Boat Club vs. Boat Rental: Which To Choose?
The saying goes, “water, water, everywhere, nor any drop to drink.” Much of that water is in the harbors, oceans, lakes, and rivers you may visit for a fun time on the water. A sunny locale, salty sea breezes, or the calmness of the local lake are all great places to spend some time on the water with friends and family. When you’re done swimming and lounging in the sun on shore, you may want to get out and do some fishing, water skiing, tubing, or other activity that takes you to deeper waters. Learn about Boat Club Vs. Boat Rental below!
While a beach vacation is the ultimate in summer fun, that “on the water” fun may be out of reach for many vacationers. When you do find yourself near the water and yearning to set sail, you’ll want a vessel that can handle all the fun, excitement, or relaxation you have planned. A myriad of factors goes into the decision of purchasing a boat, making that time on the water just a little bit more out of reach. The up-front cost of purchase alone is enough to shy even the most dedicated mariners away from buying.
The next question to ask yourself is whether you’ll rent a vessel for the duration of your vacation or join a boat club. There’s plenty to consider before making a decision that fits your needs and situation.
When most people look into any sort of rental, purchase, or fee-based service, the first question is often “how much will it cost?”
Locally based rental companies set their own prices based on their operating costs. These costs may include local and/or state sales tax, insurance, licenses, registration, maintenance, and/or replacement of old or damaged equipment, dock fees, storage, and more. Insurance, license, and registration, and maintenance often applies to the business itself and the boats in the fleet. Replacement of old or damaged equipment can get expensive quick, too. Hourly, daily, and weekly rates may be available, but long-term rentals only offer a small discount on the regular rate. Don’t forget that a premium destination charges premium prices! Popular tourist destinations and those with a high cost of living will charge more than the quiet seaside village an hour away.
The cost of a membership at a boat club like Carefree Boat Club includes a one-time up-front fee, and a flat annual fee thereafter. These fees cover insurance, license, registration, maintenance, repairs and replacements, and any other fees you would encounter through a private rental company. No matter where you are or how long you plan to be out on the water, the annual club membership fee covers everything. You won’t encounter extra fees or higher costs because you’re in a premium tourist destination either!
Customer service goes a long way in customer satisfaction. The way a business handles customer complaints or issues often makes or breaks whether a customer will return in the future. The boat rental and experience may have been top-notch, but a rude clerk or a slow-responding maintenance team can sour a client on a business.
Locally based rental companies often have great customer service, but a small shop with a limited staff may not be able to respond quickly enough when you have an urgent problem. The small staff may be busy helping the customer at the shop and be unable to answer a call or leave the shop to respond to an off-site need.
A club like Carefree Boat Club has a large staff dedicated to customer service. There’s a maintenance team to handle repairs quickly and efficiently should a problem arise so you can get back out on the water. Experienced rental agents make sure your experience is the best from the time they hand you the keys to the time you hand them back.
EDUCATION AND SAFETY
If it’s your first time at the helm, you’re going to need some pointers. From backing out of the marina slip to your adventure at sea to pulling back into the slip at the end of the day, you need to know how to operate safely and legally.
Locally based rental companies often rent vessels and gear to people who are prepared to head out once they get the keys. State or local laws also require operators of a certain age to hold a boating certificate prior to operating in the waters. This is stated in rental contracts and proof of certification needs to be presented before taking possession of the rental.
When you’re part of a boat club like Carefree Boat Club, part of your membership includes teaching you how to operate the boat safely and legally in accordance with state and local laws. You’ll still need to obtain personal licenses and certificates in accordance with those laws, but our staff can help!
TYPES OF BOATS
There are people who love sailing, others who have a need for speed, and still others who want to spend some time floating with a rod and reel in their hand.
Some locally-based rental companies may offer different types of boats, but the carrying costs – maintenance, license, insurance, and the rest – vary depending on the type of vessel. This could mean there may only be one type of vessel at a given company. If you feel the need for speed on Friday but would rather go for a leisurely sail on Sunday, you may have to turn the first vessel in and head to a different company for the sailboat. The first company may have only charged a small change fee, but now you have to incur all of the fees again at the second rental venue.
When you join a boat club like Carefree Boat Club, you can quench your thirst for speed on Friday and easily transition to an easy sail on Sunday without any hassle. There is a large fleet of sailboats and powerboats to choose from, so you’ll have access to the vessel that suits your needs on any given day during your vacation.
