Yacht Clubs--good idea or bad?

Discussion in 'The Tiki Bar' started by Gofirstclass, Jan 20, 2020.

  1. Gofirstclass

    Gofirstclass Well-Known Member GOLD Sponsor

    Apr 20, 2010
    Tri Cities, WA
    1995 550 Sedan Bridge,
    2010 Boston Whaler 130 Super Sport,
    1981 Boston Whaler 130 Sport,
    CAT 3406C's, 580hp.
    In the past, on BABC and also other boating forums I frequent I've seen threads on yacht clubs where some people think they're the greatest thing on the water and others wouldn't be part of a club for all the tea in China. Some boaters view clubs with disdain, thinking them to be a snooty bunch who own big yachts they drive with their captain's hat on their head, wearing their white slacks and blue blazers.

    Our club is nothing like that. We're an average bunch of people who, for the most part, own medium size boats, have kids, and use their boats a lot. We just came out with our event calendar for 2020 and I must admit I was surprised by the variety and number of events. Here’s the rundown:

    =Every Wednesday morning there’s a coffee klatch
    =every Friday evening there’s a potluck BBQ that is always well attended
    =this month there is a charter bus trip to Seattle to go to the boat show
    =there are 9 parties scheduled
    =next month there’s a crab feed with fresh crab from Seattle
    =there are 2 mandatory work parties. You’re fined $250 if you don’t attend at least one
    =there are 2 “Sip & Paint” for ladies only. They involve copious amounts of vino and each woman paints a picture
    =there is a 4-day membership drive at our local boat show
    =there are 7 scheduled cruises to out of town destinations plus impromptu local cruises just about every weekend
    =there is the Christmas Lighted Boat Parade, two nights, the first weekend in December.

    Now lest you think the cruises are all the same, one of them is quite special. Our area has unlimited hydroplane races and airshow in July. On one of our cruises we host all the pilots on our boats for an evening cruise on the Columbia with snacks and beer provided. On the 2017 pilot’s cruise we were lucky enough to host the pilots and crew from the F22 Raptors that were in the airshow. While talking with the pilot of one of the two planes (call sign “Rock”) I talked him into letting us bring the grandsons out to the airport the following day and getting a personal tour of the planes. The planes were not on display for the general public but here’s the result:


    So, what say you? Are you a member of a club? Have you ever been? What’s your impression of yacht clubs? Good or bad?

    The Bill Collector likes this.
  2. Blueone

    Blueone Well-Known Member GOLD Sponsor

    Jan 24, 2007
    Lake Erie, Ohio
    2004 420 Sundancer
    Cummins 6CTA 450's
    I have been a member of a number of yacht clubs.... a couple were very snooty and I can’t handle that so they didn’t last long.
    I think what I have learned is not to join a club that is based on seniority. Either be it a parking spot or a slip location or a seat on a committee... as soon as it’s based on seniority and you are year 1 you don’t stand a chance of getting what you want anytime soon.... and at my age my patience are gone.
    So to your point... if your location and circumstance benefit from a club then you should join it or a lot of them will let you spend a few weekends to try it out...
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2020
  3. FastMarkA

    FastMarkA Active Member

    Jul 12, 2010
    2015 Sunseeker Portofino 40
    Volvo Penta D6-330
    I haven't found the need to join one.

    In Chicago, the restaurant aspect is senseless since we have stellar restaurants all over (far better than the food in yacht clubs around here).

    I also don't value a "bar" that lets me dock for a few hours in exchange for a several thousand dollar initiation fee.

    If I were in a smaller harbor, I think it could make sense because the communities are tighter, so there's a social benefit (as well as being okay with eating a standard hamburger and fries :)).
  4. Carpediem44DB

    Carpediem44DB Well-Known Member PLATINUM Sponsor

    Aug 18, 2015
    Sanfransico Bay area
    2006 44 DB Sedan Bridge Raymarine gs165 w Quantum HD Radar
    Achilles 350 Dink
    Nick Jackson Davit
    Cummins QSC 8.3 500 HD
    We are members of our local club based at our Marina. I was Commodore of the last club I belonged to which was kind of a Red Neck Riviera club that we tried to elevate a notch or two. The Avant-garde senior members rebelled so my board resigned and found a different cohort to enjoy boating with. I jumped in with both feet at our new club and now serve as Fleet Captain for this year. We don't do a lot of the big events at the club, we enjoy mainly cruising with a few of the boats and the reciprocity arrangements with the other clubs in the area. Our club bar has a great second story view of the marina and the Straights and has a nice food service Wed-Sunday so we really get a lot out of our membership.
    Carpe Diem
  5. JVM225

