We also maintain an extremely detailed online document that we only share with those we know and who may need to get ahold of us no matter what. [More below- including the link to a sample document...]
Boaters we meet online [e.g., forums- and therefore haven't seen our boat card...] sometimes ask what information we chose to include on our boat card.
Our choices were predicated upon the intended uses and recipients [luggage/shipping tags and other boaters we choose to stay in contact with...] so keep this in mind. [i.e., What info does another boater need?...]
We also tape our cards on the inside and outside of baggage when we ship or commute [e.g., fly on airlines, etc.; often with multiple checked cargo tubs of boat stuff...]
With this in mind, we included the following info on our current boat card:
Front of card:
- Boat name and USCG documented Home Port and Country
- Not the USCG Documentation number- even though this is publicly available we feel it is just one more item a fellow boater wouldn't need or care about...
- Our logo [a graphic artist friend gifted us our beautiful logo]
- Boat email address
- Boat blog address
- Our full names- each including our personal email address and personal mobile phone number
Back of card:
- Make and model of boat
- Photo of vessel [or a watercolor in our case...]
- MMSI number [International version; i.e., FCC issued; For DSC radio coms]
- VHF/Marine SSB call sign
- HAM call sign
Future versions of our boat card will include:
Face photos of us on back. [I don't know about you, but we typically remember the boat name and not always the boater's.... photos would help others remember...]
Note we don't include mailing address info. This is not only to reduce clutter on the card, but we figure if a fellow boater wanted/needed to mail us something, they will have to contact us first- which is what we prefer. Why? Because even though we have a full time mail service address, sometimes we will arrange for shipping to our current location- bypassing that... This way we can pick and choose.
We also maintain a very detailed "How to contact us" document that we share with select individuals and SAR Authorities via secure, online, controlled access. [We also have printed and PDF versions, but prefer you check the online version for changes before using when possible...]
That document includes extreme details including all mobile phone numbers [including Int'l when outside the US]; satellite phone contact methods and procedures; shipping and mailing addresses; all vessel info for SAR [Search and Rescue], etc. [That document is now 5 pages long with the first page being the short version of all contact info... It contains extreme detail- a how to document really- for everyone including the technically challenged amongst our friends and family...]
Here is a SAMPLE version of our contact document. [All of our personal contact information is obfuscated to help protect us from internet villians... All procedures are accurate as of the revision date on the document.]
How and where to have boat cards designed and printed?
We received great service from Vista Print online, and will use them next time as well. They are a one-stop-shop; design your card and receive a box in the mail.
We designed our own card [i.e., we didn't use their fill in the blank templates...] using their online system [and you can use Pantone #s for color if you are geeky...] and had them printed on heavy, waterproof card stock for cheap. [~US$33 for 500 cards + $10 shipping to Alaska in early 2015...]