Should I Buy a Boat or Join a Boat Club?

by Judy Lash

If you love boating, you may be faced with making a decision on whether to buy a boat or join a boat club.  Since my husband and I have been through this recently, I wanted to share some of the important things to consider when making this decision.  Keep in mind that there is no right or wrong answer as each situation may be different.  In fact, yours could be one where you decide to do both, depending on your finances.

So first let’s take a look at buying a boat, and let’s assume that it will be 16’ to 24’ long, like many of the boats owned by the boat clubs.  The purchase price of a boat like this, with a single motor of about 150 HP, averages between $20,000 and $80,000.  But the purchase of the boat is just the beginning.  Unless you live on the water and have your own dock (or store your boat on the water), you will also need a truck or a car with the right weight and a towing package to tow the boat to the water.  This is a whole discussion on its own and can be very expensive.  In our case, we had a Honda Civic and would have needed to buy a new vehicle plus a towing package.  This was definitely something that caused us to lean towards the boat club.  Additionally, you will need a way to store your boat, probably at a marina somewhere. Costs for boat storage can vary widely and will probably be between $300 and $500 per month.  Also you will have costs like insurance, registration, maintenance and repairs.

Joining a boat club, on the other hand, means you have access to a fleet of boats without the costs and responsibilities of ownership. Generally, the upfront cost to join is between $5,000 and $7000 and the monthly fees are approximately $300 to $400, depending on the membership type chosen.  You can also reserve different types and sizes of boats, depending on your needs and preferences. You get to enjoy perks like training, social events, and the use of an online reservation system.  However, joining a boat club also means you need to follow the club rules and regulations, and book your boat in advance. Plus, you have to share the boats with other members, which might limit your availability and flexibility.

So, which option is better for you? Well, that depends on your budget, lifestyle, and personal preference. If you have the money and the passion for boating, buying a boat might be worth it. But if you want to save money and enjoy boating without the hassle, joining a boat club might be a better choice.

So what is the answer then?  Well, it depends on what you are looking for in a boating experience. You decide.  If you want to talk about Freedom Boat Club, we would be more than willing to share our experiences.

What do you think?

Written by saltyboatingADM

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