Boat Clubs in Michigan: 14 Clubs to Know (Before Deciding)

In Boatingby Morten Storgaard

When you live in a state such as Michigan and are surrounded by some of the largest lakes in the world, however, the options are almost endless when it comes to the number of lake communities you can join.

If you are looking for boat clubs in your area, here are 7 clubs in Michigan that you should know about before signing up!

1. Carefree Boat Club – New Buffalo, Michigan

Aptly named, the Carefree Boat Club is a community of fun, freedom, and simplicity.

This boat club, which is tucked away right at the southern tip of Lake Michigan, gives you the opportunity to explore the seas with ease and enjoy the life that New Buffalo has to offer when you get back on dry land.

These are the models they have available:

  1. Crownline E255 EC
  2. Regal 26 Express
  3. Crownline E275 Surf

This club makes the boating experience easy. Just reserve your spot online, show up for your reservation, and bring your boat back when you’re done! The Carefree Boat Club handles all of the boat care both before and after your visit. Even the trip out to the lake is easy as the marina is only minutes away to your destination.

Overall, Carefree Boat Club is one of the top boat clubs to consider if you value rest and relaxation above all else.

Pros:

  • Close to Lake Michigan
  • Online reservations
  • An easy start to finish the process
  • Great location
  • Plenty of desirable amenities at the marina

Cons:

  • Only three available boat selections in their fleet (at this location).

2. Freedom Boat Club

Just like the Carefree Boat Club, Freedom Boat Club is a national organization that offers several locations. In the Michigan area you find the Freedom boat clubs in:

  • Harrison Twp,
  • Detroit, St.
  • Joseph,
  • Holland,
  • Grand Haven,
  • and White Hall.

If you’re signed up with this club, you will also have membership access in other states (if you are someone who vacations frequently).

Being that it is a national brand, the Freedom Boat Club has plenty of boating options for you to choose from and uses a state-of-the-art reservation system that will help you to book a boat, regardless of how far in advance you need it.

Along with the flexibility you get with this club, you can also look forward to training for each of their boats, a one-time membership fee, and very low monthly dues. Whether you are someone who boats year-round or only goes out on occasion, the Freedom Boat Club is one organization that you should not overlook!

Pros:

  • Several locations
  • Low cost
  • Plenty of boat selections
  • Helpful amenities
  • Quick booking

Cons:

  • We can’t seem to find any!

3. The Great Lakes Sailing Co. – Traverse City, Michigan

The Great Lakes Sailing Co. boat club is perfect for the occasional lake adventurer who wants to join a laid-back club.

Located on the northeastern side of Lake Michigan, the Great Lakes Sailing Co. emphasizes simplicity.

All members can choose from their fleet of day-sail boats that range anywhere from 18-25 feet and take to the lake when it pleases. Because their fleet consists of small vessels, access to the lake is easy, and the process of signing up and reserving your spot is just as simple.

With this club, you don’t have to worry about jumping through hoops or paying heavy membership fees.

Additionally, the location of this club and the many amenities that offers makes it the perfect summer vacation getaway spot!

Pros:

  • Low membership fees
  • Easy access to boats
  • Ability to book shorter sessions and sail when you want to
  • Room for five passengers
  • Maintenance staff at your service
  • Discounted sailing course for members of the club
  • Great location

Cons:

  • Only smaller boats are available in this club

4. The Elba-Mar Boat Club – Grosse Ile, Michigan

Sometimes, the quiet beauty of nature is far more exciting than any tourist spot. If you are looking for a retreat rather than a bustling environment, you may want to consider joining the Elba-Mar Boat Club.

Located in the quiet township of Grosse Ile, Michigan, the Elba-Mar Boat Club boasts a community of boat enthusiasts who nurture their club and care just as much about their community as they do about their passion for the water.

Unlike other clubs, you can expect to participate in a wide variety of exciting boating activities.

You will also have access to their clubhouse, which will allow you to enjoy the continuous serenity of your surroundings. If you want a club that is truly a club, the Elba-Mar Boat Club is going to be one of the best choices for you.

Pros:

  • A true sense of community
  • Peaceful location
  • Fun events
  • Affordable use fees

Cons:

  • Significant initiation fee
  • Hard to get into club
  • Several pages of club rules
  • Full members have to log work hours
  • Must have two sponsors in club to join

5. Duncan Bay Boat Club – Duncan Bay, Michigan

Affordable and aesthetically pleasing, the Duncan Bay Boat Club in Duncan Bay, Michigan is an excellent choice for absolutely everyone.

Smack in the middle of Lake Huron and Lake Michigan, the Duncan Bay Boat Club gives you quick and easy access to two of the Great Lakes. Whether you are wanting to experience Michigan at its finest or you just want to relax on the water, the possibilities are endless when you join this boat club.

The Duncan Bay Boat Club gives you a front-row seat to unparalleled beauty.

