Whether for an afternoon or daily, boating is a great way to enjoy one of Florida’s 30,000 lakes and waterways. Florida is ranked #2 in the United States, with an estimated 8436 miles of coastline, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
But if you are not regularly on the water in the Sunshine State, owning a boat may not be an option. Luckily, there are a few more ways to enjoy the boating lifestyle without the expense and commitment of owning a boat.
If you are on vacation at the beach or lake, there is most likely a marina or rental company that will rent fishing or cruisers for a half day. Unfortunately, rental businesses don’t offer the extra services found at a boat club.
But if your time on the water is a one-time experience, rentals may be the best.
Another boating option is a time share type arrangement. Time share boat information is similar to that of a condo or private jet. However, these agreements limit when and how often you can use a boat with blackout dates and extra peak season costs. And time share boat information contains a legal contract with long-term costs and commitments that may be difficult to navigate.
But if you would like to incorporate water sports more fully into your lifestyle, it is time to consider a boat club.
But what is a boat club?
A Boat Club is a private membership company designed for people who regularly want access to different types of boats without the effort of owning or the expense of renting.
Modeled after golf and tennis memberships, boat clubs maintain a fleet of boats for their members. These vessels are usually a combination of power, pontoon, and sailing vessels and are available by reservation. Coastal boat clubs may include wakeboards and even jet skis in their membership.
Membership in a boat club, whether a local group or a national company, requires an initiation fee and monthly dues.
However, most clubs do not charge for:
- Dock fees
- Non-use fee
Usually, the only standard cost for boat club members is fuel. And there are no security deposits required. Just reserve online or through the phone app and go. Boat clubs also facilitate boating lessons, fishing licenses, and other safety requirements to operate in state waters.
Limitations On Use
Boat rentals and even some clubs have limitations. If you want to use a boat on your schedule, owning a boat is still the best option. And if you want to visit a lake or island on a day trip, your boat club may not have reciprocity with other clubs.
Spending a day offshore is easy if your home base is near one of Florida’s larger lakes, such as the Ochachobee or Kissimmee. For instance, Lake Harris Boat Club operates throughout Central Florida. It offers power and sailboats on four different Florida lakes, including Lake Harris, Lake Dora, Lake Griffin, and the west coast location of Crystal River.
Determining whether to join a boat club or simply rent a boat for the day from a marina is challenging. The critical factor is how much time you wish to spend on the water and how much you wish to spend doing it. But either way, nothing beats a day on the water.