Why You Should Never, Ever, EVER Rent a Boat or Join a Boat Club

Renting boats or joining a boat club are popular ways to get out on the water without buying your own boat, but you might not know that this option has one major flaw: you’ll become totally and irreversibly spoiled. Taking out a friend’s boat or buying your own will be a startling and disappointing experience for a variety of reasons:

The Maintenance:

Imagine your shock when you arrive back at the dock after a day of boating and, instead of your usual marina greeting crew, you’re left alone to deal with the post-fun maintenance. The boat now has to be cleaned and flushed out and probably trailered to be dragged back home, unless you pay for expensive slip rentals. And that’s just the maintenance that comes at the end of a day of enjoyment; what about the maintenance time and costs that your boat is incurring on a constant basis, even when it’s not in use? The feeling of simply pulling back into the marina, hopping off the boat, and getting into your car to head home while someone else takes care of the hard work just can’t be beat. And consequently, you’re left with much more time to actually enjoy yourself on the water instead of dealing with trailers, hitching, launching, and cleaning. 

The Costs:

Paying for your own boat year-round even when you aren’t using it will just start to seem unfair. Boat clubs cost less than boat ownership, and in most cases the difference is a dramatic one. With boat rentals, you literally only pay when you use the boat. After employing one of these options, every day you’re not out on the boat will start to feel like wasted money as costs for slip storage and ongoing maintenance, insurance, and boat payments continue to stack up. Of course, with boat ownership, you pay even more when you ARE out on the water: a boat depreciates in value with each hour the engine is run and gas costs can be exorbitant. When you rent a boat or join a boat club, you avoid both the initial sticker shock of the boat purchase and the negative feelings that come with lowering your boat’s value. 

The Limited Options:

If you love boating enough to do it often, you may start to think that purchasing your own boat is the logical next step. But get ready to lose a lot of flexibility if you choose this route. If you do a lot of quiet fishing, you might choose a boat suited to that purpose, which will prevent you from taking a group of friends out to enjoy a relaxing cruise because you simply don’t have the space for everyone. Conversely, if you like to party on the water, you might purchase a larger cruising vessel and find that your boat can’t make it into creeks and smaller bodies of water that you’d like to access for fishing. If the draft of your boat is too deep and it needs a lot of water to function, you’ll be very limited when it comes to planning your boating time. 

The Permanence:

Selling a boat is often difficult and time-consuming, especially if it’s not in the perfect condition it was in when you first purchased it. Boats depreciate every day that they’re left out in the elements if you’re avoiding slip rental at a marina. They depreciate even more while they’re in use and adding to the running hours on your engine. If you’re just beginning to explore boats and you’re not sure it will be a long-term hobby for you, you can’t beat the flexibility of trying out a boat club or rental. There’s no permanence and you can stop renting or end your membership when you decide the time is right, not when the perfect buyer for your used boat finally comes along.  If you’re thinking about getting your feet wet with boat rentals or boat club membership, we highly recommend it! Just be aware that it’s likely to ruin boat ownership for you forever; it’s simply too easy, too cost-effective, and too versatile to make owning your own a viable option later.
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