Located near Cheboygan State Park, nature lovers get to view some of the most beautiful landscapes that Michigan has to offer. If you want quick access to the best spots around you and you want to soak in nature along the way, the Duncan Bay Boat Club provides you with the best of both worlds (and for an extremely affordable price).

Pros:

  • Stunning environment
  • Perfect location
  • Cheap membership fees and quarterly dues
  • Club-house stocked with amenities

Cons:

  • We can’t find any!

6. The Detroit Boat Club – Detroit, Michigan

Established in 1839, the Detroit Boat Club in Detroit, Michigan is one of the more versatile clubs on this list.

Besides being located in one of the biggest cities in Michigan, which is great for boaters who want to be near all of the action, the Detroit Boat Club features a host of boating options for all types of members.

From recreational boating to rowing teams and even racing competitions, you are guaranteed to find all of your favorite activities (both on the water and in the community) when you join this boat club.

Although this boat club truly goes out of its way to give you an excellent experience, the membership fees and dues are extremely affordable. If you want to join a boat club that will allow you to do almost anything, you should take a closer look at the Detroit Boat Club.

Pros:

  • Different boating options
  • Plenty of events
  • Great amenities
  • Lively community and interaction
  • Affordable membership
  • Located near the city

Cons:

  • We couldn’t identify any!

7. The Clinton River Boat Club – Club Island, Michigan

It’s hard to not be impressed by a boat club that is located in Club Island, Michigan and if that wasn’t enough to get you going, you will change your tune when you see just how much the Clinton River Boat Club has to offer.

One of the more distinguished boat clubs, the Clinton River Boat Club (CRBC) is not just the ideal place to hit the lake but an excellent way to get away for vacation as well.

Positioned on Lake St. Clair, you are only a short cruise away from some of the most popular spots and being a member of the club means easy access to boats.

Beyond the boating experience, a CRBC membership gives you access to their fully-stocked clubhouse, their outdoor amenities such as their tennis courts and their children’s playground, and the ability to find solitude as well as the community.

If you’re looking for activities and engagement, you are guaranteed to find it at the CRBC as well.

Pros:

  • Picture-perfect landscape
  • Location is entirely dedicated to the club and its members
  • Plenty of outdoor amenities and activities
  • Fully-stocked clubhouse with modern technology
  • Peaceful community

Cons:

  • The initiation fee and annual membership dues run into the thousands
  • The club is located on an island rather than accessible through the coast

Because Michigan is so close to the Great Lakes, there is an abundance of boat clubs to choose from. That said, not every boat club is the same and there are plenty that may not meet your expectations.

If you plan on joining a boat club so that you can always have access to the lakes without the responsibility of owning a boat, consider the 7 great boat clubs above when you begin your search!

7 Other Clubs to Consider:

While the 7 listed above are among some of the best in the area, there are also a few in the area that will appear during your searches.

To make sure that you know exactly what you have to choose from, here are a few additional clubs to consider when you are looking for a boat club to join!

  • Swan Boat Club:
    Located near Newport, Michigan, the Swan Boat Club is a small but beautiful boat club to join if you want easy lake access and an active community of fellow boat lovers! This boat club is extremely affordable and very welcoming for new boat lovers.
  • Clarklake Beach and Boat Club:
    Boasting a private beach for their members, the Clarklake Beach and Boat Club is the perfect club for those who want a summer getaway and want to get the most bang for their buck.
  • Edison Boat Club:
    Founded in 1914, the Edison Boat Club comes with a variety of activities, amenities, and access to some of the best spots in the area. If you want to kick back and relax, this club is an excellent choice!
  • Mona Lake Boating Club:
    Family-oriented and located away from the hustle and bustle of the cities, the Mona Lake Boating Club is a great option if you are looking to make friends, enjoy the wilderness, and engage in a ton of group activities.
  • Lake Nepessing Boat Club:
    Both a boat club and a venue rental space, the Lake Nepessing Boat Club gives you the opportunity to rent boats and host your own parties for every occasion.
  • Monroe Boat Club:
    Built on the values of community and volunteerism, the Monroe Boat Club will give you the ability to connect with other clubs, participate in the community, and share your passion for the Great Lakes!
  • Sunseeker’s Boating Club:
    If you have a sponsor within the organization, you can easily join this social boat club and enjoy all of the fun, water-based activities that they have to offer.

In Closing

Many people love going out on the open water, but owning your own boat comes with its fair share of responsibility. Things such as storage, maintenance, and transportation all fall upon you to handle whenever you want to take your boat out.

Fortunately, there is a simple solution that makes it easier for lake lovers everywhere to soak in the sun and the sea.

Boat clubs give you access to boats while eliminating the need for ownership.

Just by paying a membership fee, you can join a community of fellow sea lovers and access a boat whenever you want.

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