How Much Does a Freedom Boat Club Membership Cost?
“Joining Freedom Boat Club was one of the best investments I’ve ever made. I’m a five-time former boat owner and while ownership was the right choice for our family previously, my family and I were at a stage where we appreciate the convenience of simply going online to make a reservation, choosing from multiple different types of well-maintained boats from a large fleet, and taking full advantage of the maintenance-free boating lifestyle that Freedom Boat Club delivers. At this time in our lives, membership is a very cost-effective and easy way to enjoy the boating lifestyle. There’s nothing like spending a magical day on the water, returning to the dock and then turning in the keys. You just can’t put a price on what I like to call real boating freedom!” –Kenneth Smith, Venice, FL (see more testimonials here)
It’s the first thing potential boat club members usually ask when they call or email Freedom Boat Club … What does it cost to join the club?
We know that the cost of membership is a very important consideration for you as you begin your research on boat clubs. We’re consumers too, and like yourself, we want to be as thorough as possible when analyzing all options.
Let us do our very best to address the pricing guidelines and explain the variables involved with boat club pricing, as it is not a cookie-cutter, standardized “one-stop shop” from coast to coast.
Two Pricing Components
To begin with, all Freedom Boat Club membership plans feature two distinct pricing components. All of our 15,000+ members have paid a one-time entry fee to join the club, and then each has chosen an affordable membership plan that best suits their particular needs.
The one-time fee and the cost of the monthly membership plan vary depending on where you join and the type of membership plan you select.
Why Does the Cost of the One-Time Entry Fee Vary?
The cost of the one-time membership fee is based upon local market conditions, and that can vary widely. Let me share an analogy that will hopefully put this into its proper perspective.
For example, if you were purchasing a 2000-square foot house in either Seattle, WA or San Francisco, CA, you would likely pay significantly more per square foot there than you would for the exact same house in Sarasota, FL or Clemson, SC. Even within the same state, the real estate price for homes can differ significantly.
Just as the residential housing market varies, so do marina costs vastly differ from market to market. The more expensive the market and associated real estate, the more costly it is for a Freedom Boat Club franchise owner to operate his or her business, as expenses are directly aligned with the marina and its charges for slip fees, dock and office space, etc. Therefore, the one-time entry fee is generally higher or more expensive in larger metropolitan markets.
However, that’s not the only variable, nor is it always the case.
If a franchise club owner is operating his boat club in a very popular boating community or destination where there is a high demand for slip space with limited availability, the marina operator can and will often command top dollar. The franchise owner is competing for slip space against other entities including boat owners or other commercial interests. This supply and demand scenario impacts the cost of doing business, whether it’s a small or larger metro market.
Keep in mind that many of the franchises and corporate clubs occasionally offer promotions and incentives at times throughout the year, so always ask if discounts or special offers are available.
Monthly Membership Plans
As to the monthly membership options and associated plan pricing, these also vary across the country for the reasons cited, and others as well.
Some of our clubs are located in warm climates and operate year round with unlimited boating. This entails year round staffing, operations and ongoing service and maintenance on the fleet. Year round boating costs are more expensive for these reasons.
Some clubs operate in seasonal markets due to inclement weather conditions. When it’s off-season, however, business and operational costs are still incurred. All of the boats in the club’s fleet must be properly winterized and serviced, and put into storage.
Many of the clubs in year round boating locations offer three and six month seasonal membership options, allowing members to choose and pre-select the months they want to use their club. These seasonal memberships are less costly by month, due to the more limited boating usage, but the fees are paid monthly on a year round basis as every club incurs costs that are likewise, year round.
In terms of membership plans, some clubs also offer special weekday only or weekend only rates. In some markets, there are special membership provisions for retired or active duty military and first responders. Some also offer friends ‘n family programs. Franchise owners and operators choose the plans that best fit the usage patterns and profiles of members in their respective marketplace.
