tobago to the south.
“In simple terms, our app allows sailors to order all the products they need, with express delivery to any boat — whether moored at the pier or at the buoy,” said Appel à Tous co-founder Zoe Adamowicz in an interview with Marine Industry UK.
“We have met with a very warm welcome among sailors in Martinique. I have been sailing in the Caribbean for years and have always dreamed of a service like this.”
The Caribbean is one of the world's most popular yachting destinations, for obvious reasons, but despite its nautical affluence there are surprisingly few terrestrial options for provisioning. There are only a few major ports and most large yachts and sailboats have to moor at buoys far from shore. To get inland they need both a tender to reach the nearest marina, and transportation to reach grocery stores or other supply shops. With most transportation options being small cars, and most tenders being small dinghies, it means boaters headed for a re-supply usually have limited space and a low payload.
Being of the travel constraints across the small island chain, Appel à Tous reduces the logistical problems by simply bringing your order directly to you. It also allows ordering staff to travel on the mainland to acquire the best products on behalf of their customers, meaning boaters get the best options without having to scour small towns themselves.
“Human impact on the environment is one of the biggest challenges in the Caribbean. On the one hand, we are trying to promote sailing tourism, and on the other, we want to protect nature from the pernicious effects of civilization,” said co-founder Moritz Bratzke.
“At Appel à Tous, we try to offer as much local produce as possible, minimize plastic and promote organizations that protect the oceans. In a few years’ time, our goal is to create a platform that connects local producers with tourists — supporting islanders on the one hand and providing sailors with as many local flavours and authentic experiences as possible on the other.”
From a North American perspective, food services is in its infancy with respect to boating. Those who use city marinas may already have access to some services in urban centres if they're willing, and able, to access a downtown marina. However, since the majority of high-density boaters occupy rural areas or places outsides of major cities, it will be interesting to see if marinas or other businesses along coastlines adopt strategies to provide provisions to boaters who would otherwise be unable to access them.
If you're in the Caribbean and want to give it a try, you can follow Appel a Tous Provisioning on Facebook and Instagram. Check out how the app works in the video below: