Freedom boat club cost is among the highest in the US, but there are a few understandable reasons for that. It is the oldest club and the most widespread marine franchisor in the country. With over 2,000 boats available in the USA, Canada, and Europe, this reputable club provides the best possible service you can find in the marine industry.
Even though membership of a few thousand dollars a year sounds expensive, you should think about the advantages of this option. As a club member, you don’t need to think about buying and maintaining a boat and all expenses implied when you own one. In other words, all responsibility belongs to someone else, and you can only enjoy sailing.
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Freedom Boat Club
Freedom boat club was founded in Sarasota, Florida, in 1989, making it the oldest in the US. Nowadays, it is the largest club with fleets that include over 2,000 vessels in a length range from 16 to 24 feet (5 – 7.5 m), such as:
Most of these boats are not older than three years.
This large marine franchisor is active in about 200 US, Canada, and Europe locations. It is estimated that over 20,000 members enjoy the benefits that membership in this club offers.
Once you become a member, you can use any of their boats at the home port location without a limit. Plus, your membership plan includes an opportunity to sail at any of over 80 locations worldwide four times a year.
The best way to get the boat you want is to have an advanced reservation. However, you can always come to a local club and get an available vessel for the day. Remember to make an appointment at least six months in advance when planning to sail abroad. However, you can’t get more than four active reservations at a time.
You will also get a four-hour training class for a specific boat you want to use. The friendly staff will show you how to operate the desired boat before sailing.
One of the crucial advantages is two million dollar insurance policy. In most cases, it includes a deductible of $2,500 to $3,000, depending on location.
Finally, your club will organize dock parties monthly. These gatherings will allow you to meet and exchange experiences with other members.
The goal is to provide exciting and enjoyable recreational boating and a possibility to spend time in pleasant company. A retention rate of 92% shows that this boat club is a top option for sailing lovers.
Freedom Boat Club Membership Cost
The membership cost is crucial once you decide to become a boat club member. The first thing to understand is that boat club fees are not standardized and depend on numerous factors. You can recognize two primary pricing components you need to count on.
Freedom boat club cost
|Service||Price, depending on location|
|One-time initiation fee||$3,200 to $11,000+|
|Unlimited boating without restrictions||About $300 to $350 monthly|
|Seasonal plan, boating half a year||About $200 to $250 monthly|
|Friends and family (plus two couples)||About $400 monthly|
|Weekday-only||$200 to $250 monthly|
|Weekend and holidays||$200 to $450 monthly|
One-time initiation fee
Before getting a club membership card, you need to pay a one-time entry fee that varies depending on your location. This cost is based on local market conditions, including destination popularity and the proximity of big cities and famous tourist attractions.
When Freedom boat club needs to pay more for marina slip fees, docking, and office space, the price you should pay for membership will be higher. For instance, marina costs will be higher in California than in South Carolina.
You can expect to pay $3,200 to $11,000 for a one-time initiation fee in most cases. However, it can sometimes cost even more in crowdy locations.
Monthly membership plans
Monthly membership plan pricing primarily depends on location. For instance, membership in regions with warm climates allows you to use boats year-round. Such unlimited boating implies year-round service, maintenance, and staff hiring, making membership fees more expensive.
Some markets are available only seasonally, meaning you need to pay less for using boats in cold regions. However, fees won’t variate much since the club still has off-season operational costs, including winterizing and storing fleets.
Besides operation prices, Freedom boat club package costs will also depend on your requirements.
Unlimited boating plan
If you look for unlimited boating, you will need to pay about $300 to $350 monthly for such enjoyment. That money goes to hiring staff to work throughout the year and regular maintenance so that fees will be a bit lower in colder regions.
You can use any boat they have in their fleet without additional payment. The Freedom boat club fleet includes over 2,000 modern boat models available at 150 locations in 31 US states and Canada.
Since this club never rents fishing boats, sailboats, and deck boats to the general public, you can be sure that they are always available to you. Be prepared that using some vessels will require training classes.
This option is typical for cold regions when boating is possible only during the season. When you have boats for six months only, you should count on a monthly fee of approximately $200 to $250.
If you have a limited budget or have other weekend plans, you can pick this plan type. In such a case, you can take the desired boat each weekday without limitation and pay $225 to $250 a month for this option.
If you need a boat only during the weekend and holidays, you should pay $200 to $450 for this option, depending on the location.
Friends and family plan
As you can guess, this option is the most cost-effective. For approximately $400 a month, you can add one or two couples to your membership card. That way, you can split expenses into two or three parts and enjoy the same benefits for less money.
Always check available options in the Freedom club franchise in your region or desired destinations abroad. It may happen that some branches, like those in France, don’t accept weekend-only and weekday plans.
