Boat Ownership vs. Boat Club Membership?
Wednesday, Feb 04

Boating is one of those things that gets into our blood, usually as children. I myself grew up on the water and have been fishing and running boats since I was “knee high to a grasshopper”! This is something that is in my blood and can not be removed no matter how hard I try. As a matter of fact, although I loved my college years at Hocking College in the Hocking Hills, I still came home all but one weekend to be on the water! Lake Erie is part of me, part of who am I am and many people feel this same passion for the water. If you are a “water” person, chances are you own, have thought of owning, or have owned a boat. Different times in your life mean different schedules and priorities. Lets take a look at two of the most popular ways to get out on the water; Owning or Clubbing!
The most common way to get out on the water is to buy a boat. You have tons of options here which include new and used boats of all shapes and sizes. This can be a somewhat daunting experience considering the amount of boat brands and styles on the market. The first thing to consider is what type of boating you will be doing. Will you be fishing? Will you be diving? Will you be wake boarding? Will you be overnighting? The list goes on and on here. Once you decide your main use or uses, you need to figure out whether you want to dock the boat, trailer the boat, rack the boat, keep the boat on a lift, etc. This is where a professional in boating can really be of assistance to you. Someone who has experience with boating can help guide you into the best option for you, saving you time and making the experience very quick and painless. There are of course many more things to consider when buying a boat, but here are a few pros and cons:
*You own it, it is at your disposal at any time
*Freedom to use the boat as you wish
*Pride of ownership
*It takes time and effort to maintain
*It can be pricey
*There can be a lot to learn
The next option is to join a boat club, which is a much newer option to boaters. There are also a bunch of details in this but lets break it down into simpler terms. A boat club is generally like a time share with unlimited reservations. You pay an upfront fee and a monthly fee, in return you get to use the club boats. There are clubs of different shapes and sizes as well, so again having a professional go over your options is the best way to go on this. Clubs have their pros and cons as well, lets explore a few:
*Generally less expensive
*Less work
*Variety of boats
*You need to schedule you boating times
*You share boats with others
*No guaranteed spur of the moment use
The above pros and cons are literally just the tip of the iceberg on this subject. There are dozens of differences, and as stated above, finding a professional to help you through this decision is a big help. The first things I would look are these questions: How much time do I have to boat? How long do I plan to be out for when I use the boat? Do I own a home on or near the water? Do I enjoy tinkering with things and taking care of them? If you can answer these questions honestly, it can be a huge help to guiding you in the right direction.
If you are retired or have a lot of time to spend on the water, owning is likely the best option for you! You can go when you want, for as long as you want, and in the spur of a moment! You have time to tinker with the boat and you would likely enjoy the freedom of boat ownership. If you own a home on or near the water, owning may also be the best option for you. You have quick access to the water with a potential dock or lift at your disposal. If you are the type of person that wants to wake up on any given day and then decide what you want to do…boat ownership will fit your lifestyle better! No scheduling, no waiting, no wondering…you are off with the wind in your hair at will!
On the other side of the coin are the people who are BUSY! You may have a demanding job, a few kids, kids sports, yard work, and the list goes on. If you don’t have as much time to dedicate to the boating lifestyle a club may be a great option to get you on the water. At this stage in life you are already scheduling all of your time and taking a chunk of 5 hours out of your day to go boating is about all you can fit! You may not have the time or desire to tinker with the boat, launch the boat, clean the boat, etc. You want to show up, enjoy the boat, and leave the rest to someone else! You may live on the water or you may not but TIME is your main issue! If you can schedule your boating adventures 2 weeks in advance, want to be able to walk away after a day on the water, and love variety….a club is the way to go!
In summary……
The fact of the matter is if the water is in your blood, it is hard to stay away from boating! An amazing feeling comes over you when you are on the water and it can be summed up by the word, FREEDOM. No speed limits, open water, wind in your hair, joy in your soul! It may be a 10lb Walleye that gets your blood pumping, a cocktail at sunset, your kids tubing, a late night cruise, or sitting in sheer peace and quiet! No matter why you love boating, one fact remains true…
“Life is better on a boat!”
See you on the water,

Jason Clemons

Clemons Boats - Life is better on a boat!

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