Programme offers boats ‘hassle-free’ access
A “hassle-free” option is on the horizon for people who want to enjoy time out on the water, but do not want the expense of ownership and maintenance of a boat.
The Island Boat Club, a new boat membership programme, was designed to give members unlimited access to high-quality boats designed for Bermuda's waters, without the extra expenses, including insurance, mooring fees, cleaning and repairs.
Jack Bridges, 29, came up with the concept of the boat membership club, which is expected to be up and running next month.
He said: “Having grown up on the water and around boats from the age of 12, I know how much joy it can bring, but I'm also aware of the challenges and hassles of boat ownership.
“Many people love getting out on the water, but don't have the time to look after a boat, or perhaps they travel frequently and know they won't use it as much as they would like to.
“With the Island Boat Club, you can enjoy the freedom of a hop-on, hop-off boat at your fingertips without these worries.”
Mr Bridges has been a golf pro at Tucker's Point for the past nine years, which has given him a grasp of the membership aspect of clubs.
He said he started to research boat membership clubs around the world as he recovered from knee surgery last year.
He discovered the idea had taken off in many places around the world, and decided Bermuda was a perfect location for a similar scheme.
Mr Bridges said the club would help some people who had thought about a boat purchase, but could not justify the price or the bother.
The club already has one boat, and another four are to be built by Sailfish Boats, based in Georgia in the US, with delivery likely in July or August.
The fleet will include a 22-foot centre console and 24-foot dual console.
Membership of the club will be limited, as it is will work to an 8:1 ratio of members to boats.
Mr Bridges said: “That ratio, according to our research, is the lowest around the world. That should ensure that everybody is getting the time on the boat that they want.”
He told prospective customers: “We will meet you in one of two locations, we will have whatever you want on the boat — ice, water, towels.
“Then you go off, have fun, and then bring it back and we deal with cleaning it, mooring it, insuring it and maintaining it.”
Members are not limited to how much use of the boats they can have, although there will be restrictions on how many open reservations a member is allowed at any one time.
Mr Bridges added: “And we do not rent or charter, so those boats are for the exclusive use of Island Boat Club members.”
He said the club would also provide training, including instruction on the “rules of the water”.
Mr Bridges added: “That's a big one. We want everybody to use their membership by being confident and comfortable, and being safe with it. The training will be complimentary.”
Potential members can try before they decide and Mr Bridges said he would pick up interested people and take them for a trip in one of the boats to get a feel for the operation.
He added the first 30 people to register for the club will receive a 10 per cent discount on initiation fees.
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