Editor’s Note: We spoke with Caitlin Podaras to learn more about Freedom Boat Club. She’s the Senior Marketing Manager for the Venice, Florida based company with 24 clubs in Southwest Florida. New members can sign up to become a member online at FreedomBoatCub.com. Inquiries welcome at 888-781-7363.
Caitlin, please introduce Freedom Boat Club.
Headquartered in Venice, we’re the world’s oldest and largest members-only boat club. We offer our members the ability to enjoy all the perks of boating, without owning a boat. We have more than 400 locations in the U.S. (over 100 in Florida), Canada, the UK, France, Denmark, Spain, and Australia, and more than 94,000 members worldwide. The parent company is the Brunswick Corporation, a global leader in the marine industry which features brands such as Sea Ray, Boston Whaler, Bayliner, Harris Pontoons, Mercury engines, Navico, and more.
How does being a member work?
Members pay a one-time entry fee and monthly dues. We train every new member who joins through a New Member Orientation (NMO) that includes classroom and on-the-water training with a Coast Guard-certified boat captain. After the NMO, new members can access our reservation system to select the location, day, and vessel for their next boating adventure. Members have access to hundreds of vessels ranging from pontoons and deck boats to bowriders and center consoles.
Where are your club locations in the area?
Local clubs include Marina Jack and Hidden Harbor Marina in Sarasota, Marine Max and Laguna Drive in Venice, Ainger Creek Marina, Stump Pass and Cape Haze Marina in Englewood, and Laishley Park Marina and Burnt Store Marina in Punta Gorda. We also have clubs in Bradenton, Fort Myers, Cape Coral, Pine Island, Naples, Marco Island, and multiple locations in Tampa Bay.
Can a member reserve a boat with other clubs?
Yes, we offer members a variety of plans to fit diverse needs. Several plans include the option of reciprocity with other club locations including our international clubs in Spain, the UK and Australia!
Does membership require prior boating experience?
Members can join with little or no prior boating experience. Our comprehensive training builds confidence so that all of our members can enjoy their time on the water. We also offer additional free training as part of our support.
What would you like to share about your journey with Freedom Boat Club?
I had many positive experiences boating with family and friends while growing up in Southwest Florida myself. Working for Freedom Boat Club to promote fun and safe boating is very fulfilling. It connects me to my roots. It also allows me to interact with club members who are creating their own memories with their loved ones while enjoying the natural beauty of our waterways.