    JVM225 Well-Known Member GOLD Sponsor

    Apr 8, 2008
    Farmingdale, NY
    2002 410 Sundancer, Monaco Edition.
    3126 Cats.
    We joined one about ten years or so ago. Paid a fortune in initiation fees, annual dues, had to commit to spending xxxxxx amount of money a month at the clubhouse, only to find out it wasn’t for us.
    A friend convinced us to give it a try, he was a nice guy but we weren’t crazy about the members or place and the food and service sucked in the clubhouse we had to spend money at.
    I’d still consider joining another Yacht Club, but it would have to be a situation with less of an initial financial investment up front so I wouldn’t feel pressured to remain if it wasn’t for me.
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2020
    HardHead likes this.
  6. bobeast

    bobeast Dance the Tide SILVER Sponsor

    Oct 22, 2017
    Isleton, CA
    2002 310DA
    350 MPI w/V-drives
    In general, I've found that most clubs, yacht or otherwise, are just excuses for people to get together and drink. Maybe I'm just a snooty club of one, but that's not my thing.
    stephens013 likes this.
  7. JimT

    JimT Well-Known Member GOLD Sponsor

    Jul 7, 2009
    Charlotte, NC- LKN
    2010 330 Sundancer
    T-350mags w/BIIIs & Axius, 5.0 kw Kohler
    I belong to to a yacht club. Great people. Good but not great restaurant. Excellent clubhouse with two bars, pool and showers. Numerous events throughout the year. The club is run by a professional management company that does a good job. The committees are more an honorarium than a center of power. For our use this club is an excellent choice.
  8. hottoddie

    hottoddie Well-Known Member

    Jan 11, 2012
    Boston/Cape Cod
    1986 Sea Ray 390 EC
    Garmin 4212 Chartplotter
    Garmin 24 HD Radar
    Garmin 546s Plotter
    454 Crusaders
    Interesting. Is your club a "Blue Collar" club or "High End"? How long has the arrangement been in place? Do you know what the cost is? Do you know why the club decided to hire an outside management company?
  9. FootballFan

    FootballFan Well-Known Member

    Jun 20, 2012
    Marquis 59
    MTU Series 60
    didn't we have a thread about yacht clubs a couple of months ago?

    Sounds like your option works well for you. Your club is probably not the norm for organizations who use the Yacht club name.
    Blueone likes this.
  10. OllieC

    OllieC Active Member SILVER Sponsor

    Mar 11, 2013
    Sara Belle
    2005 Weekender 215
    Mercruiser 5.0 mpi, Bravo III
    I belong to (support) a club as well. Dues are extremely inexpensive. We have a small clubhouse which is actually an older boat on stands. It is mainly a social get together. Really nice people.
    Unfortunately I don't have the time to participate in the events. Most of them are retired, and I'm more than a dozen years away from that. So, I just pay my dues, say hi to other members while at the marina doing some work on the boat, and if there's an event and we're around, I'll stop in.
  11. JimT

    JimT Well-Known Member GOLD Sponsor

    Jul 7, 2009
    Charlotte, NC- LKN
    2010 330 Sundancer
    T-350mags w/BIIIs & Axius, 5.0 kw Kohler
    The club was founded in 1995. I would say its on the higher end of the spectrum. We have 450 slips ranging from 20'-55'. I pay $440 per month for a 40' slip which includes electric and water. The club dues is $143 per month. The reason for the professional management company is that the club house is very high end and is rented out for weddings, banquets and corporate functions. The club house is more like a country club than most yacht clubs I have been to.
  12. The Bill Collector

    The Bill Collector Well-Known Member GOLD Sponsor

    Jun 2, 2008
    Tacoma, WA
    450 Sundancer
    3126 Cat's
    We have been members of the Tacoma Yacht Club for 14 years now... We received an invitation to an open house and decided to check it out. We didn't know a soul there, but if we spent 2 nights per month on average on one of the clubs eight different outstations dues would be a wash... As non-moorage members, it was $500 initiation and dues are now $150/mo, the food/alcohol minimum is $75 per quarter. The club was founded in 1889 and is very down to earth with a lot of hard-working middle-class members. https://www.tacomayachtclub.org/
  13. carterchapman

    carterchapman Well-Known Member TECHNICAL Contributor SILVER Sponsor

    Mar 25, 2008
    Lake Chickamauga/Marietta, GA/Ft. Myers, FL
    2006 Sea Ray 58 DB
    MAN CRM V8-900s, Twin Disc Drives; Onan 21.5 Generator
    "We're having a little party at the Yacht club Saturday, are you doing anything"?

