Tampa Bay offers a beautiful vista perfect for fishing, cruising, and sailing along the coast or to the Gulf of Mexico.
Tampa, Florida and the surrounding cities are therefore a hub for boat and yacht clubs alike.
People join boat clubs to access a fleet of boats without owning their own, and yacht clubs are joined by sailors looking for access to social events and communities.
One of the best things about boat clubs – besides the boats – are the people, and you want to make sure you like the crowd and the vibe of the club that you choose.
We’ve done the research to locate the best boat and yacht clubs in and around Tampa, Florida. Our findings of the various boat clubs surrounding Tampa Bay are listed below.
Freedom Boat Club – Tampa
As one of the largest franchise-based boat clubs in America, Freedom Boat Club offers a tried-and-true infrastructure to its boat club members.
In addition to a wide selection of boats, Freedom Boat Club offers plenty of social club activities. The Tampa Bay area boat club gives members access to 28 total locations in the great area, from Treasure Island to St. Petersburg.
- Members have access to over 25 different club locations around Tampa Bay
- Locations feature amenities such as pools, hot tubs, and exercise facilities
- The boat selection includes pontoons, center consoles, and deck boats
- Those looking for an intimate club experience may feel crowded and overwhelmed
- Many locations do not feature any small boats for small groups
Freedom Boat Club is a large franchise of boat clubs and owners, working hard to be the best in the business. Though it doesn’t have a “local” feel, you know you’ll be getting years of experience and great service, by individuals who make boating their entire life!
Davis Island Yacht Club
The tight-knit community promoted by the Davis Island Yacht Club shares a deep love of sailing of all kinds. While this club is very exclusive, they are more than willing to take on new members and help those with a budding passion for yachting and sailing.
With open events designed to help bring new members into the fold, this club is a nice fit for those looking to sink their toes into the world of exclusive sailing.
- The club combines decades of sailing experience out on the water
- Davis Island Yacht Club has many regularly scheduled social events
- The club supports an active youth sailing league
- Becoming a member requires sponsorship from two current members of good standing
- Unlike many casual boating clubs, members are expected to maintain their own boat
If you want all the fun and responsibility of maintaining your own boat, but still have the community and fun of a social boat club, this is the one for you!
Westshore Yacht Club
Five miles from downtown Tampa, you’ll find the scenic Bay Club at Westshore Yacht Club.
With a variety of membership types for both residents and non-residents, there’s plenty offered by this upscale club that members can use to enjoy their next experience out on the water.
From an on-site spa to the premier dining experience, members have access to many amenities.
- Located on the scenic Old Tampa Bay within walking distance of many places of interest, such as dining, music, tourism, and sights to see!
- The club’s extensive event calendar provides a variety of social gatherings
- Members receive access to special amenities, including fitness equipment and classes
- The offices of the club are closed on Mondays and many facilities have limited hours
- May not be the best option for those interested in a casual club
This boat club is a more local club and has that local feel. If you’re looking for something that is totally “Tampa”, then this is the club for you!
Owners and employees of this amazing club will know al the great sights and places to be in Florida when you ask about them, so make sure to ask!
SunTime Boat Club
Located just outside Tampa in the conveniently situated St. Petersburg, SunTime Boat Club brings nearly two decades of experience managing boat clubs to the table.
From dual consoles to deck boats, this club offers a diverse fleet of boats to meet your needs. The marina provides easy access to the bay, and if you follow the inlet you can reach the Gulf of Mexico in no time.
- SunTime Boat Club offers flexible and affordable membership plans
- The location of the club is convenient for sailing to many different popular areas
- Members have access to free parking at the marina
- The fleet is not as diverse as larger boat clubs
- There are few social activities involved with this club
Carefree Boat Club – Tampa
Carefree Boat Club is a large boat club with locations across America and Canada. This club focuses on boating affordability and helping its members enjoy their time out on the water.
The St. Petersburg location features a fleet of center console boats, pontoons, and even paddleboards for members to use.
- Members receive access to experienced trainers and classes
- Membership includes insurance and after-hours boat availability
- The St. Petersburg club features a 212 slip marina with round the clock security
- This club is not as exclusive as others, with nearly 4,000 total members across locations
- The St. Petersburg location has a fleet of 7 boats, not nearly as diverse
Coastal Boat Club
Coastal Boat Club is a casual and simply structured boat club that offers everything the prospective boater needs, without unnecessary bells and whistles.
With a small fleet featuring a pontoon, bowrider, and several center consoles there are plenty of boats to take out on the picturesque water of this club’s location.
Coastal Boat Club focuses on providing an affordable boating experience with its well-maintained fleet.
- The initial membership fee of this club is smaller than many other options
- Members receive an on-the-water orientation and safety training
- A total of 3 reservations can be made at one time
- Boats may not be rented when the club is closed on Mondays
- Members may not take boats out overnight
Tampa Yacht & Country Club
This prestigious and historic yacht club has been a staple of Tampa’s yacht scene for decades. It routinely ranks as one of the top yacht clubs in the world.
With such a record of excellence, this club is difficult to gain entry into, but worth it for those with a passion for yachting.
- Decades of experience and prestigious make this yacht club unique
- The club features activities such as fishing tournaments, tennis, and swimming
- Tampa Yacht & Country Club offers premier dining and social events
- Membership is available only to those sponsored by a current member in good standing
- Is not well-suited for casual or beginning sailors
Final Thoughts on Tampa’s Boat Clubs
The Tampa Bay is a perfectly situated area for many different types of boat clubs. Those in search of a casual boat club where they only have to worry about when to bring the boat back have several options.
Experienced sailors in search of an exclusive club have many different choices as well.
Each boat club we’ve listed offers a unique set of features – whether that’s fine dining, social activities, exclusive club amenities, or a diverse fleet of boats.
Just as every boat club is unique, so is every boater, so the right club for you will depend on your needs and budget.
Before joining a boat club, be sure to visit their marina and talk with their office about membership benefits. Some clubs may even offer the chance to rent a boat before deciding to join the club.
Compare the prices and features of various boat clubs within your price range before you make your final decision!
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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.