The Million Dollar Question: Will I Have Access to a Boat When I Want One?
Next to the most popular question of What Does a Boat Club Membership Cost, the second most frequently-asked question that prospective members have about Freedom Boat Club is, “Will I be able to access a boat when I want one?”
If you plan correctly, the answer is YES.
Let us clarify.
Freedom Boat Club enjoys a 93% annual membership retention rate involving more than 30,000 members from coast to coast. That’s a lot of members across North America who use the proprietary Freedom Boat Club Reservation System to book boats at more than 150 clubs.
Freedom Boat Club operates with a 10:1 member to boat ratio, a formula that has proven itself out for nearly 30 years. When a club’s membership tips forward to exceed the established ratio, then boats are added to the fleet in order to ensure that the correct member to boat ratio is always maintained.
Freedom Boat Club features a sophisticated, turnkey online reservation system and also offers a state-of-the-art membership reservation APP. Members are allowed to reserve four dates in the system at one time, up to six months in advance. When they use one date, a new one immediately becomes available. This rolling reservation system maintains a level playing field for all members.
The key for success is to plan your dates in advance as much as possible in order to secure the specific dates, times and boats you want from your club location of choice. If you wait until the last minute to try and book a boat, you may not be able to secure exactly the boat you want, or when you want it. Think of it like a dinner reservation at a popular restaurant. If you book it in advance, you’re likely to get the time and table desired. But if you call the “day of,” it may or may not be available.
While advance reservations are recommended to secure specific boats, dates and times, you can also check out the “spur of the moment” reservation option. Perhaps you wake up one morning just jonesing to get on the water. Feel free to call your local dock and check on availability. With split shifts on the weekend, you may be able to grab a free afternoon session, or pick up a boat that another member unexpectedly cancelled. If you’re flexible as to the boat model and type, you’ll have a better chance of being able to snag a boat at the last minute!
Another few important considerations.
One, when you go to make an advance reservation, if the specific boat is booked on the date and time you want, you can register to be “waitlisted” directly through the reservation system. That way, if the desired boat frees up, you are emailed an automatically-triggered alert with an option to confirm within a prescribed period of time. The second consideration is to check other Freedom Boat Club locations within your vicinity to see what might be available at a neighboring club. Some markets have multiple club locations, or others within easy driving distance.
Also, keep in mind that every Freedom Boat Club will vary in usage and activity patterns. Some clubs are year ‘round operations with seasonal fluctuations. Some of the Florida clubs, for example, experience a few months of more robust boating activity in the winter months when the snowbirds are visiting, with greater accessibility in the spring, summer and fall. Clubs in the northeast, northwest or colder climates may operate during the warmer months, with their own activity patterns. We recommend speaking to your local membership executive if this is a concern. The local club dockmaster is also a great source for recommendations as to the most popular and least frequented times.
We’re glad you asked the question and we hope this answer clarifies how you can maximize your investment in a Freedom Boat Club membership. The more proactive you are, the better your chances of maximizing your fun time on the water!