When you set sail, no matter what type of vessel you choose, you want to know everything is safe, well-maintained, and up to date.
Locally based rental companies are often small operations that carry a limited number, size, and style of boat. Boats are serviced after each rental, from cleaning to maintaining systems, but these smaller companies may not have the “latest and greatest” in their fleet.
Partner with a boat club like Carefree Boat Club and be rest assured you’re getting the best of the best whenever you board one of our vessels. Your membership fee goes toward maintaining our current fleet so it’s safe, clean, and in working order when you arrive, but it also means we continue to invest in our fleet. We’re able to purchase some of the best boats the industry has to offer with the latest technology and advancements in construction and safety. You’ll be able to enjoy a past favorite or try out something totally new.
Renting a boat is fairly simple when it comes to reserving a vessel and taking possession of it. The experience isn’t very different however you obtain the vessel.
Locally based rental companies operate by reservation as well as walk-up in some cases. If you reserve a boat with a local company, you may not get exactly what you want. Limited stock, and the ability for others to come rent without a reservation mean the exact boat you wanted may not be available. You’ll also need to be prepared to return your boat at the end of the specific rental period. A four-hour rental is just that. If you return it after a certain time, you may be charged for another hour of time.
By joining a boat club like Carefree Boat Club, you can reserve your boat well ahead of your arrival, or even the same day. You can be confident the boat you chose through the online booking system is the boat you and your crew will be boarding when you arrive. You don’t have to worry about watching the clock while you’re out at sea. Your reservation comes with unlimited use throughout the course of the reservation. You won’t have to worry about filling up before heading out, the vessel was cleaned and fueled prior to your arrival. Take the boat out for a quick spin or spend all day soaking up the sun.
STORAGE AND TRANSPORTATION
Just like we need a place to stay, so do boats. Some may be based in a marina, while others might need to be tied up outside of your accommodations. Unless those accommodations have a private boat slip or marina, this may be difficult for mariners looking to rent long-term during a long vacation.
Locally based rental companies are based at the local marina with their fleet moored close by, but once you’ve rented the boat, it’s your responsibility until you turn it in. That may apply to transporting and storing the boat when you’re not using it. The local company may charge an extra fee to store it for you, sometimes for a fee. Hotels and rental homes may charge for the use of docks or slips. You’ll also have to find a way to and from your boat if it’s not near your accommodations, or you can’t park it in the same place every evening.
Joining a boat club such as Carefree Boat Club, you won’t have to worry about transportation or storage. Your boat has its own slip at the club. You’ll dock and set sail from the same space every day. If you decide to switch boats, trading your sailboat for a powerboat, that powerboat has its own slip, too! You won’t have to worry where your boat will be or how you’re going to get to it each day. Simply arrive at the club and head to the slip. Your vessel will be waiting, clean and fueled, for you to start your day’s nautical adventure.
When you own a boat, you’re typically the one in charge of transporting it from place to place, launching it, pulling it back out of the water, and all the rest. It limits where and when you can boat, typically during the warmer months in your area or within a few hours’ drive. If you live primarily in a cold-weather climate, you may be boating only two or three months out of the year, making ownership expensive.
When you join a boat club like Carefree Boat Club, you don’t have the stress and headache of transporting your boat long distances so you can spend time on the water. You can head to your destination and visit your local club and be out on the water in no time. There are Carefree Boat Club locations with great weather for boating no matter what time of year it is. Pacific or Atlantic, there’s a club not far from where you are with a boat that’s ready for you to set sail, January through December.
Free Tour Before Commitment
When you arrive at your destination, after you get settled at your accommodations, you begin to explore. You stop by the hotel’s front desk and ask about the best places to eat, or the easiest access to the beach. You get in your rental car and drive all over, making sure you know your way around the area and how to get back without much trouble. You may have even read all the guidebooks and online articles about the place before you decided on it for your vacation destination.
The staff at Carefree Boat Club want you to be just as thorough before making a membership commitment. Make sure to explore the website for everything you need to know, then schedule a free tour at a club close to you. You’ll meet our staff, get a tour of the facilities and available vessels, and learn all out our operations. You’ll even have access to our safety and training classes that day, so you’ll be prepared to set sail within days of joining.
Contact us today to start the Carefree boating lifestyle today!