Summer on the Connecticut shoreline is simple and relaxed, just ask anyone who spends time on the water. While maintaining a boat can be an expensive hobby, Carefree Boat Club in Clinton offers members all the joys of boating without the stress of ownership.
The first Carefree Boat Club opened in Washington D.C. almost 20 years ago, but now the concept boasts almost 80 locations across North America.
Jenilee Wirtz and Ace Andaleeb opened a shoreline office in 2016, with boats docked at Cedar Island Marina in Clinton. The club offers six different boat models to suit anyone’s needs – whether spending the day fishing alone or entertaining family.
Now that the days are warmer, the club has seen quite a bit of activity. “We’ve had 30 to 40 reservations already, and our members are out there boating already,” said Andaleeb.
Members have access to an online reservation system to secure a block of time as well as boat type choosing – either morning, afternoon or even the whole day. With a one-time initiation fee and monthly dues, members have access to a full-range of amenities at the marina – including a pool, hot tub, and playground. Wirtz said, “One thing that’s unique about our club is that we allow members to take the boats overnight.”
Wirtz shared that a prime perk of club membership is the advantage of being able to spend more time afloat, and not on shore with chores. “You show up at the dock to a freshly cleaned boat that’s ready to go. Go out, have fun, bring the boat back .... you don’t have to wash it fuel it, or maintain it .... we do all the work. Boating is a blast, docking is not so fun.”
Wirtz and Andaleeb both stressed that safety is a top priority for their members. “When you first come in, we make sure you’ve completed your safety course training. Based on our captain’s judgment, he will certify if you are ready to take a boat out. In addition, we have unlimited complimentary training with our dockmaster. We’re happy to do it, and want people as comfortable as they can be behind the wheel,” said Wirtz.
Another bonus of membership is reciprocity throughout the Carefree Boat Club family. Members can use a different club up to five times a year. Wirtz and Andaleeb added, “A lot of members plan their vacations where the clubs are instead of paying a lot to rent a boat on vacation. We have great relationships with other club owners, and we facilitate that for our own members.“
Considering the cost of owning a boat along with fuel and upkeep, Andaleeb shared, “For approximately $10,000 a year, an boat owner does all the work, maintenance, and has to put up with all the headaches. With an annual cost closer to $4,000, we give you six times the boats with unlimited usage, plus reciprocity nationwide. Our members go out 40 to 50 times a year, compared to people that own who may boat 10 to 15 times a year.”
Membership isn’t just about time on the water. Wirtz and Andaleeb also sponser social gatherings at the marina and just started a monthly shoreline cleanup effort.
Wirtz’s favorite scenario at the club? “When someone blows off work on a Wednesday and calls up and says, ‘I’m playing hooky, what do you have?’ And we get ’em out! To me, that’s like a homerun.”
For more information go to: www.carefreeboats.com or call 1-866-826-2846
This content was produced by the Advertising Department of Hearst Connecticut in collaboration with the Carefree Boat Club.