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Boat Rental vs. Boat Club Membership: What is the difference?

What Is a Boat Club

A boat club is a business that owns and maintains a large number of boats for its members. The members pay an initiation fee and a monthly fee to utilize the available vessels.


Not all clubs have the same number of vessels in the fleet. As a boat club grows or reduces its membership size, so does the number of boats. Typically a club is required to have one boat for every ten members. We have one boat for every 8 members.


What Is a Boat Rental

A boat rental is a vessel that is paid to be used on a one-time basis. Boat rental operations are most often run from marinas by the marina staff.


Rather than buying into a club, boaters have the option to rent a boat from a local marina without upfront costs. Keep in mind that the daily rate exceeds the monthly cost of a boat club membership.


The Difference

A boat club and a rental operator can provide a great service to boating enthusiasts. Each offers a great service, but each has its unique focus, advantages and disadvantages.


Boat clubs offer a wide variety of boats year round. Members have reciprocal access to hundreds of boat locations nationwide. Boat rentals are geared towards those who only need a boat for a single outing. Consider the amount of time you intend to spend boating and the costs of ownership, including storage, maintenance and services.



Renting boats or becoming part of a boat club are popular options for getting out on the water without owning your own boat. But you may not realize that this option has one big drawback: You'll end up being completely and utterly spoiled. Taking out a buddy's boat or buying your own boat will be an eye-opening and disappointing experience for a number of reasons:


The Maintenance:

Imagine your surprise when you return to the dock after a day of boating and find yourself on your own to handle the upkeep required after a wonderful day. Unless you pay for pricey slip rentals, the boat now needs to be cleaned, flushed out, and most likely trailered to be dragged back home. And that only includes the cleanup after a day of fun; what about the ongoing maintenance time and expenses your boat is racking up even when it's not being used? It's hard to beat the thrill of simply pulling back into the marina, disembarking, and driving home while someone else handles the labor-intensive tasks. As a result, you have a lot more time to enjoy yourself on the lake as opposed to juggling trailers, hitches, launches, and cleanup.


The Costs:

It will just seem unjust to pay for your own boat all year long, even when you aren't using it. Boat clubs are less expensive than boat ownership, and the difference is typically rather noticeable. You only pay for boat rentals when you actually utilize the vessel. When you choose one of these choices, the price of slip storage and continuing maintenance, insurance, and boat payments will start to feel like wasted money for every day you don't spend on the water. Naturally, when you own a boat, you pay even more when you ARE on the water because gas prices can be very high and a boat loses value every hour the engine is running. You can avoid the initial sticker shock of buying a boat as well as the unfavorable emotions that come with diminishing your boat's worth by renting a boat or joining a boat club.


The Limited Options:

You could begin to believe that getting your own boat is the obvious next step if you enjoy boating enough to do it frequently. But if you go this way, prepare to lose a lot of flexibility. If you fish quietly frequently, you may decide on a boat that is appropriate for that application, which will prevent you from taking a group of friends out for a leisurely cruise because you just don't have enough room for everyone. On the other hand, if you enjoy having a good time on the water, you might buy a bigger cruise boat and discover that you can't get into the creeks and other smaller bodies of water that you'd like to use for fishing. Planning your boating time will be quite difficult if your boat has a deep draft and requires a lot of water to operate.


The Permanence:

It can be challenging and time-consuming to sell a yacht, especially if it isn't in the same condition as when you initially bought it. If you choose not to rent a slip at a marina, boats lose value every day that they are left outside in the elements. While in use, they increase the number of hours your engine must run, thus depreciating their value. You simply cannot beat the flexibility of testing out a boat club or rental if you are just starting to learn about boats and are unsure if it will be a long-term pastime for you. There is no commitment, so you may stop renting or canceling your membership whenever you choose—not when the ideal buyer for your used boat finally appears. We strongly advise joining a boat club or renting a boat if you're thinking about doing so. Just be aware that it's likely to ruin boat ownership for you permanently because it's too simple, affordable, and adaptable to make having your own a realistic choice down the road.


What Is The Best Choice?

It can be difficult to decide whether to join a club or lease a boat from a marina. Making a list of the advantages and disadvantages, however, will help you make a wise choice. The following factors should be taken into account.


Are you solid enough financially to pay a yacht club's initiation charge in addition to the monthly membership price and fuel expense? How often are you able to be on the water? How many members of the family are boating enthusiasts?


Is a boat club nearby?


You'll get the right conclusion based on the responses to these queries. Keep yourself out of trouble when the fees are straining the budget. Rent a boat instead, as much or as little as you choose.


We all wish we had more time to spend on the water, but with housework, careers, and other interests, spare time is scarce. Don't join a yacht club if you won't utilize it, especially considering how much it costs.


Make going boating a family activity. Bring the grandchildren, wife, aunts, uncles, and cousins. However, avoid the club and occasionally rent if the immediate family isn't on board, so to speak.


Despite the fact that there are clubs all around the country, one might not be in your neighborhood. See if one is close by by looking at the list of locations on our site.


Choose Freedom

There is nothing like the feeling of being on a boat. Our mission is to make that experience more accessible than ever. We provide a turnkey gateway to the boating life by buying, storing, maintaining, cleaning, and fueling the boats so you don't have to. We also provide unlimited boating days, unlimited training from licensed boat captains, complimentary water toys, an unprecedented member-boat ratio, and provide first class dockside valet services.

Days should not be ordinary and boating should be an escape. Relax, connect,

create powerful memories and experience the freedom that comes with

the world's largest boating club. Your boat is waiting...summer won't.


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