Stepping Into the Boat Shoes

For me salt water runs through my veins, and with that so does the urge to own a boat. So it wasn't too long after I moved out that I bought my own boat. It wasn't anything special, but it was mine. One question that friends often ask me is how they can get into boating, they make suggestions like joining a boating club, etc.

I recently got the question again so I wanted to break it down a little, and see what you think so that you can make an informed decision of your own.

One way is the club, but look at about spending $300 a month (docking a boat is expensive as well) but with a club you can reserve a boat for whatever day you are planning.

When you get into boating there are lots of questions to be considered.

Some of them include:

  1. Honestly, how often are you really going to use the boat?
  2. What does a typical boat rental cost in your area? A one off rental is often more affordable than being in a club!
  3. When you join a club, will you be able to keep the boat out an extra hour, day, etc, can you? Not all of them allow for this so keep an eye out for it when you are doing the paper work.
  4. Cost. Are there any other costs to taking the boat out (gas, etc)? You bet! And you will probably spend about twice on fuel than for a car traveling the same distance.
  5. When you join a club, do they have enough boats? Not all clubs can adequately serves your purposes on popular weekends, some of these include: memorial day, labor day, etc?
  6. What happens when the club boat has a mechanical issue, who pays? Hint, it might be you!
  7. Age plays a role here as well, does the club have new boats, older boats that are well maintained? You will find a mix in most clubs, but this can be an indication that they are worth the price.
  8. Let me just through this out there, how is insurance handled?

That list should get you going and help you make some thoughts on what it means to join, what is essentially a timeshare. Clubs cost a lot, owning a boat costs a lot. And either might be a good fit for you.

But if you decide to buy, there is the added expense of finding a place to store it. And they charge by the foot if you dock it. If you do not have a suitable place to keep it docked, you will need to keep it on a trailer which means that you need to have a suitable tow vehicle.


  • Do you have the money on hand to buy a boat outright? If not you will have to find another way to finance it, and if that is the case the extra expense that come with it might be out of the question.
  • Then, unless you have experience, you will have to find one that fits. Do you know for sure what kind of boat you want?

Getting into boating isn't hard, especially if you have the money, but the reason most people turn away from the idea is because they do not realize how much goes along with it.

Clubs might be a way in to the world if you've never owned a boat before. They allow you to discover if it's right for you. But don't be surprised when you have to sign a big contract. And shell out thousands a year.

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