The Truth About Freedom Boat Club
I almost didnt do it
Growing up we always had a boat and recently Ive been itching to get one.
But then I started crunching the numbers
You need to pay for the down payment, monthly payments, registration, insurance, maintenance, trailer, and storage, among other things.
Plus, you only have one boat.
What if I want to take my kids out tubing, or go bass fishing, or get into some skinny water looking for snook and redfish?
One type of boat is not ideal for the variety of activities we like to do on the water
Which lead me to Freedom Boat Club.
Id heard lots of misinformation about Freedom Boat Club regarding their prices, the number of times you can take their boats out, etc., so Freedom Boat Club wasnt even on my radar for the longest time
But the price of getting my own boat made me reevaluate my options.
In this podcast episode, I have my man Alex Anchor from the Winter Haven Freedom Boat Club to help talk about the pros, cons, and misconceptions when it comes to Freedom Boat Club.
Im not getting paid by them and this is not a sponsored post, but Salt Strong is all about helping you make memories on the water with your loved ones and this is one of the best deals Ive done when it comes to boating and fishing.
Ive been enjoying being a part of the Club and I just wanted to share this with you in hopes of clearing up some misconceptions.
Our Members Bill Of Rights
We operate according to an established Members Bill of Rights, which is given to all new members, and clearly communicates what you should expect as a member of Freedom Boat Club.
We highly encourage you to read it for yourself. for more information.
Thank you for taking the time to learn more about Freedom Boat Club. We hope you found this article helpful! Our goal is to be as transparent as possible, and to treat our members in the same manner as we would want to be treated.
Freedom Boat Club has been in business since 1989, and is the oldest and largest boat club in the world. With more than 15,000 members and a 93% annual retention rate, we strive to provide superior boating experiences for our members, helping to create memories to last a lifetime!
Freedom Boat Club St Petersburg Skyway
We are located at Loggerhead Marina in St. Petersburg. It provides us with another beautiful location near Egmont key, Fort Desoto and the Skyway bridge. You wont be far from beautiful beaches, snorkeling adventures and some great fishing. Rumor has it that there is a 90 hole on the northeast side of Egmont Cay where trophies have been caught.Egmont Key is primarily a wildlife refuge, but it can be a personal refuge a place to relax and collect shells along secluded, pristine beaches. Accessible only by private boat, Egmont Key has a unique natural and cultural history, including a lighthouse that has stood since 1858. During the 19th century, the island served as a camp for captured Seminoles at the end of the Third Seminole War and was later occupied by the Union Navy during the Civil War. In 1898, as the Spanish-American War threatened, Fort Dade was built on the island and remained active until 1923. After touring the historic sites and trails, visitors can enjoy swimming, fishing, wildlife viewing, and picnicking. Located at the mouth of Tampa Bay, southwest of Fort DeSoto Beach.Fort De Soto is located in the southwest corner of Mullet Key, at the entrance to Tampa Bay. The entire island is now Fort De Soto Park, a Pinellas county park which offers fine beaches, fishing, nature trails, camping, boating, and much more.
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Why Does The Cost Of The One
The cost of the one-time membership fee is based upon local market conditions, and those can vary widely.
Just as a 2000-square foot house in Seattle, WA or San Francisco, CA would cost significantly more than the same house in Sarasota, FL or Clemson, SC, marina costs can differ vastly from market to market.
If an FBC franchise is operating in a popular boating destination, the marina operator can command top dollar. The franchise owner is competing for limited slip space against other entities, including boat owners or other commercial interests. The more a marina charges for slip fees, dock and office space, etc., the more costly it is for the FBC franchise owner to operate the business. This means that the one-time entry fee is generally higher in larger metropolitan markets.
In A Pandemic Pinch Tampa Bay Boat Club Changes How Members Get Vessels
- Sue CarltonTimes staff
Membership has its privileges. In the case of Freedom Boat Club of Tampa Bay, its salty, nautical, Gulf breezy privileges.
Paying a few thousand dollars to join and a few hundred more in monthly dues, club members can use pontoon, deck, ski and fishing boats to island-hop Tarpon Springs, scallop Crystal River and fish Tierra Verde. With reciprocal privileges at clubs across the country, its a sort of seafaring timeshare.
They give me the keys, I take a boat out, I hand the keys back, said Carmen DeFelice, an Apollo Beach retiree who can cruise the Hillsborough River or go for a nice dock-and-dine lunch with his wife.
Freedom Boat Club, with more than 30,000 members across the country, boasts a ratio of one boat for every ten members, according to its website. The Tampa Bay chapter has 7,000 memberships and nearly 700 vessels.
