The Purchase of a Freedom Boat Club Membership is a Bad Choice:
Freedom Boat Club is a complete waste of money for those who purchased a membership. We purchased a Yacht Club membership and wish we had not purchased any at all. The Club did not delivered what they promised during their sales presentation. The training for new members is inadequate. The weekend reservations have to be made several months in advance. The boats are maintained poorly. Finally, customer service is non-existent.
New Members Training is Inadequate:
During the sales presentation, the Club claimed to provide new members excellent training. They claimed that the reason why the Club had experienced a few accidents on the water is because they take the new members by the hand and teach them all about the operation of each boat, navigation, and driving the boat. However, our training consisted of a one-time one and half hour training on one boat. During the so called "excellent training", we when out around the dock. The trainer showed us how to move the boat forward and how to turn around. Then, we tried it. Finally, the trainer showed us how to approach and dock the boat next to wall with no boat around. Then, we tried it. It all seemed fine until the next time we took the boat out by ourselves and we had to maneuver the boat around other boats and dock next to other boats. That is when we realized how unrealistic, inadequate, and dangerous was the training. We had to learn on our own and the hard way. The Club simply gave us a printed manual with a few rules of navigation but we had to purchase our own manual and local charts.
Reservations Have to be Made Several Months in Advance:
During the sales presentation, the Club claimed that members can call at any time and if the boat is available, we could go out on the boat. In reality, a boat is never available. Members have to make weekend reservations three to four months in advance; but even that is not guarantee that the boats will be available on the scheduled weekend. The problem is that after planning a weekend on the water with the family for several months in advance, they call you the day before one is scheduled to go out on the boat and they cancel your reservation. This happened several times! Even worse, the Club would not give members credit for missed reservations. The Club makes no effort to accommodate the marooned members. In fact, one time, the Club response was "....we hope you have better luck next time." Meanwhile, we had to continue paying the membership fees. Needless to say, we did not have better luck when the next time came around.
There are Too Many Members for Only a Few Boats:
The Club does not have the boats they claimed to have during the sales presentation. The Club's Boat fleet is composed of old boats, poorly maintained, and too few boats available for the number of members they sign up and take their membership money. More than once, after months of waiting, we could not go out boating on a scheduled reservation because the boats were broken and the Club could not provide a substitute. We could not even get substitute boat from the regular fleet. Since they do not give members credit for such missed reservations, we had make another reservation few months down the line. Meanwhile, we had to continue paying the membership fees. Once again, we did not have better luck when the next time came around either.
The Boat Fleet is Maintained Poorly:
Fortunately, we were able to go out boating on a few occasions. However, we experienced boat problems every time. The problem ranged from engine failure, non-operational trim tabs, non-working air conditioning, to non-working instruments panel. We joined the club to go out boating with the family; but, when the boats are not seaworthy, it is too high a risk to take family or friends with you. The captain of the boat is fully responsible for mishaps on the water. In the last few months of membership, we would make a reservation with the full knowledge that it was very probable that the boat would not be available or that we would have to return the boat to the dock because of some mechanical issue. Meanwhile, we had to continue paying the full membership fees. We did not have a better luck the next time around.
Don't Buy a Freedom Boat Club Membership:
We love boating in south Florida. The few times we finally able to go out, we enjoyed the water and the sandbar. However, the time between reservations, we regretted our investment in a Freedom Boat Club membership. It is a waste of money after considering the few times we were able to go out and the poor condition of the boats. The Club's slogan is "own the water not the boat." We say good luck getting on the water, even when, actually, getting on the water. People say that the two best day of a boat owner is the day the boat is purchased and the day the boat is sold. With the purchase of a Freedom Boat Club membership, we did not even have those two days. Even worse, we did not even have a toy to show for in between those two days. We want to discourage people from purchasing a Freedom Boat Club membership. We blame the problems we experienced while members of Freedom Boat Club to ineffective management and insufficient capitalization. Customer service is just non-existent and the club has complete disregard for yacht club members. Furthermore, the Club continues to take new members but their membership fees are utilized only to cover the necessary boat repairs. Be mindful that while more members are joining no new boat is added to the fleet. The management team will continue to be as ineffective as the day we joined and the Club will continue to suffer the shortcomings of inadequate capitalization. The Club will not get any better!
Don't join freedom boat club