From its original beginnings in 1947 as a single small booklet covering the Waterways from Maine to Miami, Waterway Guide has grown to encompass virtually all the navigable cruising areas along the East Coast, Gulf Coast and Great Lakes, including the interconnecting waters that make up the Great Loop Cruise.
Throughout the years one thing has always remained constant: the commitment to providing the most accurate, current and usable cruising information anywhere. Along the way, Waterway Guide has built an enviable reputation as The Cruising Authority. Now with more than 3,000 annually updated pages presented in an easy-to-use and orderly mile-by-mile format, it’s no surprise that Waterway Guide remains the most popular and trusted Guide on the market.
Waterway Guide began in1948 when a 200-page Guide was printed by Marina Publishing House in Wilmington, N.C., describing places to stop along the way from New York to Florida.
The early Waterway Guide provided the standard marina and town details but it also provided detailed information regarding the liquor laws in every state along the way and a “Guest Log of the Watch” with spaces for the guests’ names, summer and winter addresses, favorite foods drinks and diversions
In 1975, a perky go-getting sales representative named Craig Dozier, joined the Guide and started breaking advertising sales records. It didn’t hurt that she and her husband Jack were avid boaters. Jack Dozier had been using Waterway Guides since the 1950s when he cruised on his father’s boat. Over the years the Doziers have logged more than 100,000 miles on ICW trips, many with their two dogs, Molly and Scooter.
In 2002, the Waterway Guide’s best salesperson and her marina- owning husband took over the business of the Waterway Guide. “I was once, very briefly, a stockbroker, and then I decided to get back on the water where my real interests lie,” said Jack Dozier. “I’ve been in the marina business for years. I now have two on Virginia’s Northern Neck, in Urbanna and Deltaville, and am involved in other marine-related ventures, including a boat brokerage and repair and restoration business. It’s been challenging, of course, but mostly it’s been a great deal of fun. Most enjoyable are all the boaters we have met over the years-the people who regularly cruise the ICW and know what they need in a guide. Craig and I wanted to give it to them.
“When we bought Waterway Guide, we moved the operations to Annapolis to be on the water and to have access to people who understood the specialized nature of our guides,” he said. “We took only the name, and hired a completely new staff, bought new hardware, software, redesigned the layout and added new Great Lakes and Bahamas guides, digitized the books, and expanded the page count over the following three years from 380 to over 500 on average.”
It has taken over 66 years, and a lot of hard work by some very dedicated people along the way, but today’s Waterway Guide comes very close to meeting the publication’s initial goal to reveal “All About All the Stops All Along the Way.” Every year Waterway Guide publishes six editions, which between them cover almost the entire eastern half of the American continent plus the Bahamas. The Doziers also launched the annual Waterway Guide Magazine and expanded the company’s website to create a clearinghouse of timely information for boaters, marine businesses and policymakers.
What would cruising be like without Waterway Guide? Today’s challenge, as Jack and Craig Dozier will testify, is to ensure that the Guide keeps pace with rapidly evolving information technology. The Waterway Guide is headquartered in Deltaville, Virginia and Jack and Craig Dozier still cruise the ICW and beyond, on their boat “Waterway Guide Lady”, moored at Dozier’s Regatta Yachting Center.