Boat clubs are a great way to spend more time on the water without the high costs and hassle of owning a personal boat. Not to mention, many boat clubs allow you to test a wide variety of different boats instead of the same one each time.
The trick is finding the boat club that is going to be the right fit for your boating goals.
Fort Myers is home to some of the best boat clubs in the country. If you have been considering signing up for a membership, here are six of the top clubs you should know first!
Suntex Boat Club
The Suntex Boat Club has some of the most convenient amenities of any boat club in and around the Fort Myers area.
Their Snook Bight Marina is less than one hundred yards away from the beach. It even has its very own grocery store on-site in case you need to pick up a few last-minute snacks for your day out on the water.
Other amenities available at this resort-style boat club include a private pool, clubhouse, outdoor lounge area, and a waterside promenade.
At this marina, you have plenty of boat options to choose from including favorites like the:
- Bayliner Element F21 Center Console
- Princecraft Vectra Tritoon
- Bayliner Deck Boat
- Princecraft Quorum Tritoon
- Sea Ray 23 SPX
One of the major perks of choosing the Suntex Boat Club is the ability to choose your level of involvement.
They have five different membership packages ranging from a weekday only to an “Admiral’s Level” to a shared membership.
All memberships allow for unlimited boating, but they may place restrictions on which days of the week you can set sail.
In addition to gaining access to their full fleet of boats, membership also grants you discounts to other local shopping and dining options. Signing up for a membership with Suntex is opening the doors wide to a whole new lifestyle.
Freedom Boat Club
Freedom Boat Club is an excellent option if you want to stick with a large corporate boat club.
They have been in business for quite a while and operate locations all across the United States and Canada. Members of the Fort Myers branch of Freedom Boat Club also gain access to the other locations via their reciprocal privileges. If you plan to do a bit of traveling this year, this is an excellent option to consider.
Many people are drawn to the Freedom clubs because they offer an extensive list of boats.
Their Fort Myers location is no different, with more than twenty different boats that you can reserve.
Some of these makes and models include:
- 2017 Scout 195 Sport Center Console
- 2019 Sweetwater Freedom 2286 Pontoon
- 2019 Cobia 237CC Center Console
- 2018 Cobia Bay Boat Center Console
- 2019 Bennington 22SSR Pontoon
- 2018 Hurricane 192 Deck Boat
- 2018 Hurricane SD217 Bowrider
Much like Suntex Boat Club, Freedom allows you to choose your level of involvement. You can opt for memberships for weekday sailing only, year-round privileges, and even a friends and family package. All memberships will come at a different rate.
Reservations are made through the online portal, and you are granted unlimited access to the fleet, depending on the membership option you select. Boats are never rented out to non-members, ensuring that you always have the most options available.
Beginner boaters will fit right in at Freedom Boat Club because they do offer plenty of on-the-water training for their newest members. Prospective members must complete the safety training courses before they can borrow one of the boats.
Carefree Boat Club
Another major name in boat clubs, Carefree Boat Club, also garners a lot of attention in the Fort Myers area.
They have a lot of amenities that make it appealing to a certain crowd of people. If you are hoping to embrace the lifestyle that often accompanies joining a boat club, then Carefree may be the best fit for you.
Just a few of their amenities include a gift shop, a venue for occasional live entertainment, covered parking, a heated pool and an outdoor pool, and a restaurant.
In addition to borrowing their boats, you can also rent bicycles, canoes, and kayaks.
Much like Freedom, Carefree Boat Club has many locations sprinkled across the United States. They offer reciprocal privileges that allow you to borrow boats from any location in the world with no dock fees or insurance fees. You are given unlimited use all day, every day. Members can make reservations to a boat on a particular day and time, or they can rent a boat on the spur of the moment if something is available.
If you don’t have experience with boating, then Carefree Boat Club should be a major consideration for you. They take the time to teach you how to operate each boat so that you can navigate the waters like a pro.
Baywater Boat Club
Baywater Boat Club is technically located just outside Fort Myers Beach in the town of Bonita Springs.
This club started with humble beginnings but has grown to a massive fleet of more than sixty boats and hundreds of members.
They purchase all of their ships brand new and fully loaded with working radios, livewells, GPS, and all of the other luxuries that one would expect from a new boat.
Members can easily make reservations to take the boat out for the day. Unlike some other boat clubs that only allow you to reserve the boat for a half-day, Baywater always allows you to keep it for the whole day until 5:00 PM. If you want to keep the boat out later or overnight, all you have to do is make reservations for two consecutive days. Members are allowed to make up to three reservations at a time for three months in advance.
Are you thinking about boating this weekend but don’t have a reservation? They also allow you to take unreserved boats out on a first-come, first-serve basis.
Here is just a small selection of the boats that they have to offer:
- C15-31ft Boundary Waters Double-Decker Pontoon
- C32 Avalon Platinum Funship
- C27-25’ Misty Harbor Tritoon
- C20-29’ Premier Grand Entertainer
- C19-21’ Carolina Ultra Elite SS
- C10- Robalo 246 Cayman
Other amenities that you might enjoy include free ice and coolers, on-site parking, dock carts, and a free coast guard safety course. For an additional fee, they can connect you with a captain to man the boat for the day as well.
Destinations Boat Clubs
Located just a short drive from Fort Myers, Destinations Boat Club offers its Cape Coral location for any avid boater in the area. A membership with Destinations also allows you to visit their other two locations in Key West and Naples. Their goal is to allow you the freedom to boat and enjoy the water without the high price tag of owning a boat.
Like some of the other boat clubs in the Fort Myers area, Destinations is all about giving choices to their members. There are several plans to choose from, whether you want to sail year-round or just for the summer season. Depending on your unique needs, they may even be able to customize a plan that is the right fit for you.
Membership starts with fees as low as $210 per month.
The fleet of boats you can choose from is rather impressive, with new additions coming all the time. As of right now, they are working on bringing in several new ships, including a Sea Pro 219 Center Console and Stingray 214 LR.
Other boats include:
- Sylvan 8522 LZ
- Epic 21 Bay
- Carolina Skiff
- Bulls Bay 230 Center Console
- Southwind 2400
- Key West 211 DC
- Stingray 212 DC
All new boaters are required to take their safety course regardless of their previous level of experience. Once this first course has been successfully passed, you will receive on-the-water training by licensed captains so that you know exactly how to handle the boats you will be driving.
Marina Mike’s Boat Club and Rentals
Many boat clubs charge you a set fee per month and allow you unlimited access to their boats.
Marina Mike’s is a little different and charges only for the rental time that you use.
If you plan to use their boats quite frequently, they do also offer monthly and yearly fees. However, this is a great place to go if you only want to boat every once in a while.
Prices are based on the amount of time that you plan to take the boat out on the water. A full day can run anywhere from $199 to $350, depending on which type of boat you choose. A half-day is a bit less expensive, ranging from $149 to $225.
Unfortunately, they do not have many different types of boats to choose from. Marina Mike’s has small pontoons that seat up to six people, large pontoons that seat up to eleven, and a 19-foot Carolina Skiff. They focus more on common fishing boats instead of diversifying their fleet. All boats come equipped with a bimini top to create some shade.
Whether you want to spend just a single afternoon on the water or the entire summer, there is a boat club that is perfect for you in Fort Myers.
Consider some of these top choices when making your decision this year!
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.