Boat Club Membership Costs: Pricing, Benefits, and More

While some believe boat club membership costs are high, the average cost of a boat is $60,000 to $70,000 and that doesn't include the yearly cost of upkeep, accessories, transportation, storage, and licensing.

This is a costly investment if you aren't even sure if you want to commit significant amounts of time and effort into boating. This article will explain why you should join a boat club and how it can even save you money in the long run.

What Is a Boat Club?

A boat club is a private business that owns a fleet of boats. They allow boaters of varying skill levels to join their club and then offer them the use of their boats for a certain fee and under certain rules.

For the majority of members, a boat club is an alternative means of enjoying boating without having to own a boat themselves. Before considering whether you should join a boat club, it's important to understand how they work.

What a Boat Club Isn't

Some boaters assume a boat club is similar to renting or sharing a boat. However, this isn't correct since the boat club owns and maintains each boat. They're fully responsible for the boat and only allow members to use them.

Depending on the number of boat club members, it's important to know how to schedule. A boat club can't guarantee boat access last minute and some may require advanced booking.

How to Schedule

Each boat club has its own scheduling system and scheduling requirements. Some facilities may require you to call to book while others have an online portal available for members to make reservations.

At Freedom Boat Club, we offer an online member dashboard through our website. When you're ready to make your reservation, you can simply log in to the system and select your preferred date, vessel, and time slot. 

When to Schedule

While boat clubs work hard to keep an accurate schedule, the dates and available vessels can fill up quickly. Once you know when you want to go boating, you should make your reservation to secure your vessel.

Our scheduling system at Freedom Boat Club allows you to make reservations up to six months in advance. Once you schedule within this timeframe, your booking is guaranteed. 

Who Can Go With You

Boating can make a relaxing solitary activity, however many boat clubs understand that members prefer to share the experience. For this reason, they allow you to bring any guests you want such as family, friends, or business associates.

Some boat clubs, such as Freedom Boat Club, allow you to bring your furry companions on board with you.

It's important to remember to factor in the capacity of your chosen vessel. Just because there are no requirements as far as who you bring with you, there are limits on how many people can be on board at one time.

Boat Club Membership Benefits

The reason why boat clubs are so popular is due to all of the different boat club membership benefits. When compared with owning or renting a boat, boat clubs offer much more ease and peace of mind. 

Saves You Money

When it comes down to the final numbers, the decision to join a boat club can result in significant savings, especially when compared to boat ownership. This is due to a number of factors including upkeep and more.

When you buy a boat, you immediately have additional expenses to consider such as licensing, registration, equipment, and storage. Since the boat club owns the boat, they take care of these finances as part of the boat club cost.

Since everyone has to pay for the boat club membership cost, you aren't stuck with these ever-accumulating costs. You also aren't financially responsible for any repairs or maintenance, which can add up quickly. 

Try Before You Buy

If you're contemplating boat ownership, fractional ownership, or leasing, you should join a boat club. Getting the experience of a boat club allows you to test out boating before fully investing, which can save new boaters a lot of money.

When a new boater joins a boat club, they might decide it's not the hobby for them. They might also realize they don't have the time necessary to take care of a boat.

If they realize this while owning a boat club membership, they aren't out the cost of the boat and all of the other expenses. They also don't have to deal with the hassle of selling their boat to get out of boat ownership.

Different Models Available

One of the benefits of a boat club is the number of different boats included in the boat club cost. Many boat clubs offer a wide variety of boating types from speedboats to flatboats and more. This can be ideal for new boaters.

While you can learn a lot about boats from research, being able to see, operate, and fully experience a boat is the best way to know if you like it. Once you've decided that you'd like to own a boat, this can allow you to try different boats before deciding which boat to get.

More Freedom

You get more freedom from a boat club because you can book different models. You're not limited to the benefits and detriments of one type of boat. A small fishing boat may be great for a quick solo trip, but not for a large family outing.

If you travel, it may not always be convenient to take your boat with you. Some boat clubs have franchises around the country. This can make it easy to use a boat while you travel without having to worry about boat transport.

Less Responsibility

Because the boat club owns each and every boat, they take responsibility for boat upkeep, maintenance, and security. That means when winter comes around, you don't have to worry about winterization or boat storage.

