I bought my first boat 5yrs ago for 400.00....took it out when i wanted, paid for any improvements i wanted, washed it when i wanted, parked it where i wanted...sold it for what i paid for it a yr later...4 boats later, i have a nice inshore Ranger that I own and wouldnt sell it for less than i have put in it...maybe they can offer a reverse ownership for boats like they do for homes...i'd be interested in that.Too many posters with low/no posts to their credit singing the praises of the boat club in this thread. Interesting. Very interesting.
I see alot of negative comments in reference to the carefree boat club, and wanted to explain how things work... I was one of the first members of the club in 2003, and at that point they had 3 boats and 6 other members. I am an avid fisherman, and take their boats out an average of 45-50 times per year. since 2003 they have grown to over 330 members, and over 45 boats. Now im not going to say that i get the boat i want anytime i want it, but it is based on a reservation basis. they do not charge $8 a gallon, they only charge the prices at the pumps from the marina. I figure i have put over 2000 hours on their boats in the last 5 years. I am in my 50's, and have owned 12 boats of my own in my life, and can tell you that 2000 hours on a boat is approx 2 motor replacements running at about 14k each. I pay a little over $300 per month, run the heck out of all of their boats, and do not have to worry about a damn thing... Joining the club has been one of the best things I have ever done in my life, and If i would have joined a club like this 25 years ago, I would probably be retired seeing that in the last 25 years I have spent over 800k on boats...
Maybe my two cents doesn't matter since this thread started back on March 9, 2008 but my experience with the Carefree Boat Club was less than favorable.
My wife and I initially met one of the salesmen at the boat show in Virginia Beach. We were gullable and gave them my cell phone number for a point of contact. (first mistake)
After a few calls from them we scheduled a time and date to meet down at Long Bay Point Marina. We showed up on time but had to wait for the guy to get done trying to shmoose some other poor couple. When finially meeting, we were then cornered in a one-on-one conversation. (second mistake) As one of the above post describes, there was a small room that they tried to cram us into. I opted to stay outside and not get cornered any further into a completely unescapable situation.
The salesman tried to show us the big cruisers "everybody" was taking out and having the time of their lives on (which cost much more money for the "upgradeed membership"). I tried to explain our requirements of a more appropriate "fishing" vessel that also fit into our budget a little better. "All boats can be fishing boats" was his reply... I guess if I wanted to go striper fishing on a 60 foot cruiser running up and down the stairs trying to drive and tend the poles at the same time, all boats "can" be fishing boats.
When we got down to brass tacks (money) the $7000.00 figure was thrown out there for an initial buy-in price. But wait! Financing is available with approved credit check!
As one of the above posts mentions, you can get your own boat for the price the boat club requires (unless you're wanting a 55 foot Hatteras). And when you're done with the payments on your own boat, guess what? It's yours. You don't have to share, schedule available dates, or mess with boat club salesmen.
Oh yeah, did I mention they have my e-mail address too? (third mistake) After repeated replies to their e-mails asking them to take me off the contacts list they're STILL e-mailing me! I guess I should be thankfull they stopped calling.
I bought my OWN boat in May. I'm making payments on it, but it's mine to do what I want when I want.
As you see in other posts, some people may be happy with the boat club membership. I would not have been one of them.
I'm interested in getting a boat or joining a boat club.
I have never boated before.
I can sign up for a boat club for $3900 and $450 a month for 5 years.
That is a total of $30,900 for 6 years a boating including maintenance, cleaning and slip fees.
Here's their fleet. http://www.carefreeboats.com/upperbay/fleet.htm
I don't think I can buy a boat for that. I would think that slip fees, maintenance, cleaning and depreciation would cost a lot more.
I could buy a Sea Ray 260 Sundancer. MSRP without options for $98,000.
I would bet that depreciation of this boat is more than my 6 year membership cost alone.
If you can show me how to get a boat for less than that let me know.
A. Dont buy a Sea Ray
B. Dont ever pay MSRP on a boat
C. Dont buy a $100,000 boat if you "have never boated"...
I really would like to join the boat club, however, after meeting the Membership Director Leo, I received a pit in my stomach and am running away. Here are my top complaints:
1) Today's companies are transparent. Information is on the Internet. Carefree Boat Club, however, wants you to come in so that they can give you a Used Car Salesmen pitch. When I asked for pricing information or literature, the first answer was that they didn't have it. They proceeded to give a 20 minutes sales pitch and THEN actually broke out some literature and pricing. He absolutely forgot that he had told me that he didn't have anything on hand. ???
2) They tell you that membership is closed due to popular demand. Yet, they pitch you relentlessly to join. I don't get it. By telling me that it's closed, is that supposed to make me want to be a part of the club even more? What kind of outdated tactics are these? Had they treated me like an intelligent shopper and been upfront about what I'm getting for my thousands of dollars, I wouldn't have felt that they are as scheming as they are.
3) They told me that "no insurance" is required. This was supposed to highlight the fact how much cheaper it is to belong to the club than it is owning your own boat. Cool... I don't really care that much about this expense when compared to the huge initiation fee, etc... I get home with their literature that they finally produced at the end of the meeting, and there it says that you MUST get insurance. ??? Seriously?
4) The prices are extremely contradictory. One sheet says one thing; the other sheet says another thing. And of course the Director can "sweeten the deal" should you sign up today. Why why why was it SOOO hard to get pricing info out these guys? Is this what car shopping used to be like in the 80's? The world has moved on and yet these guys are seriously stuck in the past with the mentality of lie, deceive and trick the shopper. I have never had this experience before. After carefully studying the notes and the fliers, I can say that I still don't know what my costs will be. Pretty bad.
5) I am told that I can four reservations in their system at any time. Fair enough. They volunteered this information; I didn't ask. I get home and it clearly states that you only get four reservations if you go for their most upgraded package. The other two packages only provide one reservation at a time. So, if you book a July reservation, you can't make any other reservations for the months of March, April, June, etc... Again, I would have digested this concept much better had I not been deceived up front with cheap yesterday's sales tactics. Information should be on your site!! Let people shop online! We don't need to be "tricked" in person. Again - this is a generation long gone, thank goodness.
There are many other examples that I could provide, but you get the picture. Carefree Boat Club is shady. If you're going to lie to me upfront, what would our relationship be like once I give you tens of thousands of dollars? Hmmm... let me guess. Take my money and run - clearly.
SO, what would you do. The big thing is $$$. Your boat, fix it how you like it. Their boat, their RULES. They have to pay for the clean up when come back(OT). Every person thats wants to boat, needs to learn that it is not like a car. Rules a different, seas and winds, FISHING AREAS, etc. We have more idiots on the road than we can deal with, on the water it seems "so far AWAY". Not so far when the 45' goes by at 100' on plain and I am on a 21cc. Idiots and a**holes. On the sea or the roads.Seasick, this is actually the one of the best posts in the whole thread!
My wife and I stopped by a Carefree Boating Club yesterday and talked to the salesman. I have their side and other people's reviews. What I am missing, is informtion on the 'ownership' side.
Is there anyting you can add to this? thanks!
As the Owner of Carefree Boat Club in Texas this make no sence ??steeler28546 - we were told that we would have to signn a 5 year committment, and that the only way out of the agreement would be to either buy our way out or to purchase insurance that would pay Carefree if we wished to leave. Big issue on my part.