Joining a Boating Club? Consider These Pros and Cons First

A boat club is a great way to get all the benefits of boating without the maintenance and expense of purchasing your own ship. While renting a boat is certainly an option, rentals only give you access to a ship for a set amount of time. Boating clubs give members the opportunity to enjoy a vessel whenever they like throughout the boating season without the hassle of the rental process.

There can be some drawbacks to joining a boating club. These organizations might not be the right fit depending on your lifestyle. It’s important to carefully weigh the pros and cons of joining a boat club before making your decision.

Below are some benefits and potential drawbacks to joining a boat club.

Pros of Joining a Boating Club

Boating clubs come with many benefits:

1. Avoid Maintenance

Owning a boat is like owning a car. They require regular maintenance to function properly. Oil changes, system repairs, haul painting, and other tasks need to be done on a regular basis for boats to function properly.

Joining a boating club puts all of that responsibility on the organization. You get the benefits of using the vessel without needing to complete maintenance tasks yourself.

2. Save on Upkeep and Insurance

Also like owning a car, boat owners typically need to have insurance policies for their vessels. While small boats may be covered under your homeowner’s policy, mid-size and larger ships need their own coverage. These premiums can get expensive, and they might not be worth the monthly cost for people who only hit the water a few times a month.

The fee boat club members pay takes care of any insurance-related costs, as well as any costs associated with upkeep and general maintenance.

3. Reserve Your Favorite Vessels

Boat club members are able to take out different ships all the time, while owners are limited to their personal vessel. Trying out various boats means members can get a feel for which style they prefer without committing to a single ship.

Once club members know which ships are their favorites, they can reserve those boats with the club in advance. Reserving ships means you can get out on the water the way you enjoy best on a ship that’s been prepped for you by the boat club staff.

4. Learn From Experienced Boaters

A great perk with some clubs is to learn from experienced boaters. Like any other vehicle, operating a boat requires some training. Those who are newer to the boating lifestyle can get training on how to operate a vessel from an experienced captain before taking ships out on their own.

Note that this service is not available at every boat club, so it’s important to do your research.

5. Take Advantage of Multiple Club Locations

Many boat clubs operate multiple locations, so members are able to take advantage of different boats and marina amenities all over the country. This gives club members the chance to explore new bodies of water and experience ships that might not be available at their home location. Be sure to research location options before signing up for a particular club.

6. Be Part of the Boating Community

Many boat clubs host member-only events that give you the chance to meet like-minded individuals who also enjoy the boating lifestyle. Club members have the opportunity to socialize with others and potentially make new life-long friends.

Cons of Joining a Boating Club

Before you sign on the dotted line, it’s important to carefully consider these potential drawbacks of joining a boating club:

1. Membership Costs

Boat clubs come with a monthly or annual membership fee. If you sign up for a boat club but find that you’re not using the amenities often, then the cost might not be worth the benefits to you.

2. Time Constraints

Boating in general takes a considerable amount of time. It’s possible to sign up for membership and then realize you don’t have the time to go boating as often as you would like.

3. Boat Availability

Just as boat reservations are a benefit to club membership, they can also be a drawback if you’re not a planner. If you want to take your favorite ship on a last-minute trip, it might not be available to you due to a prior reservation.

4. Club Rules and Regulations

Every boating club has its own set of rules and regulations that all members agree to follow. For instance, a club might prohibit members from using vessels past sunset. As much as you might wish to sail under the stars, you won’t be able to use your club’s ships to do this if it’s against their rules.

Consider Carefully

Boating clubs offer many exciting opportunities for members to explore the seas, but these organizations also come with a few drawbacks. It’s essential to carefully weigh the pros and cons before committing to a boat club membership. Ask yourself whether the membership fits into your current lifestyle and if you have the flexibility to take advantage of all the benefits boating clubs offer. Whatever you decide, it’s best to always evaluate every potential benefit and risk before making your final decision.

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