Factors Influencing the Freedom Boat Club Cost
Unlike the fixed entry fee in Freedom boat club, the expensive membership fluctuates depending on many factors, such as:
It is one of the most crucial factors affecting the membership fee in every boat club, including Freedom. As expected, prices will be highest in the most famous tourist attractions and significantly lower in not such popular destinations.
Fluctuations on the local market
The boat club fee also depends on fluctuations on the local market, meaning the membership is typically more expensive in metropolitan market areas. The price range is constantly between $4,000 to $5,000, with slight differences depending on this particular factor.
The local market fluctuations affect docking and slip fees, license fees, and office space prices. Therefore, the boat membership costs are always related to these expenses. In other words, you can expect that prices will be higher when Freedom boat club needs to pay higher stationary fees.
Boat clubs need to compete for spots in marinas like all boat owners. Therefore, available storage often causes sudden increasing or decreasing membership pricing. Additionally, preparations for possible natural disasters will affect the price you need to pay.
Maintenance and repair prices
Once you purchase a boat, you need to calculate the maintenance and repair expenses on time. The same thing is with boat clubs.
Specific vessels in the fleet and boats that require special attention and additional care will increase the final membership fees. These uncharted fees are not too high but spending a little extra money to get additional privileges is often worth the price.
Things Freedom Boat Club Membership Includes
Most local membership plans have some rules according to the local requirements. However, you can count on unique benefits once you become a part of the Freedom boat club, including:
Unlimited access to their boats
As a member, you can reserve any available boat for their fleet without limitations. You can also secure any vessel for a certain period through an online reservation system.
This way, you can ensure four boats in advance, according to your plans. However, you can immediately book another boat after using one.
According to the membership plan you choose, the club doesn’t have any restrictions on the number of boats you reserve throughout the year. Plus, you can use the desired vessel at any time of the day.
Thanks to cooperation with a few reputable boat manufacturers, the club always offers new and attractive boat models.
Unlimited 1:1 training free of charge
Freedom boat club provides free training for members. The licensed US Coast Guard captains conduct required education to ensure the boating safety of all members.
The comprehensive one-on-one training includes:
- Theory classes about the particular state boating regulations
- Rules and regulations in Freedom boating club
- Hands-on training, like navigation techniques and strategies at close-quarter and open-water
- On-water training, including docking maneuvers
You need only basic training before sailing, according to the club rules. However, you can ask for unlimited training and advanced boating sessions if you want to. All these services are free of charge.
Social gatherings and organized events
Regular Freedom boat club gatherings make it an excellent social club. You can meet other members and have fun at least once a month or during a season, depending on location.
Since this club has a national partnership with West Marine, you can also attend fishing seminars in their local stores.
Nationwide and international coverage
Besides the 150 locations the club provides in the US and Canada, you can get nationwide coverage thanks to the reciprocal membership. Your membership allows you to use a boat in Europe with a timely reservation.
As a Freedom boat club member, you will get the same insurance offer as a boat owner. Such comprehensive insurance covers you and a boat from injuries and physical damage worth two million dollars, plus one million dollars for an additional person.
That way, you are protected from third-party claims, and you won’t hold any liabilities after a possible accident in the waters.
Things Freedom Boat Club Membership Doesn’t Include
Be aware that one thing is never a part of a Freedom boat club membership plan. It is the fuel you spend while sailing. It is tricky to calculate such an expense, but most boats in the club fleet burn 5 gallons (20 l) of gas per hour.
So, you will probably pay $20 to $50 per outing, depending on desired distance traveled and current gas prices. However, you need to pay at least $550 to transfer to another location.
Boat Club Membership Downsides
Limited boat selection
Even though Freedom boat club has an impressive fleet, the selection of boats can be limited in some locations. Another problem is available vessels at a particular period.
You need to check in on time to get a desirable boat at weekends and holidays, particularly during summer. You will be only one more member on a waiting list in such cases.
The fact is that Freedom boat club is probably the best option you have in the US, with about 200 locations in the country and worldwide.
However, you are still limited to the locations the club provides. In other words, you will probably get stuck in the most popular places with many other tourists.
Finally, this club is the largest globally, but most of the locations they reserve are in the US, limiting your options in Europe. Things are even worse in South America, Asia, and Africa, where you are left without any benefits.
Training is obligated, although you have already finished boating practice. Some members don’t like attending basic training classes, but boat club regulations require them.
The membership fee is too high. Besides thousands of dollars for initiation fees, you need to pay at least $200 for a monthly fee. Sometimes, owning a boat or renting it is more cost-effective, particularly if you don’t plan to go sailing regularly.
The Freedom boat club is the oldest in the US. With 2,000 boats available, it is the most widespread club in this country, Canada, and Europe. The membership price is expected to be pretty high for the top-notch service it provides. It is on you to decide whether such a satisfaction fits your wishes and budget.