How Does a Yacht Club Work?

If you’re thinking of joining a yacht club, you may have some essential questions about how yacht clubs work. After all, there are more than 2,000 boating and yacht clubs around the world, and each offers specific benefits and charges unique fees.

This guide will explore how yacht clubs work and help you understand what to expect while applying to join one. You can use this information to make an educated decision about which club might work best for your budget and preferences. 

What Is a Yacht Club?

Simply put, a yacht club is an organization that allows individuals with yachts to come together and celebrate their passion for boating. That said, those that don’t own a yacht are also welcome to join.

The primary purpose of these clubs is to allow individuals of any background and socioeconomic means to learn more about operating and maintaining a yacht. Yacht clubs also provide opportunities to make social connections among like-minded people who are interested in boats, yachts, and sailing.

Importantly, yacht clubs are only one of several types of boating clubs. To fully understand how these clubs work, it’s crucial to examine these various types and the types of members they attract.

Types of Boat Clubs

There are essentially three types of boat clubs found throughout the world:

  • Yacht Clubs
  • Sailing Clubs
  • General Boat Clubs

Each club type tends to focus on a specific type of vessel and may host unique events related to those vessels. For example, general boating clubs may attract a larger crowd of interested members looking to learn more about boating.

But yacht clubs tend to cater to those with a specific interest in yachts, yachting, and yacht-related social activities.

Additionally, sailing clubs are best-suited for those who enjoy sailing and individuals looking to learn more about operating sailboats. As such, each club type has a specific purpose and tends to attract diverse groups of people. 

How to Join a Yacht Club

The process of joining a yacht club is relatively straightforward. To become a yacht club member, you’ll need to:

  1. Find Yacht Clubs Near You
  2. Compare Your Options
  3. Apply for Membership
  4. Pay Membership Fees
  5. Attend Yacht Club Events

Naturally, the first step is to locate yacht clubs within your area. If you live in a landlocked region, this may be challenging. Still, you may be able to find nearby clubs by searching your location name (followed by the term ‘yacht club’) within your preferred search engine.

Once you’ve found a selection of local clubs from which to choose, you’ll want to take time to compare their membership benefits, expenses, and activities. Some yacht clubs are purely social, while others focus more on education and sailing lessons.

When you find a club that suits your needs and budget, you can apply for membership. Some clubs allow for fast online applications, while others require paper or in-person applications. Either way, upon acceptance you will be expected to be membership dues.

After these expenses are paid, you’ll gain access to all the perks your chosen yacht club has to offer. 

Benefits of Joining a Yacht Club

Joining a local yacht club could be a dream come true, especially if you enjoy spending time out in the water in luxurious seafaring vessels! Some of the most notable benefits of joining a yacht club include:

  • Access to social activities involving yachting
  • The opportunity to meet new people and make friends
  • The chance to learn more about yacht operation and sailing techniques
  • A sense of belonging to a community of like-minded individuals

If you own a yacht, joining a yacht club could be a smart way to lower your annual upkeep costs. After all, members of yacht clubs may experience discounted harbor and port services. Be sure to consider your chosen club’s perks before joining!

How Does a Yacht Club Work?

Potential Disadvantages of Joining a Yacht Club

While there are several benefits of joining a yacht club, it’s vital to point out that there are also a handful of potential disadvantages. Before you apply to join one of these prestigious social clubs, be sure to take a few moments to consider these drawbacks.

For example, those who join a yacht club may:

  • Be pressured to purchase a yacht
  • Spend more on membership dues than those joining a general boating club
  • Not be able to spend time on yachts whenever they please
  • Find that the social aspect of joining of the club is unsatisfactory

Remember, when you own your own yacht, you’re essentially free to do as you please with it. But if you join a yacht club and aren’t a yachting expert or yacht owner, you’re required to follow a strict set of guidelines and rules regarding yacht usage and social event attendance.

Those looking to enjoy operating a yacht at any time or day they please may not be a great fit for a general yacht club membership. However, individuals looking for a comfortable, nautical location to spend time with friends and family may enjoy a yacht club membership.

Where to Find the Best Boat Clubs

The bulk of boat clubs are found in states, nations, and regions located near the ocean. That said, you may also be able to find boat clubs near areas where there are relatively large bodies of water, including rivers and lakes.

Boat clubs, including yacht clubs, exist in multiple countries and continents around the world. To find the best boat clubs near you, you’ll want to consider your location, preferences, and budget.

Let’s briefly explore some of the top-rated boat clubs in the US, Canada, and Europe to help you discover an option that’s well-suited for your needs.

United States

There are quite a few yacht clubs located throughout the US. Some of these clubs are incredibly exclusive and are only open to those who own high-tier luxury yachts. Others are relatively open to the general public.

Some of the most exclusive yacht clubs and in the US include:

  • Boston Yacht Club
  • St. Augustine Yacht Club
  • Chicago Yacht Club
  • Naples Yacht Club
  • Newport Harbor Yacht Club
  • Tampa Yacht Club

Of course, if you’re interested in yachting but don’t own a yacht, you may want to consider joining the Freedom Boat Club. This organization offers a far more affordable and accessible entryway to yachting that includes relatively low membership fees and yachting lessons.


Those looking to go yachting in Canada may want to consider one of the many fine clubs and organizations established throughout this massive country. Some of the most notable include:

  • Gulf Yacht Club
  • Schooner Cove Yacht Club
  • Collingwood Yacht Club
  • West Vancouver Yacht Club
  • Alexandra Yacht Club

Naturally, membership fees and requirements vary from club to club. Before applying for any of these organizations, be sure to review their membership information. Doing so can save you a ton of time!


Sailing a yacht up and down the European coastline is a dream for many, but it could be a reality if you join a yacht club in Europe! That said, just as with all other clubs, each organization offers specific benefits, activities, and membership prices.

That said, some of the highest-rated European yacht clubs include:

  • Royal Cork Yacht Club – Cork, Ireland
  • Royal Thames Yacht Club – London, England
  • Yacht Club Costa Smeralda – Porto Cervo, Italy
  • Société des Régates du Havre – Le Havre, France

Final Thoughts

A yacht club works by gathering dues (also called membership fees) from members, then using those fees to fund special social events and training sessions. Yacht clubs are an excellent opportunity for nautical-minded folks to get out onto the water without having to buy a yacht.

There are thousands of yacht clubs all across the globe, and the best one for you depends on your budget, preferences, and location. Hopefully, this guide has helped you locate a club that fits your needs!