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.
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.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
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 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.
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.)
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. Their initial fee is between $2750-5000 and monthly plans of $250-300 per month, while the comp is $4000-6000 with monthly payments of $199-299.
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 1-3months (details of how that breaks out for the initial fee are in the contract).
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.
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
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.
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.