Thinking about: Freedom Boat Club - Good or Bad deal???

I'm considering selling my boat and joining them.
At this stage of my life, it's getting tougher to get out and fish when I have to think about cleaning the boat afterwards, trailering and launching, costs for maintenance, insurance, emergency towing on the water, etc.....

I thought I saw someone from Ft. Pierce here that uses Freedom boat club on a regular basis? 

If anyone out there has any input good or bad about this club and the benefits of joining, please let me know. Or, if there are better alternatives?  I've entertained the thought of going out regularly with some of the 6 pack operators, and charter boats.


Pura Vida!


  • GarysmoGarysmo Ft. Pierce, FloridaPosts: 1,011 Officer
    I joined when the Ft Pierce location first opened so I can give you details.   I'll PM you.
  • justintimejustintime Posts: 57 Greenhorn
    I hear you. Taking care of a boat properly is a part time job! Full time if you use it daily! While I have no experience or knowledge of the ft Pierce area freedom is at lake park marina were i used to keep my boat and that have lots of nice, clean boats docked their all the time. The reviews online are great and it just makes sense to timeshare a boat as i know a few guys who’s boats are more yard ornaments vs actually used. The head boat option is good too. There has been a trend to smaller boats, 12 passengers and under and although you pay more than the traditional 40 passenger head boats you have better service, less tangles and catch more fish. If you do go with a boat club I’d be glad to fish with you weekdays and try it out  ;)
  • hatcityhatcity Posts: 3,161 Captain
    Not Freedom, but belonged to a different one.
    watch the rules,.no two days consecutive, no overnites,.....
    watching the weather and deciding that Sunday will be good, you hope you can get the boat you want
    many times the boat will have issues; baitwell doesn't work, washdown also, rattles,...

    Put an outrigger out and the pole came out of the holder
    its a crap shoot on any of them
    I was not born stupid, just had lots of practice
  • russianbearrussianbear Palm Beach GardensPosts: 21 Greenhorn
    I agree with above comment. I can ad to the negative part too. They treat you nice when you signing up but then they treat you like s. I had a scratch on prop for example,  they billed me for price of the new prop. And they never even changed it. If they see you get stuck even briefly on a shallow, they will bill you for water pump replacement. The money they charge for gas is also ridiculous. I have 23 footer now and similar before club I know,  it cost around 50 dollars to drift fish. But it was min 120 and frequently close to 200 in a club. One time I took 18 ft Scout from them. The ocean was flat. They didn't have other boats available.  And to my big surprise I supposedly spent 23(!!!) gallons of gas. Can you imagine. But still all this cost is still much less then it costs to own a boat. It's just if you have a passion for it,  just a toy that you would like to have. Boat club is still a good idea for many people. And may be some clubs are different,  I have to be honest. I just hated mine. And I love to have a boat. 
  • Flight RiskFlight Risk Posts: 2,485 Captain
    Thanks guys for the input.  (also to Garysmo for the phone chat)
    I've decided against joining the club. 
    I did read the rules which are very constraining... they didn't pitch this, but on an open fisherman boat which is the only boat they allow for fishing, it Must be back at the dock by 4:00PM or they charge you $35. per half hour of wait time! 
    I would have to log 20 hours of time in their boats going up and down the ICW before they will allow me to take it offshore... which also requires a check-out. 
    I would be prohibited from using Jupiter inlet unless I received a check-out with authorization...
    Let's not forget the monthly dues... and the $3500. (promotional rate) to sign up... you don't see that money again.
    And, the insurance issues as well. One thing the salesman said is true. "The rules heavily favor the club"...

    I'm still probably going to sell my boat. But, I'll be using charter & head boats to get my fishing fix...

    (anyone looking for a nice 23' sea hunt ultra w/200 four stroke?)

    Pura Vida!
  • Soda PopinskiSoda Popinski GrovelandPosts: 11,155 AG
    Well if you do sell and decide not having one is just not fun enough you can always buy another one.    hopefully between the future son in law (25) and my boy (17) there will always be someone young enough to mooch off of when I get to the point I can't launch/recover by myself.   
    People use statistics the way a drunk uses a street light, for support rather than illumination.
  • bobert421bobert421 Posts: 397 Deckhand
    I was a member of the Gulfstream boat club until this month. Nice boats and they just added a couple more new ones. 21' up to 32' boats. They seemed to be pretty on top of things like maintenance on the boat. Some times things like live wells wouldn't work. Would tell the dock hands and next time I had that boat the live well would work. The main issue was depth finders. Probably cheap transducers that didn't work when well running. Early out / late return was never an issue if you scheduled it that way. You do have to show boat control for them to let do that though since you are responsible for docking usually in the dark. I understood that and after a few trips I asked to get early out and got it no problems. No driving test or hours to log. No extra fee for it either. As long as you returned by your scheduled return time no extra fees. 

    The Hypoluxo location is really close to the Boynton Inlet which they had no problem with me using. The Delray location is nice if you are just cruising the inter-coastal. They had the furthest range off shore as well. 15 miles were there limits. Other clubs were 5-10 miles. Weather restrictions if NOAA called for small craft advisory they would not let us off shore. Only once did I have to change plans. Wasn't too upset since it would have been be rough day off shore. Usually if the weather is that bad you don't want to go off shore anyway.  

    Dock hands were always nice. I did tip them regularly so that may have helped. 

    I did opt for the additional insurance. You could do without it if you signed the agreement to pay for the damages. I just did so I didn't have to worry about it. 

    My main issue was that I was not informed that the down payment is a yearly payment with them. So after my year I did not renew. The down payment was less than most clubs but monthly was a little bit higher. If I didn't have to do the yearly payment I would have kept the membership. 

    They do have hourly memberships where you pre-purchase a limited number of hours for use if you only want to go occasionally. I started with that to see if I would use it before purchasing the unlimited membership. If you choose to upgrade then they apply what you paid towards the yearly membership. I liked this option instead of drift boats and 6 pack since I control the fishing and not the boat captain. 
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