But with the coronavirus came complications, followed by business decisions that did not make all its local members happy.
In January, the National Marine Manufacturers Association reported that U.S. boat sales hit a 13-year high in 2020, with people wanting to get outside, socially distance and beat back pandemic stress. Historically high sales are expected to continue this year with manufacturers filling a backlog of orders, the report said.
Under the old system, a member was allotted four boat reservations at a time up to six months in advance.
While some were philosophical about the change, others were less so.
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Robb Report: Why Boat Clubs & Yacht Shares Could Be The Best Way To Quarantine
Many of us will probably think twice about heading off on vacation. Why not staycation with Freedom Boat Club? For probably the same price, you can enjoy family adventures all year long.
Here’s our guarantee: “We pledge to remove the hassle out of boating, reduce the cost to you, and provide you diverse locations from which to boat on a variety of boat types.”
When you join, we’ll keep you in a variety of new/newer boats at a fraction of the cost of one comparable boat. How do we do it? Were part of the growing sharing economy. Today, most of us share golf courses, tennis courts and we all use Uber we say, “Why not boats?” Let’s start with a brief video overview…
What Does The One
Your local membership executive can review this in detail, but, in a nutshell, when you join Freedom Boat Club, you receive the following benefits:
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Boatsetter Vs Nautical Boat Club
Like many other boat clubs on this list, Nautical Boat Club has an initial one-time membership cost and an ongoing monthly cost. The monthly membership cost may vary depending on the boat and the location. The total for your first year with Nautical Boat Club can range from $4535 to $14,355.
Our goal at Boatsetter is to make boating accessible to everyone by not tying our customers to recurring fees. All of our boats across the country are available for rent, no catches.
What Isnt Covered In The Monthly Membership Fee
The answer to this question is the same for every Freedom Boat Club location: fuel.
Many of our clubs use fuel flow meters that are initiated at check-out from the dock, and then reviewed in full upon return. In all cases, you are only charged for the fuel that you use during your outing.
Some Freedom Boat Clubs offer optional programs that include special insurance coverage and towing provisions. Your local membership executive can provide full details.
Finally, every Freedom Boat Club has a professional dock staff, whose total focus is to assist members with boarding, check-in, dock departure and returns. They are happy to help load and unload your gear. Many of our satisfied members choose to tip for outstanding service, and the dock staff appreciates the consideration, this is fully at the members discretion.
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The 5 Secrets Boat Clubs Dont Want You To Know About
On the surface, boat clubs seem like a great idea. Instead of buying a boat, you pay a monthly fee and have access to a range of different vessels. The problem is that, in reality, things dont work out quite that smoothly.
Here are the top five secrets that boat clubs dont want you to know about signing up for a boat club membership.
What Are The Drawbacks Of A Boat Club Membership
1) Limited Selection of Boats
When we join a boat club, there is this idea that one weekend we can take out a family-sized pontoon and the next, a luxury catamaran. The problem is that most clubs really only offer a pretty narrow selection of boats. Not only that, with most people having the same free time as in being off on the weekends, holidays, and certain summer months, then you may find yourself standing empty-handed.
2) Too Much Pressure
The problem is that once you join a club, you feel pressure to get the most out of it. The average annual boat club is $275 per month. If you dont boat that often or have a hectic month, it feels like money just is thrown down the drain and just another wasted expense.
3) Limited Locations and Blackout Days for Boating
While some clubs have locations worldwide, youre still limited to whatever places theyre in. For the most part, this basically keeps you stuck around the most touristy places. And those are only the biggest clubs with typically the highest prices. Freedom Boat Club, for example, is one of the largest boat clubs in the world, but most of their locations are in the US. On the other hand, smaller, more affordable local-based boat clubs may only have one or two locations that make getting the most out of the boat club quite difficult all together.
4) The Clubs Might Be Full
Be sure to read about the real costs of boat ownership in Boat Ownership Costs: How Much Does it Cost to Buy & Own a Boat?
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Comparing Boatsetter Vs Boat Clubs
Instead of dealing with all this, you may start asking yourself, why would I not just rent a boat through Boatsetter instead? You have a huge range of unique boat brands and models to choose from, and you can opt to be your own captain or hire one of our professional captainslearn more about why you might want to hire a captain for your next rental.
In the meantime, lets take a closer look at the differences between a peer-to-peer boat sharing community like Boatsetter, compared to a few popular boat clubs in the US:
Freedom Boat Club Membership Cost
The Freedom Boat Club is a dream for many people who may not have the opportunity or financial freedom of owning their own boat. The club offers an unforgettable boating experience, with many options to choose from and minimal hassle in terms of maintenance costs when compared with buying and owning your own boat.
