How Much Does It Cost to Be a Member of Carefree Boat Club?

Owning a boat is a lifelong dream for many. Drifting on the waves of an idyllic lake or cruising river waterways along breathtaking scenery is a great adventure to share with friends and family on board.

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How much does it cost to join Carefree Boat Club?

Members get to pay a one-time initiation fee ranging from $3,500 to $7,500. After that, each member must pay a fee ranging from $250 to $550. You should be aware of the costs before joining the Carefree Boat Club.

We spoke with staff at the Carefree Boat Clubs to learn and understand the costs. The monthly rates help with boat maintenance, like checking hull condition, replacements, and other expenses.

Boating Life With a Boat Club Membership

According to 2016 stats, 142 million Americans took advantage of either by owning or renting a water-worthy vessel and confirms our passion for watercraft entertainment.

However, enjoying a boat comes with a luxury price tag. Joining a boat club is ideal for beginning boaters and those who don’t want the hassle of the permanent expenses of boat ownership because of lacking funds or time constraints.

A boat club membership is a great solution. It allows members to live the boating dream without the commitment at ⅓ of the cost of boat ownership.

What is the Carefree Boat Club?

Not every person wants to go through the process it takes to get your own boat. However, you can still enjoy the boating experience and blast on the water. There are clubs available across the country that allow members to use their fishing boats.

A good example of such a membership club is the Carefree Boat Club, one of the most popular in the US.

The Carefree Boat Club is a boating club with over 100 locations in the US. Folks delight being members since you won’t pay maintenance or docking fees together with slip fees.

In fact, members of the Carefree Boat Club don’t even pay for cleaning costs. Carefree Boat Clubs require club membership to access the boats. Carefree Boat Club costs aren’t the same and will depend on where the specific freedom boat club is situated.

There are two main expenses to note as a member of the Carefree Boat Club. First, you must pay a one-time initiation fee to the boating club. 

After that, you pay monthly dues for your membership costs at the club.

Plus, there’s a wide variety of boats that you can choose from the different Carefree Boat Clubs. 

These clubs offer everything from fishing vessels, bowriders, pontoons, deck boats, and sailboats. The sizes of the different vessels start from 18’ to 27’.

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Costs Of Being A Member of Carefree Boat Club

Carefree Boat Club cost is one of the main issues when considering club membership. As mentioned above, the boating club has two main costs for club members.

First, you must pay a one-time initiation fee to get unlimited access and join the freedom boat club. Next, you pay a monthly fee to have unlimited usage of the boats. Membership fees vary from one location to the next. 

So, a new member can pay a one time fee ranging from $3500 to $7500.

After that, the Carefree Boat Club charges members a monthly fee ranging from $250 to $550. An international membership means you can access boating services in different states. Members get unlimited access to vessels in the different local clubs countrywide.

Being able to own a boat is not an easy task. Too many logistics come with boat ownership which causes many people to rethink the idea. 

Still, boating is a wonderful pass time, and the Carefree Boat Clubs make it easier to enjoy.

Some of the costs and fees a boat owner can incur include;  insurance, docking fees, cleaning fees, maintenance costs, boating licenses, and lessons for boating beginners. Not to mention the high initial cost you must pay as a new boat owner.

Both the cost of buying a new boat and maintaining it goes out the window with membership at the Carefree Boat Club. 

All you need is to keep up with monthly membership costs, and you can enjoy boat access and sailing. Call and check for boat availability before you plan a day of boating.

The Carefree Boat Club membership offers convenience and a chance to master boating. Folks find it easier to pay for additional training once they begin. And, as a member of a club, you have more perks than going to places that rent boats.

What is the Carefree Reciprocity Rule?

Carefree Boat Club membership means you can take part in boating without owning a boat. You pay an initial fee to join and monthly membership fees. Once you become a member of one club, you can access boats worldwide.

Simply put, the Carefree reciprocity rule means full access to clubs worldwide. So, for example, if you pay a $7000 one-time initiation fee and a $500 monthly fee in California, no one can stop you from boating in Virginia Beach, Ocean City, Canada, the British Virgin Islands, the Philippines, or Panama.

One criterion that different Carefree Boat Clubs use to determine pricing is the median income in each state. Since there are fewer members, folks in Michigan tend to pay a lower price than those in New York. 

The goal is to make boating accessible to all and not necessarily cost a fortune for members.

It’s important to contact an individual Carefree Boat Club in a specific area to find out the current cost. 

These costs can vary, and change often, so it’s better to contact them. The person you speak to will help you know the current boating costs in the area.

Benefits and Disadvantages of a Boat Club Membership

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When you join a boat membership club, you get the best of both worlds. Carefree Boat Club (CBC) started in Virginia in 2002 and has grown throughout the US and Canada, offering its members top-quality boats for sport, leisure, or fishing excursions.

