See From the Sea: A smartphone app using Google Maps technology is helping boaters get where they want to go

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Interested in taking your pleasure craft out for a night on the town? Or perhaps you’re looking for a marina with ample slip space to dock your vessel or to gas up your engine? There’s a new app available for South Florida boaters.

It’s called Waterway View and it’s a collaboration between the Marine Industries Association of South Florida and a Google Maps Street View provider using the technology to map the entire Intracoastal Waterway, from Jupiter to Miami, including the New River in Fort Lauderdale as well as the Miami River in Miami. “That’s about 120 miles of waterway,” says Jim Hilker, CEO of PlacesMobile, who developed the program. “My company has been sanctioned by Google Street View since 2012. Google gave us permission to create our own unique creative project.”

Waterway View brings Google Street View imaging technology onto inland and coastal waterways. Hilker says he has brought that same technology to more than 60 associations in the United States and Canada. “I reached out to MIASF and they said, ‘Let’s team up.’ ”

Hilker says that, in the past, others have tried similar ventures but did not meet with much success. “You have to get a really good boat and camera. We had to learn a lot as we went along,” he says. “Now we’ve got a system. I own the trademark on Waterway View.”

Hilker says the business community has been receptive toward Waterway View and its potential. “It’s being financially supported by businesses who want to advertise,” he says. “People looking at the app can see a view of a restaurant from the water as well as inside in a virtual tour. People on boats are always looking for places they can take their boat right up to.”

Waterway View will make it easier for boaters to find restaurants, gas and marinas, says Chuck Cashman, MarineMax’s chief revenue officer. “It’ll enhance the boating experience.” MarineMax donated a 33-foot Boston Whaler to photograph and film the waterways. “We provided the personnel and the boat.”

Hilker says Waterway View is not designed to be a navigational tool. “It’s all about visuals,” he says. “That’s what it comes down to. You can make a decision before you drive your boat there.”

Hilker—who is not a boater, by the way—says his goal is to launch Waterway View nationwide.

Phil Purcell, CEO and president of the marine industries association, says Waterway View provides boaters a valuable tool to use. “It’s not just for the marine industry; it’s for everybody,” he says.

Waterway View is available on the Apple App Store and Google Play. ♦

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Drew Limsky

Drew Limsky



Drew Limsky joined Lifestyle Media Group in August 2020 as Editor-in-Chief of South Florida Business & Wealth. His first issue of SFBW, October 2020, heralded a reimagined structure, with new content categories and a slew of fresh visual themes. “As sort of a cross between Forbes and Robb Report, with a dash of GQ and Vogue,” Limsky says, “SFBW reflects South Florida’s increasingly sophisticated and dynamic business and cultural landscape.”

Limsky, an avid traveler, swimmer and film buff who holds a law degree and Ph.D. from New York University, likes to say, “I’m a doctor, but I can’t operate—except on your brand.” He wrote his dissertation on the nonfiction work of Joan Didion. Prior to that, Limsky received his B.A. in English, summa cum laude, from Emory University and earned his M.A. in literature at American University in connection with a Masters Scholar Award fellowship.

Limsky came to SFBW at the apex of a storied career in journalism and publishing that includes six previous lead editorial roles, including for some of the world’s best-known brands. He served as global editor-in-chief of Lexus magazine, founding editor-in-chief of custom lifestyle magazines for Cadillac and Holland America Line, and was the founding editor-in-chief of Modern Luxury Interiors South Florida. He also was the executive editor for B2B magazines for Acura and Honda Financial Services, and he served as travel editor for Conde Nast. Magazines under Limsky’s editorship have garnered more than 75 industry awards.

He has also written for many of the country’s top newspapers and magazines, including The New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Miami Herald, Boston Globe, USA Today, Worth, Robb Report, Afar, Time Out New York, National Geographic Traveler, Men’s Journal, Ritz-Carlton, Elite Traveler, Florida Design, Metropolis and Architectural Digest Mexico. His other clients have included Four Seasons, Acqualina Resort & Residences, Yahoo!, American Airlines, Wynn, Douglas Elliman and Corcoran. As an adjunct assistant professor, Limsky has taught journalism, film and creative writing at the City University of New York, Pace University, American University and other colleges.