So what do we do?
Well, for a number of years, we kept a Post Office Box (contact your local US Post Office). This worked OK - it was close to my work. But there were problems with the PO Box solution. It was ideal for receiving packages... as long as they were shipped by USPS. But if the shipper used FedEx, UPS, DHL, truck freight - any method other than USPS - it most certainly did not work. And there are certain types of correspondence for which a PO Box is just not acceptable - for which a street address is required.
And then the ideal solution presented itself: Angela, aboard s/v Ghost across the dock from us, started up a mailing service business. Dockside Solutions has a street address, accepts (and signs for!) packages from FedEx, UPS, DHL, truck freight... and USPS. Angela maintains mailboxes distributed throughout the mile-long marina, and even sends us email when we have mail or a package waiting (You've got mail!). Bonus: Dockside Solutions' address (and therefore our address) is listed as a business address, which means a reduction in some shipping costs.
Dockside Solutions is the perfect answer for our situation, but we use only a portion of the services that Angela offers. Because she is a liveaboard herself, Angela understands the services boaters and cruisers need. Here's a partial list that Dockside Solutions provides:
- Mail forwarding. If you like, she will also aggregate your mail and bulk ship it (excluding "junk" mail, as you define it).
- Electronic mailbox: She will open your mail, scan it, and deposit it at a secure online dropbox site. This, of course eliminates a lot of delay, especially if you are in a remote location.
- Bill paying
- Check deposits
- ...And more
I guess this sounds like a plug. And well, it is. Angela is a wonderful person, and her business reflects this. For us, Dockside Solutions is the perfect answer to the question, "How do boaters get their mail?"