Have you ever dreamed of jumping into a boat and escaping the monotony of everyday life? Learning how to become a proficient boater from fully qualified captains? Attending fun social events with like-minded people?
In that case, you should definitely check out the Freedom Boat Club and its exciting monthly membership.
The Freedom Boat Club is a renowned boating organization that aims to provide the best boating experience for its members. Purchasing a membership to the Freedom Boat Club will unlock various experiences and opportunities for keen boaters of all abilities.
However, the pricing of the Freedom Boat Club’s monthly membership is divided into two components and varies depending on your location, which can make weighing the price of the membership against its benefits more confusing.
This article will cover the perks included with a Freedom Boat Club membership, plus things that aren’t currently included, and break down the cost of signing up.
What is Freedom Boat Club?
If you’re not familiar with the Freedom Boat Club, you might be wondering what exactly this organization represents and how it works.
The Freedom Boat Club has been operating since 1989, and it’s recognized as the largest and longest-running boat club in the U.S.
The concept behind the Freedom Boat Club was initially, and still is, to provide boating enthusiasts with a community within which to learn, socialize, and practice their passion.
In 2019, Freedom Boat Club was taken over by Brunswick Corporation, which is one of the biggest names in the boating industry. Although it’s only been a couple of years since this change in ownership, the company has continued to expand under the Brunswick Corporation, and more and more boaters are signing up every month.
What is a Freedom Membership?
Now you know what the Freedom Boat Club is if you didn’t already, but what’s the membership all about?
Well, the Freedom membership provided by the Freedom Boat Club allows keen boaters to choose from a variety of membership plans, each offering a different selection of perks in exchange for an upfront and monthly fee (more on this later).
You need to purchase a membership in order to enjoy the benefits of the Freedom Boat Club. Unlike some other recreational boating organizations, you can’t just pay for a one-time session – partially because all Freedom Boat Club members have to complete a training course before they can reserve a boat.
What’s Included with the Freedom Membership?
Before you can decide whether the cost of a Freedom membership (see below) is worth it for you, you’ll need to know what’s included in the package.
As we’ve already mentioned, there are different plans that you can choose from, so you can be sure that your membership will always meet your exact needs.
You’ll need to discuss the finer details of any available plans with a membership executive at your local Freedom Boat Club branch since the specifics can vary, especially on a seasonal basis.
With that being said, wherever you register with the Freedom Boat Club, you can always expect the following from your monthly membership:
All members joining the Freedom Boat Club for the first time will need to complete a comprehensive training program, led by qualified captains with years of experience.
The Freedom Boat Club training course is mandatory for all, whether you’re a total beginner or an experienced boater.
All training sessions included with the Freedom membership are taught on a 1:1 basis and can be adjusted to cater to all ability levels.
Training is divided into theoretical and practical learning, with the first part of the session taking place in a classroom setting. Instructors will then provide hands-on training in one of the boats.
Since the training is included with the membership cost, there is no added fee, and you can always sign up for a refresher class later on if you feel you need to consolidate your knowledge.
A Freedom membership with the Freedom Boat Club will also get you access to advanced sessions, which are available at different points throughout the year. You can sign up for these classes on a first-come-first-served basis whenever they become available.
Unlimited Boat Usage
When you sign up for a monthly Freedom membership with the Freedom Boat Club, you’ll be granted unlimited access to any of the available boats in your local Freedom Boat Club fleet.
Freedom Boat Club provides a wide variety of boats, including bowriders, deck boats, and pontoons – although the range of boats on offer will be slightly different depending on your location.
Once you’ve completed your training, you’ll be able to log onto your online account using your registration details and reserve a boat for your preferred date and time slot. You can book up to 6 months in advance, so as long as you make your reservation in plenty of time, you should always have access to a boat when you need it.
In addition to this, the Freedom Boat Club’s reservation system automatically ensures that all members get equal opportunity to make use of the fleet, so it’s as fair as possible.
The reservation process is very quick and straightforward, and since usage is unlimited, there are no restrictions on how many times a month you can reserve a boat from your home location.
With certain plans, you can also get access to fleets at locations across North America.
Access to Social Events
Part of the joy of being part of a club like the Freedom Boat Club is the sense of community that it offers members.
The Freedom Boat Club offers various social events throughout the year that members can attend for free.
Depending on your location, your local Freedom Boat Club might host these events on a monthly or seasonal basis.
Some club locations even offer fishing seminars for those boaters who also share a passion for fishing.
The club socials offered by the Freedom Boat Club are a great way to meet new people and form lasting friendships based on mutual interests.
Being in control of a company-owned boat can be a daunting experience, especially if you’re a new boater who’s just completed training.
However, boaters with the Freedom Boat Club don’t need to worry, because the monthly Freedom membership also includes insurance coverage.
The insurance coverage provided by the Freedom Boat Club works in much the same way as the policy you’d take out if you were the owner of the boat.
When you take one of the Freedom Boat Club’s vessels out on the water, you’ll be acting in the role of Permissive Operator. This means that the boat’s owner (Freedom Boat Club) allows you to use the boat without specifically naming you on the physical damage insurance policy.
Freedom Boat Club also has a Watercraft Liability insurance policy amounting to $1,000,000, which means that you’re protected from any third-party claims regarding your use of the boat.
What’s Not Included with the Freedom Membership?
