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Posted: 4/8/2017 1:32:27 PM EDT
Florida just keeps sucking me in, more and more, now it's boats.

My wife is in Tampa year round and part of doing it was having a boat or being on the water. There is no room to store a boat on our property. So when I do the math of having a slip, and a truck or tow vehicle down there, suddenly a boat club makes financial sense. Plus I would want another CC, she would want cruising comfort when I'm not down there. Boat club gives us both. With a boat club she can just go to it, use it, and be stress free. I don't have to work on boats and trucks every time I fly down.

I'm amazed I even like the idea, but I do. It makes a lot of sense for three or four years use. I know I would want pet friendly so I could take my Labs out some. Also overnight use for night fishing and camping. Some have these options.

What do you guys know about boat clubs?
Link Posted: 4/8/2017 5:08:39 PM EDT
I have a garage and small boat so don't know anything about boat clubs.

On to my point, we have a lot of dry storage places that will put your boat in ,take it out,
gas it for you and clean it.

Look up dry storage and boat clubs in your area. Get recommendations and do all the math.

An experienced boater with this knowledge should be here soon.
Link Posted: 4/8/2017 9:03:36 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 4/8/2017 9:05:10 PM EDT by BlackFox]
A boat is for somebody who has more money than brains!!

I don't think a boat club is generally a good long-term option, but it may be worth a 1 year membership in your situation. Do you know what kind of boat you'd like to own? Do you know the waters? Are you an experienced operator? Do you have the knowledge, time and energy to maintain it yourself? Unless the answer is yes to all four of these, it may be easier to let someone else maintain and launch the boat for you, make mistakes on their boat and try a dozen different ones to figure out what you like and don't like. I know a lot of people who bought hurricane style boats after doing a sea trial on a calm day - only to figure out they hate them later. The only way to know what you want is to try many kinds, and the club is good for that. The trick is to actually use your membership - A LOT. To reiterate - I'm not a big fan of boat clubs in the long run. In your (what appears to be a somewhat absentee) situation, it may be a good option. I would seriously look at rentals nearby too, and look at the break-even point (how many weekends on the water does a club make sense beyond a rental). My understanding is that the Tampa Bay area is fairly unique in how shallow it is and how rough it can get.
Link Posted: 4/8/2017 9:13:12 PM EDT
I've been around offshore boats most of my adult life (I'm 49) and have been smart enough not to buy one and have friends that own them I do have a colleague at work that joined a boat club and I almost shit when he told me he had to put 8k down to join and it's around $300 a month. IMO, if you're not going to use a club boat every weekend (weather permitting), it's a waste of money.
Link Posted: 4/9/2017 6:23:18 AM EDT
You guys hit everything I was thinking. I'm in my 50's, owned boats all my life. My gear head brother ended up as an engineer in the marine industry. So rigging and maintaining boats is easy and I actually enjoy it.

Oddly enough, my Bro said they use Carefree boat club now for some test boats.

I'm a center console guy, I went to Pro-Line boats 20 years ago. I have friends on Erie, Michigan and Superior with larger boats, so I have been able to avoid owning 26' and up stuff. In certain parts of the country I can also "borrow" some time on the R&D boats my brother uses. So I am familiar with a lot of boats and different waters. Only salt water I have done is Ocracoke Island, that is an interesting place for sure. Lake Erie is shallow and prone to turning to shit fast when the wind blows. I could see Tampa being like that.

I met a couple kayak fisherman on Double Branch river, and they gave me the feeling Tampa bay itself is a real shit show on weekends. That's expected.

We are in our early 50's, youngest daughter graduates college next month, we actually have the time to enjoy doing some stuff. We both enjoy fishing and being out on the water. We were getting ready to get a new boat last year, when she got recruited to Tampa. A good friend moved there, then he saw a great job for her.

The interesting thing is, he just joined a boat club yesterday, not sure which one yet. He doesn't fish, but his wife does. So life just handed us a great way to check it out further.
Link Posted: 4/11/2017 3:42:20 PM EDT
I've never used them, but Freedom is the big one in the Tampa/St Pete/Bradenton area. I am down in Palmetto, and they have a base at Riverhouse marina. Based off their map, there are 10 locations between Palmetto and Tampa.

Freedom
Link Posted: 4/23/2017 10:20:07 AM EDT
Got a buddy that lives 20 some miles from a saltwater ramp near Tampa (Plant City )..Jay bought a 40k saltwater version 21 ft Ranger.
He used it about one day a month to go out with buddies and slay snook... I ran into Jay a year later and he had sold the Ranger and joined a boat club ( Apollo Beach ) and just set up his day to rent /use a center console.... He told me the stress of owning a high dollar boat and using it under 20 times a year was hard on his family life and he was happy with the club set up.

The club would not work for me as I have a little beater house and dock on a river 10 minutes from Tampa Bay ... Im impulsive about boating , will walk out on the dock and check wind , tide , day of the week and run the old 40 year old whaler out fishing or to annoy older ladies or sometimes wait for a better day.

I think with the boat clubs you are pretty much on the hook to spend money that day...I can see the benefits
Link Posted: 4/23/2017 12:03:11 PM EDT
I have a friend that joined Freedom in Ruskin. Seemed like a lot of the money for how often he could use the boat when he told me but can't remember the exact amount.

Depending on the size of the vessel, I'd probably go down the Venice, Englewood, Cape Coral, etc. and buy a used boat from a retiree that needs to unload it and then either store it on a trailer in an RV/boat lot or put it in a Hi and Dry. RV/boat lots are pretty cheap and they are enough around to be pretty close to where you are living.

Don't think I'd be to inclined to join a boat club...
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