As the old saying goes, birds of the same feather flock together. So if you were looking to enrich your yachting experience, it might help to cruise with a club. Many great yacht clubs have been around for as long as yachts have, and there are loads of benefits of joining a yacht club.
You might be thinking, I’m absolutely happy yachting on my own! Well, there’s really nothing wrong with that. But being a part of a yacht club doesn’t mean you give up the privacy and exclusivity of your own vessel. On the contrary, you might actually enjoy quite many advantages to improve your experience all together. Learn more about yacht clubs here.
What are Yacht Clubs?
First things first - what exactly is a yacht club? Well, as the name suggests, a yacht club is a sporting group that’s exclusively reserved for yacht owners and in some cases lessees. Their purpose is to organize, promote, and regulate various events and programs in and out of the water to benefit yacht owners - especially those involved in the group. These clubs have their own port, dock, and club amenities that constituents can gain access to once they're a part of the group.
But unlike other clubs, a yacht club is also a social club in that a lot of times, its members get together simply for the heck of it. You can think of it like having a bunch of golf buddies that you play with once a week just for fun, except instead of golf, it’s sailing boats. It’s also worth mentioning that unlike your casual golf group, yacht clubs have membership fees.
What are the Benefits of Joining a Yacht Club?
If you thought you were already having the time of your life sailing and boating with just your family, wait until you learn the benefits of joining a boat club, which include:
Exclusive, Organized Activities
From fancy wine and dine events, to tournaments, to family fairs, yacht club organizations always have something fun up their sleeves for friends and family.
It's their objective to strengthen the ties that bond their members together, so it’s not uncommon to get invites to routine holiday and race events and other parties and activities throughout the year. They encourage boat owners to race, cruise, and just enjoy the water together for a new way to experience boating.
Access to World Class Amenities
Say goodbye to that dingy old port. Yacht clubs will have their own facilities where boat owners can get together for events and parties. These locations will typically have all the amenities you would expect from a luxury, world class resort or event venue, including swimming pools, lounges, restaurants, spas, gyms, and more.
Access is exclusive to those who are part of the boat club, but some boat clubs will open some amenities to the community at a fee to give the club some extra income. You might also find yourself in the territory of high end boats used for cruises if your club has one at the dock.
Meeting New Friends
Yacht clubs open the doors for you to meet new people in the same sphere. Boating can become doubly fun when there are other friends, families, and individuals that you can share the experience with. And it's no doubt that yacht clubs give access to a wholesome, new boating community.
Some yacht owners find that friendships made at a yacht club can become the reason for them to continue on with the hobby, making the whole experience of boat sailing and racing all the more rewarding. The reciprocity is perhaps another thing worth signing up for, with many of the club's members showing great camaraderie for fellow yacht club members.
Learning Opportunities and Demonstrations
If you’ve got kids, then your yacht club might just help them appreciate boating all the more. Most clubs offer youth or junior learning classes, programs, and sailing demonstrations for junior constituents, teaching them the basics of boats, cruising, and racing.
For most kids and junior yacht club members, the extra curricular activity also helps hone their socialization skills, gaining them friends and giving them a chance to exercise their potentials outside of the classroom.
Secure Boat Storage
Once you pay those membership fees, you gain access to a spot in the yacht club facility. Club boats have the privilege of parking at the club facility instead of having to rent out a slip at the local port or marina.
Some yacht clubs also give you the option of dry storage especially if you want to give your boat a break from sailing, or when it's winter time.
How Much Does Yacht Club Membership Cost?
Well, the fees aren’t set in stone. There are lots of factors that can affect the cost of membership, including the longevity of the club, the size of the fleet, their facilities, the perks they offer, and the size of their club. On average however, you can expect to pay as little as $900 or as much as $4,000 a year for membership. But some clubs like the illustrious New York Yacht Club cruises into five figure territory for a yearlong membership.
In terms of payment options, you might be able to pay for it on a monthly basis. This gives you the flexibility of pulling out your club membership in case you find that it just doesn’t meet your needs. Other clubs offer a discount for prospective members who might want to pay for the whole year in full.
Another thing about joining is that there are often tiers or levels. If you go for a basic option, you can expect to pay less. But that also means you might not get access to the whole range of benefits and programs that they offer. As for those who want to go for the highest tier of membership, there might be some hidden perks that they don’t advertise to the general public to sweeten the deal.
Should You Join a Yacht Club?
That really depends. If you’re something of a social butterfly, you have a family and kids that you want to sail with, and you want a home base for your yacht complete with all the fancy amenities that your local marina doesn’t offer, then joining a yacht club might be worth it. A yacht club can also be a good choice for people who are involved in jobs that require a wide network of peers and contacts, or for those who enjoy the benefits of reciprocity among people in a community.
However if you enjoy boating and cruising alone, if you’re not really the kind to attend activities, events, and programs, your children or family aren't exactly boaters, and you don’t see any problems with the port or dock that you usually go to, then why join a yacht club? While the advantages are many and definitely impressive, there’s no denying that it’s still not for all yacht owners.
Join the Club
The benefits of joining a yacht club are undoubtedly great and worth considering. But even then, it’s not for everyone. So make sure you consider your preferences and your boating behavior before you step into the world of organized boating. For the most part however, people who join yacht clubs find more reason to stick with their yachting hobby, putting them and their children right in the realm of various organized activities, events, and like-minded people who reinforce their love for yachting.