Benefits of club membership:

  • No boat purchasing cost
  • Access to a variety of vessels in international locations
  • Clean, maintenance-free boating
  • Water safety training
  • Refueled and ready to use

Carefree Boat Club has expanded and offers its clients access to pontoons, sport boats, fishing boats, sailboats, and leisure crafts. Each boat is maintained and refueled, awaiting its client.

Disadvantages of club membership:

  • Potentially limited selection per location
  • Membership fee costs
  • Busy prime seasons
  • No pride of ownership

Boat people are often born near the water or have the great fortune of being introduced to boating at a young age. Owning a boat brings years of joy to fortunate families who can afford the luxury of owning and investing the time. Part time ownership allows others the same luxury.

How Does Carefree Boat Club Work?

One of the best tools to explore to validate spending on memberships is to schedule a tour of the nearest Carefree Boat Club.

Visiting the nearest marina in your hub will introduce you to the types of boats available, how unlimited boat access works for your schedule, and how a tailor-made budget can work for your family vacation needs.

A scheduled Carefree Boat Club visit will also introduce potential members to the online reservation systems and instruct and refresh them on safety guidelines.

Carefree Boat Club works on a monthly membership plan and a one-time fee for unlimited and low person per boat user ratio.


Opting to join Carefree Boat Club saves boaters not only the cost of buying the boat, but it also saves all the maintenance, docking fees, insurance, taxes, towing, winterizing, and repair costs.

Unlimited Use

Members have unlimited use of the boats at their local club marina at no additional cost. With a simple click, reserve the boat for the day or week. With a reciprocal membership, you have access to their private fleet of boats at international locations—particular caution for prime holidays; book in advance.


Whether fishing, skiing, cruising, or sailing is on the agenda for the family vacation, members have access to options ranging from 18’-27’ cruisers at selected locations.

With low person-to-boat ratios, it’s possible to access boats for spur-of-moment outings by booking online.

Members also have access to boats at their club marinas from Boston to Seattle or Montreal to the British Virgin Islands.

Boat Safety Training

Boat safety is equally important to the novice and the seasoned boater. Carefree Boat Club offers members access to experienced instructors at all locations to teach safety guides and boat handling courses.

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Location Location Location

For the membership price, Carefree Boat Club has access to marinas in prime locations throughout the US and Canada, including select international waters.

For a quick tour of their locations, whether you live near Marina Del Rey, Tarpon Springs, or Toronto, Canada, research your boat options beforehand.

The caveat here is that your membership may be specific to your location or require an upgrade to include international access. (Read the small print.)

Carefree Boat Club vs. Their Competition Club

Boat club memberships have become popular for the many reasons we have already explored. But how much does it cost? Which is the best club for you to join?

Carefree Boat Club looks slightly less expensive than its competitor, Freedom Boat Club. That is until you look into the specifics.

At a glance, it looks like CBC may be less than their comp, but the monthly fees are higher, and they have only 77 locations while the comp has 190 in their long-established portfolio.

CBC has a boat/person ratio of 6 while the competition has a ratio of 13, pulling on the demand of availability which may increase during peak season.

Both clubs offer unlimited use with membership, but CBC asks for a 1-year membership while their competitor is more flexible at 1-3 months (details of how that breaks out for the initial fee are in the contract).

Carefree Boat Club Success Rate

CBC has a smaller membership base at 3300 members and 530 boats under their growing private fleet umbrella.

Because they are still smaller, Carefree Boat Club members experience better and more personalized service as their competition has a membership roster of 20,000.

However, both clubs offer private boats that are never rented out to non-members assuring better quality, better-maintained boats to choose from, which is an important consideration. A poorly maintained boat can sink a holiday before even leaving port.

Despite the smaller member, boat, and locations numbers, CBC contributed to 39,000 boat excursions.

Additional Benefits

Joining Carefree Boat club has other advantages that make boating more enjoyable and user-friendly for each client. The club also limits memberships to ensure the highest-rated member satisfaction.


  • Access to licensed captains (at a cost)
  • Great learning tool and introduction to boat styles before buying
  • Allows opportunity to test-drive the types of boat for comparisons
  • Offer social clubs
  • Can start a private club franchise

Try Before You Buy

If you’re hesitant to join, why not take their quick 30-minute Zoom tour that membership director Nicole Nelson can arrange for you? This free introductory session introduces potential members to the elements that make the club unique.

Is a Carefree Boat Club Membership for You?

Life on a boat deck is an expensive hobby, but memories made on water are always keepers. This new idea of joining a boat-swap club is exactly what the boating industry needed.

“The two happiest days in a boat owner’s life: the day you buy the boat and the day you sell the boat.”

Why is that?

In many places worldwide, the boating season is either short or endless. Each comes with its own cost. Add to that equation that most of us work for a living and get a limited amount of days off to enjoy a pleasure cruise is another reality.

Carefree Boat Club might just be the answer.