9 Boat Clubs to Know in South Carolina

In Boatingby Shelby Sullivan

Everyone loves a day on the water. A boat club is a great way to get away and have some fun!

Boat clubs are communities or societies where you can pay monthly or annual fees to use amenities such as access to a fleet of ships or watercraft, use clubhouses and attend events!

There are many in the country – and the world – to choose from! So, how do you find the right one?

The following information is provided to help you narrow down your choice of clubs to choose from in South Carolina.

Carefree Boat Club

Founded in 2002, the Carefree Boat Club offers many locations across the United States and in Canada.

The annual membership for Carefree Boat Club is $3,000 (or $300/month). While it may seem like a high price to pay, all members are guaranteed clean, quality boats. This promise is due to their strict membership limit that maintains no more than ten club members per boat in their fleet.

Carefree Boat Club boats are reserved for club members only and none of them are rented out to the general public. Boat reservation is made simple through their online reservation system! Experienced boaters can get in the water quickly after reserving a boat.

If you are new to boating or boat clubs, members can receive specialized training from a Carefree dock master. All members receive an informative training manual when signing up for membership in the club.

The Carefree Boat Fleet Consists of:

  • Cruisers
  • Deck Boats
  • Fishing Boats
  • Pontoon Boats
  • Sail Boats
  • Water Sports Boats

Carolina Boat Club

Creating lifelong memories is the goal of the Carolina Boat Club, located on Lake Wylie, SC. This club offers several membership plans to accommodate your individual needs and requirements!

Carolina Boat club claims that they offer the lowest member-to-boat ratio in the boating club industry, so reserving a boat at short notice may be more possible with a membership here.

Their fees range from $3,300 – $4,900 per year, but come with many amenities and huge fleets of ships.

With their specially designed online boat reservation system, finding a boat to suit your needs is often quick and easy. They offer training for boat club members of all experience levels.

The Carolina Boat Club Fleet Consists of:

  • Cruiser Boats
  • Fishing Boats
  • Pontoon Boats
  • Ski Boats
  • Jet Skis

Destination Boat Club

Destination Boat Club considers itself to be much more than just a boating club. Their lake lifestyle involves family, friends, freedom and the joyful pursuit of relaxation. The owners and operators know that you have high expectations and do their best to maintain safe, clean and readily available boats from their varied, national fleet.

Once a member pays their one-time initiation fee, there are different tiers of monthly due memberships (starting at $199 per month) available. This is all you need for access to fun on the water. As their slogan states, “Just get a boat and go.”

Fun on the water isn’t the only perk enjoyed by members of this club. This destination also offers delicious meals at their indoor and outdoor restaurants. They also provide fully stocked bars for a sunset cocktail or to wind down the day with friends.

As an added bonus, Destination Boat Clubs offer accessible options for an all-inclusive experience for every member of your family.

Freedom Boat Club

If you are looking for a nostalgic membership in the oldest boat club in the United States, Freedom Boat Club was the first. Founded in 1889, the club continues to execute on its simple model of delivering recreational boating as hassle-free as possible to its members.

The club was purchased by an investment group, but two of the investors realized its true value as a private organization and they bought the club back in 2011.

The club has grown to more than 190 locations in the United States and in Canada. This means that membership in this club can be used in far more locations that the one nearest your own home.

James Island Yacht Club

Perhaps the second oldest boat club in America, this club was founded in 1898. This club claims that it is “The Best Club on the Charleston Harbor” and if the membership waitlist is any indication of just how popular this club is, then you may want to get on the list now. At the time of this writing, there are nearly 100 names on their membership waitlist, with prices starting from $199/month!

Membership in this club gives you access to many various activities throughout the year. There are sailing events, fishing tournaments, BBQ Cook-offs, and tennis clinics when it is time to get off the water.

For more insight into the club activities, visit their website and check out the monthly newsletter archives.

Lake Murray Boat Club

“Making memories with your family and friends” is the ultimate goal of the Lake Murray Boat Club.

Membership fees range from $2495 to $3450 annually and are billed monthly at $289-$408 per month based on membership level.

You don’t have to worry about maintenance, insurance, ownership, storage, or licensing because Lake Murray Boat Club takes care of all of that for you. All you are responsible for are the monthly dues for one of the three membership plans you desire, and to have fun on the water.

