Why we belong to Freedom Boat Club

Freedom Boat Club Crystal River

Even our dog Dao loves Freedom Boat Club!

We belong to Freedom Boat Club because we love boating but don’t want the hassle and expense of owning one.

One of the best things about living in Florida is being so close to the water. We live in Gainesville, which isn’t exactly waterfront. However, Gainesville is within an easy driving distance of the Gulf of Mexico, the Atlantic Ocean, and a variety of rivers. If you have a boat, Florida is a great place to be.

We don’t have a boat.

What we do have are house payments, two kids in college, and a fondness for eating to stay alive.

Shortly after we moved to Florida, a friend of ours told us about the Freedom Boat Club. We thought he was making it up.

It didn’t seem possible that we could have regular access to a variety of boats in a variety of locations, in Florida and elsewhere, by paying a one-time membership fee and then paying monthly dues.

When we visited Freedom Boat Club in Venice, Florida to learn more about it and learned that our friend wasn’t crazy, we promptly signed right up.

Joining the Freedom Boat Club was our 25th wedding anniversary gift to each other.

I loved that they didn’t just throw us to the wolves. Every new member receives 1:1 on-water and classroom boat training from Coast Guard licensed instructors. Each Freedom Boat Club location offers a variety of different boats depending on what you are planning on using it for. Whether you want to go fishing, or tubing, or just dinking around in the Intracoastal Waterway, Freedom Boat Club has a boat to fit your needs. If you want to boat in the Gulf or the Atlantic, they have power boats for that and will teach you how to boat in the open water as well (we are giant babies so that is never going to happen).

You can reserve your boat online. On the day of your reservation, you show up, they help you down to your boat, you go out on the water and do your thing, you call them when you are on the way back in, they help you off your boat, you pay for the gas you used for the day, and you leave.

That’s it.

Becoming members of the Freedom Boat Club is one of the best things we’ve ever done for ourselves.

We have taken full advantage of our membership. Any free weekend we have, we bolt to the coast to spend time on the water.

Due to their reciprocal agreements with other locations, Freedom Boat Club members can boat anywhere Freedom Boat Clubs are located.

There are dozens of Freedom Boat Club locations in Florida, and more are added all the time. We’ve boated out of our “home” locations in Sarasota and Venice, and have also boated in other Florida locations including Clearwater, Crystal River, Daytona Beach, Dunedin, Jacksonville, St. Augustine, Tampa, Tarpon Springs, and more.

Because Freedom Boat Club has locations throughout the United States our membership has allowed us to boat in San Diego and Savannah as well. Now one of the first things we do when planning a trip is to look and see if there is a Freedom Boat Club location in the area.

Joining Freedom Boat Club has opened up a whole new world for us. I can’t even remember what we did before we were members, and I am incredibly grateful to our friend for telling us about it all those years ago.




About Coleen DeGroff