Obviously, with more than 125 clubs scattered throughout North America, along with the many different types of membership plans available, we cannot list the one-time fee or monthly plan options for every club, for every plan they offer. It’s exactly the reason why we don’t publish a standardized membership rate card, because of the varying locations and the unique pricing considerations. That’s why when someone asks – what’s it cost to join Freedom Boat Club – it’s a complex answer that is entirely based on your market conditions and club of choice.
Speak to Our Membership Executive for Local Market Information
Our membership executive in the local market in which you have interest in joining is fully knowledgeable about all the membership plans that are available to you and the associated costs. He or she is happy to answer any and all questions that you have about the monthly membership options.
We know that people are often reluctant to speak with a sales professional. However, Freedom Boat Club’s membership executives are here to answer your questions and to help you determine if a boat club is right for you, or not.
If it is the right decision for you and your family, they can help you review all of the available local plan options and share the costs and benefits of each. And if the pricing or the membership plan doesn’t suit your lifestyle needs or budget, that’s ok, too. Our membership executive is there to answer all of your questions so you can make the best decision for you and your family.
Another question prospective members often ask about their membership fees is … how many times can I use the boat?
That’s an easy answer! Your usage is unlimited! You can make four reservations in advance using our proprietary online reservation system, and those reservations roll, meaning that the minute you use one, you can book another. But you can also call your dock(s) of choice at any time to check on availability and if there’s a boat in the dock that has either returned for the day or is unreserved, it’s yours for the asking.
What Does the Membership Fee Include?
Another common question: what does the one-time fee and monthly membership plan cover?
Again, your membership executive can review this in detail with you so you get a full picture of the benefits associated with your investment.
However, in a nutshell, when you join Freedom Boat Club, you receive unlimited access to the boats in our fleet. This may be the boats in your local club or nationwide, depending on the club location and the plan you choose from those that they offer.
Freedom Boat Club is 100 percent committed to boating safety for our members. Your membership also includes free, unlimited 1:1 training, taught by licensed Coast Guard captains/instructors. Before our members take a boat on the water, they will participate in a training session with our captain who will walk you through the state’s boating regulations and guidelines in a classroom setting. Our members really appreciate the hands-on, 1:1 instruction provided for you and your spouse on a boat, on the water, which covers docking maneuvers, along with close quarter and open water navigation techniques. This is not a rushed, five minute review, but a thorough and comprehensive training session designed to ensure your safety while inspiring confidence at the helm. In addition, as training is unlimited, you can always take a refresher session or sign up for an advanced course as available. Our captains are also pleased to assist you with local orientations.
Your membership also includes insurance coverage. We provide you with the same coverage you would obtain if you had purchased a boat instead of joining Freedom Boat Club. You are a permissive operator under the physical damage policy protecting our boats. And, you are an Additional Insured in our $1,000,000 Watercraft Liability policy that protects you from claims from third-parties while the Freedom boat is in your care/custody/control.
Freedom Boat Club is a social club, so part of your membership benefits include the opportunity to participate in special events and social gatherings. Some clubs host these events monthly, and others seasonally during their prime boating season. It is a great opportunity to have fun, meet new friends, and mix and mingle with others who share your passion for the boating lifestyle!
Freedom Boat Club has a national partnership with West Marine and many of our clubs co-partner with West Marine stores in their local markets to host fishing seminars or other specialty programs for members.
What Isn’t Covered In the Monthly Membership Fee?
A final question that many prospective customers ask … What isn’t covered in the price of membership?
That answer 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 of the Freedom Boat Clubs offer optional programs that include special insurance coverage and towing provisions. If this is of interest, please ask your local membership executive for 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 their dock staff for outstanding service, and the dock staff appreciates the consideration. However, this is fully at your discretion.
Members Bill of Rights
We very much appreciate your interest in Freedom Boat Club, and we hope you found this article to be 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.
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 and to review our Member Bill of Rights. Click Here for more information.
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, our goal is to provide superior boating experiences for our members and to help members create memories to last a lifestyle!
Thank you for taking the time to learn more about Freedom Boat Club. We are working hard to earn your trust and your business!
© Freedom Boat Club 2017