The Freedom Boat Club not only provides a place for people to rent boats but also offers the opportunity of having fun in an escape from everyday life. The club owners believe that boating should be more than just a nuisance, because it can provide relaxation and help create memories with friends and family members alike.
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How Much Does A Freedom Boat Club Membership Cost
The price of your membership at The Freedom Boating Club can vary drastically depending on what level you go for and the location you are joining. From what we were able to gather during our research, the monthly costs are anywhere between $220 and $450, with a one-time initiation fee that can be between $3,200 and more than $11,000 also depending on the location. The prices for the weekday-only plans are usually around $220 per month, but the weekend and holiday ones can be twice that or more, at around $450 per month.
Note: This is just an estimate and the prices will vary from location to location, depending on what you choose.
According to a member of TheHullTruth.com forum, the costs to join The Freedom Boat Club for three years are around $18,000, with an initiation fee of $4,200 and monthly costs of around $380.
Also, a member of the TripAdvisor.com website said that he had to pay $270 per month to join this club.
In a FloridaToday article, it is noted that new members have to pay a lifetime initiation fee that is $6,000 and after that, the monthly costs are $260.
The Freedom Boat Club Story
Welcome to Freedom Boat Club Boating Made Simple®
Freedom Boat Club was first founded in 1989 in Sarasota, FL. It is the oldest and largest boat club in the nation. The vision and purpose in establishing the boat club model was simple and straightforward – to deliver a hassle-free recreational boating experience for its members.
At the time, the concept was considered revolutionary and break-through. Boaters were either traditional boat owners or friends of boat owners. There were no boat clubs, fractional boating, boating timeshare, or even many boat rental facilities. The exclusive fraternity of boat owners stored their vessels at marinas, home docks or at the yacht club. When Freedom Boat Club launched, this new offering presented an exciting new alternative that opened the waterways to newcomers as well as lapsed boaters.
As the organization began its initial growth, Freedom Boat Club was sold to an investment group. Over time, it became evident that the best leadership for this type of business model would require active engagement at the helm. John Giglio and Robert Daly had both been working for the investment operator and negotiated to buy the enterprise in 2011. Mr. Giglio bought Mr. Daly out in 2012 and became the sole President.
While the original mission has fundamentally remained the same, the composition and scope of Freedom Boat Club is continually expanding.
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How Can I Save Money
Groupons daily deals can be a great way to save on your day at the boat club. For instance, the club in Venice, Florida offered at some point a $159 trial membership which you could have taken advantage of.
For those who are looking for a good deal, it may be worth traveling 15 to 25 miles to another location where you could get a better deal. For example, in Florida, there are more than 10 different locations where you can get a quote.
Its always a good idea to ask about promotions before committing. You might be able to take advantage of lower rates if you negotiate.
There are many ways to get a discounted membership. Some members will sell theirs at reduced rates on Craigslist and eBay.
What Are The Extra Costs
The fuel used to power your boat is not included in the costs. Most members have to pay anywhere between $20 and $50 per outing, depending on the current gas prices and distance traveled. As a general rule, the majority of the boats in the fleet would need three to five gallons of gasoline burned for every hour.
In case you need to transfer to another location, be prepared to pay a transfer fee that is around $550.
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Welcome To Suntime Boat Club
We are an exclusive member-only Boat Club that has been providing stress free and affordable boating for over 18 years! At SunTime Boat Club we can provide you with the convenience and ease of walk-on, walk off boating so you can spend your free time enjoying the beautiful waters of the Gulf Coast!
Freedom Boat Club Details
While paying the monthly fee, a member will have unlimited access to boating at his/her homeport location, plus four outgoings anytime throughout the year at any location. You can make an appointment 6 months in advance and have a maximum of four active reservations at a time.
Boat sizes at the Freedom Boat Club vary between 16 and 24 feet and include deck boats, kayaks, floats, pontoons, skiffs, sailboats, and bow rides, but options vary by location. Most of them are newer than three years.
You dont have to worry about cleaning, maintaining, or storing the boats as the club will do all this work on its fleet.
As a member of this club, you will be offered a two-hour training class in order to learn how to operate different boats.
It is important to know that a two million dollar insurance policy along with a $3,000 deductible is included. However, this may vary from location to location.
The opportunity to meet other members is one of many perks that come with being part of a club. The monthly dock parties are where you can find all sorts of people.
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