How to Get the Most Out of Your Freedom Boat Club Membership

by Judy Lash

If you are a new Freedom Boat Club member, you may be struggling with how to get a boat when you want one!  My husband Andy and I have figured this out and want to help you achieve this goal as well.

We live in Bradenton, FL and have been members of Freedom Boat Club for three years.  In all honesty, we have always had a boat when we wanted to go out boating. Weather permitting, we take a boat out twice a week, once on the weekend and another mid-week.  Over the three years we have been members, we have gone boating over 250 times and gone out of over 25 clubs. Just follow these steps and you’ll be on your way to getting your money’s worth from your membership

  1. First, sit with your boating partner and your calendars and determine what dates and times that you would prefer to go boating over the next four to six weeks.  You probably want to start with two weeks from now and move forward from there.  You can choose two weekend sessions and two day sessions to reserve at any given time.. Talk to your partner about what locations they want to consider first and try to be flexible with this.  The more locations you consider, the better chance of getting a reservation when you want one.  Here is a map showing locations in Manatee, Sarasota and Charlotte counties.  You can find this tool by looking on the website. Go to their main page (external – not membership) and pull down to the bottom of the page.  There is a lookup tool for finding Freedom Boat Clubs.  Put in your country, your state and your zipcode and you will get a map that looks something like this:
  1. Look at the locations you find and hover over the red location mark to get the name of the club.  Go to google maps to see how long it will take you to drive to the clubs you pick.  Now put your heads together and decide how much driving you are willing to do.  Andy and I try to stay under an hour for driving but we break that rule on occasion for clubs like the Punta Gorda one. Try picking 4 or 5 clubs that you are willing to drive to and the names of the clubs before going to the reservation tool to book them.  Also consider different times of the day for the highest chance of finding boat availability.
  1. Now log into the reservation system and click on RESERVE in the upper righthand corner. Double click on the calendar date you want to reserve.  Now click on the filter to choose the BOAT TYPE you are interested in and click APPLY.  Now click on LOCATION in the upper left side of the page and you will see a smaller pop up screen open.that says “PICK A SITE”. Scroll down to LOCATION and click on the aerial button on the right side.  You can scroll up and down to pick the Florida club you are interested in.  (If you go outside of our District, you will be searching for a reciprocal (different rules)). So now you can select different clubs and see what boats they have.  You can then either select a boat if there is one available that you like, or change the date to find boats at another time.  So be prepared to be flexible with dates, times and locations to find the best alternatives.
  1. Pick a date and time that works for you and click on the boat you want. You’ll see a confirmation screen with the details of your reservation.
  1. Review your reservation and click confirm. You’ll get an email confirmation  and a reminder of where to go on the day of your trip.
  2. Show up at the dock at least 15 minutes before your departure time. Check in with the friendly staff and give them your name and the name of the boat you reserved. . They’ll give you a quick orientation on the boat and its features, and then you’re ready to go!
  1. Have a blast on the water! Enjoy the freedom and flexibility of boating without the hassle of owning, maintaining, or storing a boat. Just remember to follow the rules of the water and respect other boaters and wildlife.
  1. Return the boat on time and in good condition. Check out with our staff and let them know how your trip went. They’ll inspect the boat for any damages or issues and charge you accordingly. Don’t forget to tip them if they did a great job!
  1. Repeat as often as you like! You can book as many trips as you want, as long as there’s availability. The more you boat, the more you save.

That’s it! You’re now a pro at working the reservation system at Freedom Boat Club. We hope you have an awesome time on the water and we can’t wait to see you again soon!

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Written by saltyboatingADM

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