We’ve enjoyed seeing the shore from a different perspective (far from the crowds), docked at a harborside lobster-shack and enjoyed our lunch on the water, and experienced the bliss of a cool ocean breeze on a hot and humid summer day.
It has been a very memorable summer on the water so far, and one that might have never happened were it not for both the coronavirus (yes, you read that right!) and the Subscription Economy.
Let me explain.
Having lived near the shore my entire life, I’ve always enjoyed being on the water, but I’ve also heard all the old sayings about owning a boat, including “a boat is a hole in the water you throw money into.” As much as I longed to give my family the experience of boating, owning a boat would be prohibitively expensive and time-consuming. Case closed.
Until this year. With travel restrictions in place and the need for social distance, it was clear that this summer was going to be different. But childhood is short, and, while recognizing the gravity of a worldwide pandemic, I wanted my children to have some lighthearted memories of this time. I wanted them to have the experience of boating, and to create memories of being on the water. I needed to find a way to make this happen in summer 2020 — without having to buy, moor, maintain, winterize, and store a boat.
As the Chair of the Subscribed Institute, you can say that I have a subscription-first orientation. So with my mind set on cruising the seas, I immediately began to look for a Subscription Economy answer to my boating conundrum.
This was when I came across the Freedom Boat Club. The subscription-based boating club has a pretty straightforward goal — “to deliver a hassle-free recreational boating experience for its members.” Members can choose from a variety of boats at over 230 locations across the U.S., Canada, and France. The service also includes unlimited training from licensed captains, which is critical from a safety standpoint. Fueling, cleaning, maintenance, insurance, etc. are taken care of by the Club. As a member, all I have to do is sign up, select, and reserve a boat. In other words, I get to enjoy the experience of being out on a boat whenever I like without the hassles of owning it, docking it, and maintaining it throughout the year.
Interestingly, the Freedom Boat Club was acquired by Brunswick Corporation last year. A boat and engine manufacturing company, Brunswick and the marine industry in general, are faced with a declining boating population. “The whole shared access concept – the boat club model, daily boat rentals, peer-to-peer and fractional ownership – all of those are great ways to grow boating participation,” said Cecil Cohn, President of Boating Services at Brunswick in a news article last year.