The boat club also keeps the boat's mechanical and electrical components in top shape. If something starts to wear down or becomes damaged, they're responsible for having it repaired.

Plus, the repair won't hinder your boating experience. If you owned the boat, you may not be able to use it until the repair is made. With a boat club, you can simply select another boat. 

Easier Experience

Getting a boat ready for a boating trip is often an involved and tedious process. You have to perform a boat check, be sure to pack all of the equipment you need, as well as transporting and launching the boat.

With a boat club, the boat is often ready for use in the marina. You don't need to inspect the boat or perform last-minute repairs before it's ready to go. The entire experience is much easier than if you owned the boat.

Boat Club Membership Detriments

Even though there are many boat club membership benefits, there are also some detriments worth considering. While many believe the benefits far outweigh these detriments, it's still important to be aware of them to decide for yourself.

There May Be a Waitlist

Because boat clubs such as the Freedom Boat Club are so popular, there may be a waitlist to join. Boat clubs do this to balance booking availability. When there are too many members, there are fewer available reservation slots per person.

In order to ensure everyone gets the most out of the boat club membership cost, boat clubs sometimes have to limit the number of members they accept at one time. If there is a waitlist, we recommend getting on it early to reserve your spot.

You Don't Own the Boat

You don't own the boat or have any rights to the boat when you pay the boat club membership cost. While this means you don't have the responsibilities of boat ownership, it also means that you don't have the same freedoms as a boat owner.

You can't make any permanent changes to the boat such as cosmetic changes or upgrades to existing equipment. This can be frustrating for some people as they feel restricted in their boating experience.

Last-Minute Trips Can Be Challenging

Some last-minute trips might be difficult for a boat club to accommodate. You are unlikely to receive a guarantee that a boat will be available. In many cases, a boat won't be available, especially during peak season.

Booking well in advance is the best way to avoid this from happening, but sometimes last-minute boating opportunities pop up that you can't partake in. If you tend to be a last-minute sort of person, we recommend booking several slots ahead of time.

Some Restrictions May Apply

Each boating club is different as far as terms and conditions are concerned. For example, there are limits as far as how long you can take a boat out. This can impact how far away from the marina you can travel.

This also means that you have to book a specific timeframe, so you may be limited to how early you start or how late you can stay out. 

Who Can Join a Boat Club?

If you've decided that you want to join a boat club, all you have to do is sign up. Anyone over 21 years old with any level of boating experience is welcome.

Once you join, you'll need to obtain a boater's license and complete a boater's safety course (where applicable). At Freedom Boat Club, we offer one-on-one training included in your boat membership cost. 

Boat Club Membership Costs

There are different options as far as boat club cost goes based on when and how you want to use your membership. Some boat clubs offer the option for weekday-only memberships or any-day memberships.

As the name suggests, weekday memberships allow boaters to reserve vessels Monday through Friday only. These tend to be available at a lower cost given the decrease in demand on these days.

Any-day memberships allow boaters to reserve vessels 7 days per week. This is the most flexible membership available.

Payments and Dues

Regardless of the type of membership you choose, you'll be required to pay your fees. These fees include a one-time membership fee that is valid for as long as you want to be a part of the boat club.

Then, you'll need to pay monthly dues, which are used to maintain the club and the vessels among other expenses. The cost of these fees depends on the type of membership and any current promotions. 

How to Join a Boat Club

Joining a boat club is easy and often only requires you to provide basic information and complete the necessary safety courses. After you join, you'll receive your on-the-water training to help build your confidence with the boat club's system.

This is great for new boaters to build their skills as well as for experienced boaters to get a brief refresher course. It helps make everyone safer.

What to Know About Freedom Boat Club

Freedom Boat Club is one of the best boat clubs you can join due to our flexibility. We accept boaters at any skill level, allow you to have up to 4 reservations at any time, and have multiple franchises across the U.S.

The Freedom Boat Club was founded in 1989, so we've had plenty of time to learn how to offer the best boating experience to our members. This is why we take care of everything you need. You just need to show up and head out.

Join a Boat Club Near You

With the above boat club guide, you should be ready to join a boat club near you. Whether you want to try boating for the first time or just want to enjoy an easy boating experience, there are many benefits to joining a club.

Join Freedom Boat Club today to start enjoying the best boating experience. 

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