Owning a Boat vs Joining a Boat Club

by Lisa Almeida

I get told all the time, we are trying to decide between buying a boat, or joining a club, can you help us decide. The answer is yes, I am the perfect person for that, because I own not one, but two boats, (well I am The Boatanista)! I also own The Freedom Boat Club, so I understand who fits both.

How much do you love boating? Do you enjoy the rush of fresh air in your face and sense of freedom as you glide across the water?……………….

A better question would be, who doesn’t love boating?

The good news is that there are now more options than ever to enjoy this wonderful outdoor recreation. One of the most frequent questions I hear is this: Is it better to buy a boat or to join Freedom Boat Club? The answer: It depends on your specific circumstances and preferences. I have a lifetime of experience with owning a variety of boats and also know the advantages of belonging to Freedom Boat Club. Let me share a few insights:

  • Here are the best reasons to buy a boat:
  • If you enjoy tinkering with your boat on the dock, doing basic maintenance and cleaning chores
  • If you get heavy use out of your boat and take it out almost every weekend and on all holidays; the entire weekend.
  • You live on the water and have a dock;
  • You live close to a marina or boat ramp and do not mind pulling a trailer or paying dock fees
  • You like to be out on a boat all night, and you have no qualms about driving at night.
  • You know exactly what type of boat you want and are satisfied with one model
  • You can do basic repairs and maintenance, such as oil changes and replacing filters
  • You are a serious fisherman who wants 24-hour access to a boat.
  • You want a cabin cruiser, or a boat larger than 24 ft.


Best reasons to join Freedom Boat Club:

  • You do not enjoy spending your time cleaning or maintain a boat
  • You want access to a variety of different models, from fishing boats and deck boats to pontoon boats and wakeboard models
  • You want to avoid unexpected expenses
  • You enjoy travel and want access to a boat wherever you go
  • You are not a long-time boater and appreciate access to expert instruction and support
  • You feel safer knowing there is always dock staff on duty when you are out
  • You prefer not to deal with trailers, boat ramps or storage issues;
  • You are a seasoned boater who no longer wants to deal with all physical demands and time demands involved with boat ownership;
  • You loathe the idea of owning a boat that sits idle for long periods of time, and you understand the mechanical risks associated with that
  • You want to spend more time out on the water and less time on the dock.
  • You want to just weave boating into your already busy schedule.

Both decisions can be rewarding, you just have to decide which is better for your family.

If you have other insights about this, please let me know.

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Boating is not just something I do. It is a part of who I am, the core of my being.  My parents were competitive water skiers and performed at Cypress Gardens. When I was born, some accommodations had to be made, but remaining on dry land for extended periods of time was not a consideration. So, my parents gently placed their newborn into a baby carrier and securely strapped it down in the bow of the boat. My mom said when the engine started, I would go to sleep. When it stopped, I would wake up. She would feed me, crank up the engine again, and I went back to slumber-land while mom and dad went back to work in the wake. I bought my first boat when I was 24 and I have been a Boat US member ever since, that was in 1982.My deepest joy has always been to share my love of the water with others. I am so blessed to live in my city, Jacksonville, Florida that has such a beautiful river, intracoastal waterway, and easy access to the ocean. I have taught countless people to ski, or get up one ski for the first time. I even taught a one-legged friend to hydroslide. My operating principle became, “If you can go by boat, why would you go by car?” I am proud to say I have been to many Jaguar games, but never by car, only by boat. As a women boater I relish the chance to help women become confident, enthusiastic boaters.