Boat club memberships can come with quite a few perks. You gain access to an entire fleet of boats without the headache of maintaining them yourself. Of course, the benefits of joining a boat club inevitably come with a cost.
How much do boat club memberships cost?
Here are price examples from a few of the bigger boating clubs.
|Boat Club||One-Time Fee||Monthly Fee|
|Freedom Boat Club|
(West Palm Beach, FL)
|$2,750 – $5,500||$149 – $299|
|Carefree Boat Club|
|$4,000 – $6,000||$250 – $300|
|Nautical Boat Club||$995 – $5,995||$195 – $595|
|Prescott Boat Club||$995 – $1,995||$199 – $334|
Prices vary based on your location.
Freedom Boat Club
Freedom Boat Club is one of the oldest and largest boat clubs in the nation. They have 165 locations spread out from coast to coast with plenty of clubs in between.
No matter which spot is closest to home, you do enjoy a wide variety of benefits with membership in this exclusive club.
Pricing is going to vary from location to location.
You can expect to pay a one-time entry fee in addition to your regular maintenance plan. Larger metropolitan marinas will see the highest fees, but you may also stumble upon local promotion or incentives that help to reduce the initial cost.
West Palm Beach locations can run from $2,750 to $5,500 to join with an additional $149 to $299 per month.
Membership plans are not a one-size-fits-all variety here. Warmer climates can offer members unlimited boating year-round. Fees may be higher because there is a need for continuous maintenance and service on the fleet through all twelve months of the year.
Clubs who operate only seasonally may still incur additional costs for winterizing their fleet.
Depending on which location you would naturally boat with, you do have several membership options:
- Three-month seasonal membership
- Six-month seasonal membership
- Weekday-only membership
- Weekend-only membership
- Friends and family programs
Carefree Boat Club
Much like the Freedom Boat Club, Carefree Boat Club offers a variety of locations throughout the United States. You can enjoy unlimited access to their fleet of boats when you enroll in their program that covers more than eighty destinations.
When traveling to more popular areas, you can expect to pay more for membership costs.
For example, their San Francisco boat club is far more likely to have higher rates compared to a smaller boat club nestled along the shore in the northeast.
To give an example, their location in Clinton, Connecticut is a relatively affordable option.
While pricing does vary based on location, this market sees annual membership fees of just $3,000. Prices could be as affordable as just $250 per month.
Looking at the numbers this way proves that it is far more affordable to join their boat club for the year than it is to purchase a brand-new boat or to rent one for a week-long vacation.
The main benefit of the Carefree Boat Club is its extensive reach across the continent. You can plan an entire vacation around visiting one of their other locations.
They have spots throughout the United States and Canada. You can explore the Pacific, sail through the Gulf of Mexico, or enjoy the sunny Florida Keys.
Nautical Boat Club
While it may not cover as many areas as the previous two boat clubs, Nautical Boat Club is still worth mentioning.
For those that live within its service areas, you can enjoy a lot of benefits that come from this more personalized program.
Perks of the membership include:
- Unlimited boat use
- Guaranteed reservations with 97 percent availability
- Free guest privileges
- Complimentary use of water toys
- Dockside valet service
Nautical Boat Club is also a little more straightforward about what you can expect from their one-time fees and monthly expenses. Like all boat clubs, the price is largely determined by the specific market you live in.
Expect to pay anywhere from $995 to $5,995 for your one-time membership fee.
Ongoing monthly expenses typically fall between $195 and $595.
These fees include your insurance, maintenance, and slip fees. The only additional expense that you incur for using this service is the fuel you use.
Prescott Boat Club
Prescott Boat Club is decidedly smaller than many of the major players in the boat club arena.
However, they are a great option for sailors who live within their service area. They also permit you access to their sister locations at Nautical Boat Club, broadening their horizons significantly.
You might be in their service area if you live in:
- Prescott, WI
- Lakeway, TX
- Austin, TX
- Dallas, TX
- Columbia, SC
- Nashville, TN
The one-time membership fee ranges from $995 to $1,995 followed by a monthly due for the following twelve months.
Monthly prices range from $199 to $344.
Free safety classes are included in the price of the membership. You also gain access to a wide variety of water toys that may be available for your use when you reserve the boat.
The only additional fee that you will be faced with is fuel to power the boat you select.
What is Included in the Boat Membership Price?
This question really does depend on the specific boat club and which location is closest to you. For most of the leading boat clubs, you gain unlimited access to their entire fleet of boats across the country.
Each location will have a unique lineup, but you should have several makes and models to choose from.
The monthly fee paid toward your dues includes any insurance that you may require, safety lessons on how to use the boat properly, and slip fees.
The only thing that it does not cover is the cost of fuel.
It would be hard for a boating club to factor fuel into the monthly fees as this can vary depending on which boat you choose and how far you sail.
Many boat clubs also include complimentary access to water toys such as tubes or wakeboards. Be sure to inquire if this is something that interests you.
How Much Do the Cheapest Boat Clubs Cost?
The cheapest boat clubs can cost just a few hundred dollars per month.
Keep in mind that this may not cover unlimited access to the boats. A cheaper membership could restrict your usage to certain days of the week or certain months out of the year.
If you are looking for a way to get on the water without spending a small fortune, these cheaper boat clubs may be a good fit for you.
Look for boat clubs that offer a variety of membership options to find one that will work for your budget.
Keep in mind that the best bargain may be to opt for weekday-only or weekend-only plans. It is best to ensure that you fully understand the membership guidelines before you sign on the dotted line.
How Much Do Exclusive Boat Clubs Cost?
Exclusive boat clubs can cost thousands of dollars per month, as well as a hefty initial fee. Keep in mind that the most expensive boat clubs are typically those located in the most densely populated cities.
When slips come at a premium, you can expect the monthly dues to be more expensive as well.
A boat club that has a more extensive fleet is also likely to charge more per month. In return, you likely have access to much newer models and a wider variety of sailing opportunities.
Exclusive boat clubs must charge more to make up for the fact that they do not have incoming fees from a wider group of members.
However, this does come with some benefit to you.
When you are paying this much for a boat club membership, you are also likely receiving true unlimited access to the fleet.
You can typically place a reservation for any day of the week on any of their available boats with a greater degree of success. In fact, many exclusive boat clubs boast a reservation success rate of ninety percent or higher.
Finding the Right Boat Club for Your Budget
Knowing what to expect from the boat club fees is an important first step into the world of sailing. Each club has its unique advantages that are covered under their membership package. Be sure to do your homework on which membership is the perfect fit for you and your family.
With prices ranging from just a few hundred dollars per month to several thousand, you have a lot to consider.
Find out which boat clubs are in your area and what they charge for your unique location.
Each spot will have its own set of fees based on the number of dock slips and the size of their fleet.
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Morten is the founder of GoDownsize. He has filmed and interviewed people living in tiny houses and RVs since 2011. He grew up on the coast where his dad took him boating from a young age. He has completely rebuilt two RVs in which he travels with his family for months at the time. Read more about Morten here.