We have belonged to a couple of yacht clubs. They have pros and cons. The Navy
Yacht Club was so cheap and casual, and since we were already part of the community, there was no downside whatsoever. We have belonged to one yacht club in civilian life, although looked at probably a half dozen others when we were shopping
for a place to keep our last boat. The main reason we looked at so many yacht clubs is because there just happened to be a lot of them near where we live.
Slip rents are generally very inexpensive. We were paying around $1000 a year for a 28' Cape Dory
Low slip rents are offset generally by initiation fees, quarterly or annual membership fees and (usually) mandatory spending on food
and drinks. Some yacht clubs have required work days but usually have lower fees if you are required to work. Our last yacht club required a $1000 initiation fee and a $5 charge for one "voting share." We had quarterly membership fees and mandatory food
and drink charges which, when combined with our yearly slip rent, brought our costs to about $3000 a year. This did not include the cost of winter haul out
, which had to be done elsewhere. We could have left the boat in our slip for the winter at no additional charge but we would not consider wintering over in the water
in this climate. A yearly slip could definitely be found in a local marina for less than $3K for the season, but you can't really count the charge for food and drink. You would pay to eat out anywhere else.
Also, at our club at least, you have to bid for a slip based on seniority. Depending on the size/location of the slip you need or want this may mean you need to be a member
for awhile in order to get what you need. In our case it was getting a slip with sufficient draft
. The first year that we had a permanent slip our keel
sat in the mud regularly at very low tide.
Food and drink can be cheaper than you would pay at a sit down restaurant.
The food and drink may or may not be that great. Our yacht club, while very nice, tended toward canned green beans and instant mashed potatoes with the prime rib
. Not great choices for people with a WFPB diet, and not being big drinkers we couldn't really spend all our mandatory food and drink money
on booze either. Functions that had admissions fees ate up some of it. We ended up taking friends out to dinner there a lot just so we could spend all the money we were required to. It made us very popular with our friends but it felt like a waste of money to us.
Lots of social functions; dances, dinners, BBQ's, Opening Day parties (around here you are invited to opening day at all the YCs in the area so that's a party a weekend for 2 months running)
at said social functions may not be anything you recognize. Think Big Band Era or the occasional Elvis impersonator.
Reciprocal privileges at other participating yacht clubs
There is no downside to this.
Facilities are generally behind locked gates so may offer a higher level of security
. This is certainly not always true, but we have observed it to be true a majority of the time.
Inviting visitors may require a degree of coordination and may require a trip to let them into the facility as opposed to just walking to the top of the pier. A good trade
off for the increased security
in my opinion.
Depending on the yacht club some people can be a bit snooty and it may take a little time to feel like an insider. But we found that after some time we really started to feel like part of a family
. But it took some "getting involved" to accomplish this, and can happen faster or slower depending on how involved you are willing to get. Are you a "joiner" in other respects beyond just paying your membership fee? We could show up there for dinner or drinks on Friday evening and there was always someone to eat and drink with that we knew.
Our yacht club also partnered with the Power Squadron so they offered a lot of classes
there and they arranged for the USCG Aux to make regular visits in the spring to do the complimentary safety