Membership with Lake Murray Boat Club includes:

  • Full Coverage Insurance for Members and their guests
  • Social events
  • Reciprocal guest privileges at other Nautical Boat Clubs
  • All privileges of Lake Murray Marina & Yacht Club slip holders

The Lake Murray Boat Club Fleet is made up of the variety of vessels you would expect from a top-notch club.

The Lake Murray Boat Club Fleet Consists of:

  • Fishing Boats
  • Pontoon Boats
  • Sailboats
  • Ski Boats
  • Sport Boats (20’ and 27’)

Membership plans include a one-time initiation fee and monthly dues. With your membership, you will not only gain access to clean, safe, quality boats, but you will also be able to access free fishing gear, boating instruction, and full-coverage insurance. If this group sounds interesting to you, call them soon as they do have limited membership availability.

Nautical Boat Club

Nautical Boat Club claims to be “America’s favorite Boating Country Club.”

Membership for Nautical Boat Club requires a one-time fee (ranging from $995 – $5,995 depending on your needs). Once set up, your regular monthly dues (and some money for your gas) are all you need to have some great fun on the water with family and friends!

The Nautical Boat Club touts a 97% availability-rate for boat reservations. This is an impressive number and almost guarantees that there will be a boat ready for you when you want one.

Whether you are looking for a thrill or calm, relaxing cruise, all you need to be sure of a fun day of boating is a simple online reservation. At the end of the day, all you have to do is pay for the gas you used and the friendly staff will take care of the rest.

Membership with Nautical Boat Club includes:

  • Unlimited boat use (300+ days of the year)
  • Free guest privileges;
  • Complimentary use of water toys (skis, tubes, wakeboards, vests and more)
  • Premium dockside valet service

As an added bonus to keep members excited about their annual memberships, the club purchases new model boats each and every year. Each model boat also comes with an experienced trainer to help you to understand the different features and capabilities of the model you choose.

Plum Branch Yacht Club

Compared to some of the other clubs on this list, the Palm Branch Yacht Club may seem like a relative newcomer. It began in 1996 but has since earned a reputation as a top-notch club that knows how to treat their members, not as guests, but as family.

Plum Branch pricing information requires email sign-up and therefore is not available on this list.

Their facilities include far more than a parking lot and a boat dock. This is a resort-style club with RV camping sites and permanent summer homes. Another amenity on the resort is their restaurant called the Lakeside Grill which is a popular spot for delicious seafood.

This resort also includes fun activities for the children so that the entire family gets to enjoy their vacation-like stay at Plum Branch. In addition, Plum Branch, in collaboration with 4H and Clemson University. In this program, children experience the unique lake environment and healthy management of fish and the water that boaters love.

Fun and Annual Events Include:

  • Boat Parade
  • Easter Egg Hunts
  • Fireworks
  • Halloween Costume Parties
  • Jet Ski Fishing Tournament
  • Wounded Warrior Concerts

South Carolina Yacht Club

Hilton Head Island is a premier vacationing and resorts location and it simply wouldn’t be the same without the South Carolina Yacht Club. It all started in 1989 with a special black-tie event attended by 700 guests.

The design of the club itself brings back memories of the “in” place to be for popular residents and visitors to Hilton Head Island. Beautiful art, ceramics, and décor bring the club to life and nearly take visitors back in time.

Of course, boating is the central theme of this yacht club, but attention to detail and an ambiance of elegant life on the island create a special sense of charm, unlike most boat clubs.

Because the island is a paradise resort, the amenities of the South Carolina Yacht Club match or exceed other resort offerings.

Fun and Annual Events Include:

  • Cruising
  • Harbor Racing
  • Junior Sailing Program
  • Special Midwinter Championship Event
  • Sports Center and Pros
  • Tailored Children’s Programs
  • Tennis
  • Yachting

Final Thoughts

One of these boat clubs is likely to offer you the best value for your individual needs as well as your various activity and experience levels. The cost of membership is also an incredibly important factor in deciding which boat club is for you.

Because these fees vary greatly and can change without notice, it is best that you contact each club for their individual membership pricing plans.

Whichever one you choose; you are just a few steps away from having fun on the water!

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