    "Why no"

    "Good, how'd you like to mow my lawn?"
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2020
    Adefelice, HardHead, wyrman and 3 others like this.
  14. FootballFan

    FootballFan Well-Known Member

    Jun 20, 2012
    Marquis 59
    MTU Series 60
    "My anchor damaged your dinghy"
  15. carterchapman

    carterchapman Well-Known Member TECHNICAL Contributor SILVER Sponsor

    Mar 25, 2008
    Lake Chickamauga/Marietta, GA/Ft. Myers, FL
    2006 Sea Ray 58 DB
    MAN CRM V8-900s, Twin Disc Drives; Onan 21.5 Generator
    No - it was -"Hey, you scratched my anchor"!
  16. OllieC

    OllieC Active Member SILVER Sponsor

    Mar 11, 2013
    Sara Belle
    2005 Weekender 215
    Mercruiser 5.0 mpi, Bravo III
    When I Christened my boat, I recited this;:D

    "It's easy to grin,
    When your ship comes in,
    and you've got the stock market beat.
    But the man worthwhile, is the man who can smile,
    when his shorts are too tight in the seat."

    My boat compared to some of yours is about the size of the Flying Wasp.
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2020
    Golfman25 and carterchapman like this.
  17. RollerCoastr

    RollerCoastr Well-Known Member

    Nov 15, 2007
    Cedar Point, OH / Miami, FL / MacRay Harbor, MI
    1997 400DA
    340HP 7.4 Mercruiser Bluewaters
    Garmin 741, 742, 8212, 24HD, Intellian I2
    1999 280BR
    Twin 250HP Merc 350 Alpha Ones
    Did you know that scene was filmed in Biscayne Bay? It used to be one of my favorite restaurants: The Rusty Pelican on Virginia Key.
    carterchapman likes this.
  18. b_arrington

    b_arrington Well-Known Member GOLD Sponsor

    Feb 21, 2007
    Setauket, NY
    2018 Back Cove 34
    Cummins QSB 6.7 480
    I think there are lots of different types of yacht clubs, from stuffy to easy-going. IMO, what they all have in common is membership dues and a social scene of some type.

    We're solitary boaters. We like to be on our own or with family that has a boat. We don't particularly like to hang with other people or socialize much. That extends beyond boating as well. We're at a very small marina that has limited / basic services and no club house at all. It's perfect for our needs. Yet it was quite an adjustment to go from being on a mooring to a slip on the dock because people wanted to talk to us.

    I know lots of folks a different than us in this respect. One couple in our marina left to join a yacht club at the next harbor over. They know a lot of people and are more social than us. Their kids are grown and so they don't have that family time any more and wanted a more social aspect of boating. They love all the activities that come with their yacht club membership. I'm happy for them - especially since their slip was the only one that would fit my boat and I got it when they left.
    Woody and Stray Current like this.
  19. Stray Current

    Stray Current Member

    Oct 27, 2019
    New Jersczystan
    2007 260DA
    6.2 Horizon MPI/BravoIII
    Kohler 5ECD
    I am not a member nor have I ever considered joining any. We’re pretty solitary and keep to ourselves mostly. Don’t really have too many friends with boats, but we’ll get together with the few 4-5 times a summer for a sandbar day. We also have guests join us on our boat a few times a season as well but usually just the two of us and the pup(s).

    I’m fortunate enough that my parents have extra dock space to keep my boat. Hoping to purchase our own waterfront home in the next 2-3 years
  20. Captain Allen

    Captain Allen Member

    Feb 2, 2009
    Coastal North Carolina
    370 EC 1994
    454 Mercruisers, straight drives
    I've been a member of a local yacht club for almost 20 years. You would probably call it a "blue-collar" club since we have no staff, members volunteer for various jobs, we have club work days and the clubhouse remains un-airconditioned for nostalgic purposes. We have lots of professionals as members, who seem to enjoy the lack of "stuffiness" in the club. Our marina and clubhouse have no debt and a beautiful riverfront location adjacent to the local country club. Membership is capped at 225 members and the waiting list is presently at 8 years and counting. The cost to apply is $500 and annual dues are less than $500 per year, including a meal at the monthly meeting, prepared by members. I've sold my EC now, but I had a 50 foot covered slip for less than $100/month. So yes, this club is definitely worth joining. that's why we have over 50 people on the waiting list, reading the obituaries every day, hoping a member passed gently into the night.

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