Clearly, there are a lot of benefits associated with purchasing a Freedom Boat Club membership. The monthly membership includes plenty of perks and covers most of what you need to enjoy boat outings throughout the year.
With that being said, there is one key element of boating that isn’t covered by the Freedom membership, and that’s fuel.
You’ll be charged a fee for the amount of fuel you use after each boat outing. This fee will be in addition to your monthly membership fee.
Fuel flow meters are installed in some boats owned by the Freedom Boat Club, and these meters are checked immediately before and after a boat goes out on the water. This means that you’ll only ever be charged for the amount of fuel that you use per outing.
The reason why Freedom Boat Club charges for fuel on top of the membership fee is simply because members will use different amounts of fuel depending on their individual boat usage.
Another potential cost that isn’t covered by the Freedom membership fee is the cost of tips. While providing tips isn’t mandatory, it’s a good way to show appreciation for the dock workers who deal with departures, returns, loading, and unloading – all free of charge.
How Much Does a Freedom Membership Cost?
Here’s where things can get a little complicated. In addition to the specifics of the Freedom membership plans varying between locations, costs are also liable to vary from one location to another.
Plus, there’s actually more than one fee involved in signing up to the Freedom Boat Club.
First, you’ll need to pay the one-time entry fee, which varies depending on which location you sign up with.
Once you’ve paid your entry fee, you’ll then be asked to pay the monthly membership fee for your first month. This fee will be deducted from your account each month, but you won’t have to pay the entry fee again.
Just like the entry fee, the monthly fee can vary depending on where you are.
Based on averages taken from the different Freedom Boat Club locations across North America, you can expect to pay roughly $5,000 for the one-time entry fee. After that, the average monthly membership fee costs $349.
This means you should be prepared to pay roughly $5,349 when you first sign up to the Freedom Boat Club, and $349 each month thereafter.
While the upfront cost might seem particularly expensive, it’s just another incentive to make as much use of your unlimited boat access and other perks as possible.
Why are Membership Costs Variable?
Having read the above, you might be wondering why Freedom membership costs are so variable depending on location.
This is a fair question with an equally fair answer: the boating market is vastly different in some areas of North America compared to others.
Certain U.S. states and cities are much more popular for boating than others. For example, San Francisco is an incredibly popular boating destination, so the Freedom Boat Club in Florida sells its memberships for higher prices than some of the less sought-after membership locations.
But it’s not just about supply and demand. Freedom Boat Club has over 300 branches in operation currently, and some are disproportionately affected by external factors such as weather conditions.
Therefore, some Freedom Boat Club branches will operate on a seasonal basis only as opposed to year-round, which will evidently result in a difference in membership fees.
Certain Freedom Membership Clubs also offer the option for weekend memberships, which will be less expensive than a typical monthly membership because your opportunities to make use of the fleet are limited to Saturdays and Sundays.
Conversely, weekday-only memberships are available at some locations, which will also usually be cheaper than standard monthly packages.
As you can see, there are many reasons why a Freedom Boat Club membership in one location might cost more or less than another branch. This is why the Freedom Boat Club doesn’t advertise a membership fee upfront through its website.
If you want to find out exactly how much exactly a Freedom Boat Club membership costs in your area, the best way to proceed is to contact your local Club directly and ask about the membership plans and quotes.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I cancel my Freedom Boat Club membership?
You can cancel your Freedom Boat Club membership for any reason, so you don’t need to meet any specific criteria in order to cancel.
However, the vast majority of Freedom Boat Club branches require written notice of cancellation at least 2 months (60 days) prior to ceasing payments.
Depending on your location, this notice period may be shorter or longer, but 60 days is the norm for most Clubs.
Regardless of the specific length of the notice period, the takeaway here is that while you can absolutely cancel your Freedom Boat Club membership, you can’t do so on the spur of the moment.
Can I use my Freedom Boat Club membership at other locations?
You may be able to use your Freedom Boat Club membership to reserve boats and attend social events at other Freedom Boat Club locations.
However, if this is something you anticipate doing, you’ll need to make sure that your monthly membership is a reciprocal membership. Reciprocal memberships allow you to make use of the fleets across all Freedom Boat Clubs in the U.S. and Canada, as well as French locations.
If you’re interested in more flexible and inclusive membership options, you should ask your local Freedom Boat Club if they have reciprocal membership packages available.
Do I have to fuel up my boat myself?
In addition to paying for your fuel consumption, you may be wondering if you need to fill up your boat with fuel before and after your outing.
The policy regarding fueling up will vary between locations, but generally speaking, you won’t need to take care of this process yourself.
Whenever you reserve a boat through the Freedom Boat Club, it will have a full tank of fuel when you arrive.
Whether you’ll need to fuel up your boat after bringing it back depends on the policy of the individual venue, so you should contact your local Club directly to ask about this. Either way, there is always fuel available either at the location or close by, so fueling up will never be too stressful.
It’s impossible to say exactly how much a Freedom Boat Club membership costs because the content of the packages and the pricing can vary so much between locations.
On average, however, the one-time entry fee is about $5,000, while the average monthly membership fee comes to $349.
Standard Freedom Boat Club membership plans include training, unlimited use of boats in your local fleet, insurance, and access to club socials. Some locations also offer weekend, weekday, and reciprocal memberships. In all cases, you will need to pay for your own fuel.