A boat club offers unlimited access to a fleet of boats for a flat monthly membership fee. No need to worry about all the costs and hassles associated with owning a boat; the boat club does it all for you: maintenance, slip fees, seasonal hauling and storage, insurance, cleaning, and more. You get the convenience of simply going to the marina and heading out on the water.
The cost of joining a boat club varies by location, but a rough estimate might be that you would pay a $5,000 initiation fee and then $400/month. This gives you the ability to use their boats in your local marina, and also the boats at all their other locations. Many boat clubs also have member-only social gatherings, making it a good way to meet other boaters.
Don’t get a boat club confused with a yacht club (sometimes known as a “sailing club”). A yacht club is like an exclusive country club, with a clubhouse and an attached bar/care/restaurant where members socialize. Yacht clubs also host regattas and races. Unlike a boat club, they are not in the business of rental/sharing boats.
There are several drawbacks to using a boat club instead of buying your own boat. Many clubs only allow you to take the boats out from 9am to 5pm, and not all boats allow fishing. It also can be hard to get reservations at peak times (weekends and holidays).
Some of the largest boat clubs include::
Freedom Boat Club – Over 285 locations in the USA, Canada, and France.
Carefree Boat Club – Around 100 locations in the USA, Canada, British Virgin Islands, Panama, and Philippines.
Your Boat Club -Minnesota, Illinois, and Wisconsin.
Sovereign Boat Club – Florida only.
Dream Boat Club -France, Sweden, UK, and Spain.
Nautical Boat Club – Georgia, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Wisconsin.
Destination Boat Clubs – Florida only.
Sailtime – 35 locations across the United States.
With many of these companies, each location is an independent franchise, so the level of service can vary greatly. Make sure to look up reviews for your specific location before joining.