Joining a boat club is a great way to gain access to a fleet of boats without the need for hefty financial investments or laborious maintenance on a ship. Around the peninsula of Florida, several different boat clubs will allow you to rent their boats in exchange for a monthly fee. Knowing which ones are available and what they can offer helps you to make a wise commitment.
If you have been thinking of joining a boat club in Florida, here are a few examples that you should know about.
Freedom Boat Club
Freedom Boat Club offers the oldest and largest fleet compared to that of other boat clubs in Florida and around the world. Each of its boats is reserved for members-only usage so that you always have access to the boat you want when you want it. The only expense that you pay in exchange for this freedom is an initial fee, your monthly membership dues, and the cost of your fuel.
One of the main attractions of joining the Freedom Boat Club is the variety of membership options.
Based on how often and when you want to use the boat, you can choose from one of these unique offerings:
- Seasonal passes
- Year-round passes
- Weekday passes
- Family and friends option
They have more than a dozen locations around the state of Florida, and you can use any of their marinas. This is great if you planned to do a little traveling this summer or just want to explore some different waterways that are right in your backyard.
Another of the significant advantages is that members are not locked into lengthy contracts. You are required to give a 60-day written notice if you plan to cancel your membership, but this is relatively simple to do.
Carefree Boat Club
Carefree Boat Club is another one of the largest boat clubs with destinations across the United States and Canada. They have plenty of locations to choose from in Florida, making them an excellent option if you plan to do a little traveling this summer. You can access the fleet anywhere that you come across the Carefree Boat Club name so that you can be on the open water during whatever vacation you choose.
While each location is slightly different, membership here still feels relatively exclusive. Managers strive to have one boat allocated to every ten members. Boats are never chartered or rented out, even during peak seasons.
One of the best things about choosing a membership through Carefree Boat Club is the variety of options you have. Members can choose unlimited access, weekend-only access, or weekday access based on their budget and time. Be sure to call your local Carefree Boat Club to discuss what membership options are available for you.
This is also an ideal option for new boaters or those who may be a little rusty behind the wheel. All new members must read through the training manual and take a hands-on class where you are taught all of the fundamentals of sailing before being released onto the open water.
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Premier Boat Club
Premier Boat Club is a smaller option for someone who may not be doing much traveling. Located in Stuart, this club has some of the best offerings for different types of ships that you can reserve. Reservations can be made up to one year in advance, and each member may make four reservations annually.
Enjoy ships such as:
- 20’ Hurricane Deck Boat
- 21’ Hydra-Sports Dual Console
- 21’ Caravelle Center Console
- 21’ Angler Center Console
- 23’ Century Center Console
Much like some of the leading boat clubs like Carefree and Freedom, Premier Boat Club also offers unlimited training. That makes this club a favorite for individuals or families who have never owned a boat before.
New members are required to undergo orientation that covers information regarding local waterways, safe anchoring, and docking procedures. Orientation typically lasts for approximately 2.5 hours, but there is always a staff member available if you have further questions.
Unlike some boat clubs that only allow you to rent the boats during set hours, Premier has a more laidback policy. Prospective members can reserve boats for an evening cruise, an early sunrise excursion, or even an overnight trip to local spots.
One of the major selling features of the Premier Boat Club is that it includes the price of your insurance and any towing that may be necessary in the event of an accident. When you own a boat, this is a significant expense that must be accounted for, but it is included in your membership here.
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South Florida Boat Club
The South Florida Boat Club boasts two significant locations, one in the famous Fort Lauderdale area and another in Key Biscayne. Together, these two destinations have been serving the greater Miami area for more than a decade.
They place a great emphasis on maintaining their large fleet and helping it to grow in accordance with the number of members enrolled in their program. Based on the demand from their customers, South Florida Boat Club can offer a wide variety of boats, including center-console boats, bowriders, deck boats, and cruiser models.
Each year, the United States Coast Guard inspects each boat to ensure that it is still seaworthy from the previous season. This gives prospective members more peace of mind about their safety out on the open water.
Another key feature of the South Florida Boat Club is that there are no restrictions on the amount that you can use a boat. Reservations can be made up to six months in advance, but there is no limit to the number of reservations you can make with a full membership. There are no daily charges for taking a boat out on the water. You pay only for the cost of fuel.
Gulf Stream Boat Club
If you like the idea of having a full-service experience, then the Gulf Stream Boat Club is probably the right choice for you.
They can get you started the right way with a wide variety of activities, but first, you must choose from one of three convenient locations:
- Delray Beach
- Boynton Beach
This club provides sunset cruises, wakeboarding and waterskiing lessons, and fishing guides or equipment. You can even enjoy a catered lunch or dinner while you are out and about on one of their seaworthy vessels.
Many boat clubs provide their boats solely for member use, but Gulf Stream Boat Club also offers chartered boats as well. If you want to take your family out on the water without the hassle of manning the boat yourself, you can take advantage of their licensed captains for a charter. This is an excellent option if you are just learning how to navigate a boat on your own.
For those who need a little help, they also offer lessons on boat safety and operation.
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Jacksonville Boat Club
The Jacksonville Boat Club has been in business since 2008 and maintains excellent ratings with the Better Business Bureau. As you may have already guessed, this boat club resides in its namesake city with only one convenient location for you to rent their boats for the day. Membership is open to all individuals aged 21 or older, regardless of previous boating experience.
When it comes to renting the boats, you also gain access to all of the toys that you could ever want:
- Water skis
- Performance life jackets
For a boat club with only one location, the Jacksonville Boat Club has an impressive lineup of ships. They have almost twenty different vessels to choose from, with options specifically designed for fishing, watersports, or just cruising around on the open water with friends and family. Some of their makes and models are even considered to be pet-friendly.
All of their boats are exclusively reserved for member use. They are never chartered or rented out by other individuals during slow seasons.
Like many of the other top boat clubs in Florida that you should know about, Jacksonville Boat Club also offers hands-on training. They cover topics such as familiarity with local waterways, how to operate the boats, how to pull alongside the pier, and how to enter a slip at the local marina.
Destination Boat Club
Destination Boat Club is a growing company that you should keep an eye out for if you are interested in Florida boat clubs. They currently maintain three locations (Cape Coral, Naples, and Key West), but they are looking to expand into Miami Beach and Tampa soon. This could be beneficial for boaters who want to travel statewide during the summer months because the membership is reciprocal.
One of the main benefits of joining the Destination Boat Club is access to their luxury marina resort locations. They offer more amenities than some of the boat clubs, and this can be a real perk that takes your boating experience to the next level.
You can conveniently book your reservation online without incurring any additional fees. The only cost that you pay to use the boat is the cost of the fuel used during your excursion.
As with all of the leading boat clubs, Destination does provide on-water training to help you get a feel for their boats. With all of the potential benefits, that makes Destination Boat Club a favorite for many beginners.
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Choosing the Right Boat Club
Choosing the right club depends on where you are located and what you are most looking forward to doing o the open water. Some people may prefer clubs that feature free water toy rentals while others are interested in sunset cruises and chartered ships.
Make sure to do your homework before you sign up for any of these significant Florida boat clubs!
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Shelby Sullivan is our specialist when it comes to pontoon boats and recreational watercraft. She is often found sailing the freshwater lakes of Michigan. She is also a light-traveler who enjoys camping and traveling the world. Read more about Shelby here.