Freedom Boat Club: Enjoy Cincinnati's Sights By Water

Freedom Boat Club: Enjoy Cincinnati's Sights By Water


Are you thinking about spending summer weekends poolside or traveling toward the coast for a beach vacation? Well, if being near a body of water is what you desire, check out Freedom Boat Club, right here in Cincinnati. You can access a boat and enjoy the city by water without the hassle or large costs associated with owning your watercraft. 

Matthew Carrick, one of the owners of Freedom Boat Club of Greater Cincinnati, has been involved in this business since 2008. He first owned locations in Cape Cod, then Greater Boston, and then the New Jersey area before taking over the Lake Erie locations in 2019. With Carrick’s recent acquisition of the Cincinnati franchise, Freedom Boat Club members can now enjoy unlimited access to Cincinnati, Catawba, and Cleveland clubs and boats, plus reciprocal rights to over 300 other locations in the United States, Canada and Europe. 

“You can see the location of all 300 clubs in the reservation system, and grab a boat in Cape Cod, Chicago, Florida, and now even Spain and England,” Carrick notes.

Offering mainly powerboats, Freedom Boat Club also owns a few sailboats available at some locations. “All of our boats are either brand-new or like-new,” Carrick explains. “They are three years old or newer. One day you can be on a tubing or water-skiing boat, and the next trip you can get a pontoon boat and go swimming with your friends or opt for a fishing boat. The types of boats available vary by location.” 

Freedom Boat Club is fantastic for boating enthusiasts, those who are new to boating, and those who are experienced sea captains. If you aren’t sure about boating but would like to try it, Freedom Boat Club membership is the perfect opportunity to calm those nautical nerves. 

“One of the great membership benefits is that we offer free and unlimited training,” Carrick continues. “For people wanting to try out boating, we have a three-part training program, most of which can be done online. Then we go out on the water with our training captains. Whether it’s one lesson or five lessons, we teach them how to anchor safely, use the GPS systems, and dock safely, which is everyone’s big worry. And we go on a ride with them so that they know how to get where they want to go. That way, before their very first trip, they feel comfortable and know which restaurant they want to go to for the day.”

How Does it Work? 

The cost of membership includes a one-time joining fee and then a low monthly fee to have unlimited access to the club’s boats. An online reservation system allows members access to reserve a boat at any location. “Then, all you have to do is show up,” Carrick explains. “The dock staff has prepared a clean boat that’s gassed up and ready to go. You come back, hand us the keys at the end of your trip and walk away.”

Membership includes all of the perks of owning a boat, but it’s about 50% to 60% cheaper if you consider not just the cost of a boat but also the insurance, the dock slip, and storage — to name just a few ancillary costs. “All of those fees that boat owners acquire are no longer your responsibility with a Freedom Boat Club membership,” Carrick says. “After you pay the joining fee and monthly fee, you get trained and start reserving boats. You don’t pay per trip; your only additional fee is the cost of fuel.”

Indeed, Freedom Boat Club entices boating enthusiasts who are new to the sport, people at the end of the boat ownership cycle, and those who are fed up with the hassles of boat ownership. And with no tune-up work to mess with, no cleaning or cleaning fees, what’s not to love?

Readily Available Reservations

One testament to the ease of use and enjoyment that Freedom Boat Club membership offers is that most members renew their membership for many years. While the club’s membership is growing, they maintain a 10 to 1 member-to-boat ratio. To avoid individual members monopolizing the weekend reservations, all members are allowed to keep four reservations on the books at a time. 

“So, you can’t reserve every Saturday for the summer, but you can book your four trips. Once you complete a trip, you can add another trip to the books with our rolling reservation system,” Carrick explains. This allows for reservations to be more readily available for members all season long. “The average Freedom Boat Club member goes out 15 to 20 times per year. If you have a couple of hours after work, we can get you out on the water quickly.” 

Freedom Boat Club of Greater Cincinnati currently operates from The Marina at Manhattan Harbor on the Dayton, Kentucky side of the river, and from the Four Seasons Marina on the Ohio side. 

Seeing Cincinnati’s sights from the water is amazing. Just imagine the fun to be enjoyed watching the various fireworks events from a different boat throughout the summer! 

“Freedom Boat Club is a great opportunity for families to see Cincinnati by water,” Carrick says. 

Are you a landlubber interested in getting your feet wet in the world of boating? A seasoned sea captain who no longer wants the responsibility of owning a boat? For more information about Freedom Boat Club, visit or call 888.781.7363.

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