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Boat Ownership vs. Boat Rental

At Your Boat Club, everybody from our founders to our newest employees are here because we are passionate about seeing our clients spending quality time on the water with family and friends. Depending on the circumstances you find yourself in, there are a few options to maximize your time on the water while reducing the hassle associated regular outings. In the following article we will take a look at all three.

Boat Ownership

One of the most obvious options is boat ownership which is what most people consider first as this has been the only option for many boat enthusiasts for years, depending on their physical location. The thing about boat ownership that bums us out is that so many people who would love to be on the water with their family don’t ever make boating a part of their life because of the hefty upfront cost. We also, unfortunately, have seen roughly the same amount of people who do decide to make the investment sell their boat a few short years later. These sales shortly after purchase are often due to lack of room, selling the vehicle used for towing due to maintenance or mechanical issues, and the most common reason for selling within three years of purchase is the large amount of cost and time associated with boat maintenance/storage. 

Now with this being said there are times where purchasing a boat makes all the sense in the world. Here are some items you should check off your list when weighing the pros and cons of boat ownership vs. boat rental:

  • You should have a strong (low-mileage) towing vehicle.
  • You should have space to store the boat (without significant storage fees).
  • You should plan to go out on the water at least 10-15 times per year.
  • You should enjoy working with your hands and be mechanically minded to reduce outsourced maintenance costs.
  • You have at least one willing friend or family member who can help you launch and load the boat at the beginning and end of each outing.
  • You live in an area geographically that does not have a boat rental or membership option.

If all of these sound like you, boat ownership may very well be the best option for you. 

Boat Rental

For those who cannot tick all of the items off the list above it may be a good idea to look into boat rental options near you (if those options exist).  Not all popular boating destinations have boat rental options, but if your favorite destination near you does offer rental options, it would be a good idea to request further information. Boat rentals make a great deal of sense if:

  • You do not plan to go out on the water ten times or more per year.
  • You do not have a reliable towing vehicle that you plan on having for many years to come.
  • You do not want to give up space at your home to store your boat in the off-season.
  • You do not want to pay storage fees to eliminate storing the boat at your home in the off-season.
  • You do not want increased insurance costs year-round even on months where the boat will not be in use.
  • You do not want to worry about having to do routine maintenance on the boat yourself or pay to outsource it.

If any of the above-mentioned items sound like they may put you in the category of people who purchase a boat only to sell it shortly after, boat rental vs. boat ownership may be the best option for you.

Boat Membership

Boat membership options are unfortunately not available at many popular boating destinations, but if you have access to such an option, it is an option worth exploring. Boat memberships are great because they offer all of the perks of not only owning a boat but owning a variety of boats. This allows you to take a party boat out one weekend when you have the whole family with you, and a fishing boat when you want to hit the lake for some fishing and relaxation. In our time speaking with people at boat shows and in our Your Boat Club offices we have found that most people who sell their boats shortly after purchase don’t do so because they got tired of boating, they got tired of doing the same kind of boating day-in-and-day-out. With a boat club membership, you pay a fixed fee and have access to every type of boat in the fleet.

Boat club memberships also offer perks that boat ownership does not. These include:

  • The ability to go boating on a whim without having to worry about spending hours preparing the boat, truck, and trailer.
  • Regaining space in your garage or side yard that would be needed for boat storage even in the off-season.
  • Access to dozens of boats and styles to suit your needs and desires weekend-to-weekend.
  • Decreased insurance costs that boat owners commonly pay even when the boat is not in use.
  • Increased time to spend with friends and family that would normally be spent cleaning the boat after use.
  • The ability to own whatever vehicles you like without the necessity for a towing vehicle that may not even be used outside of boating.
  • The elimination of all regular maintenance that you ordinarily would have to perform yourself or pay a hefty fee to outsource.

Boat club memberships are not available everywhere, but if you are lucky enough to live in Minnesota or have a boat club near you, it is definitely and option worth exploring. 

We hope that this article has been helpful in identifying the type of boating options that will best serve you and your family. As always if you have any questions about the pros and cons of boat ownership vs. boat rental or boat rental vs. boat memberships, our knowledgeable staff is here to assist you.

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