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Carefree Boat Club Expands to Ocean City

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Carefree Boat Club offers a variety of boats, including a 2022 Sailfish 220 CC equipped with a 200-horsepower Yamaha engine. (Photo courtesy of Carefree Boat Club)

By DONALD WITTKOWSKI

Supply-chain disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, rising fuel costs and the growing expense to own a boat are making it more complicated for people who want to get out on the water.

But there is an affordable alternative to boat ownership – “boating without owning.”

Now entering its fourth season at the shore, Carefree Boat Club of South Jersey gives its members all of the pleasures of being out on the water without the hassles and expense of actually owning a boat.

Carefree Boat Club is expanding at the shore this summer by opening up in the Ocean City market at the All Seasons Marina at the base of the 34th Street Bridge on the Marmora side.

The company will officially open the Ocean City location on May 15, but will host a grand opening and open house at All Seasons Marina on May 8. More details will be announced later.

A fleet of six new boats and two jet skis will be available for Ocean City members looking to enjoy all that the shore has to offer on the water. All six boats are equipped with tow bars for tubing and water skiing.

The variety of boats will allow members to take fishing trips, enjoy a recreational outing or simply have a relaxing, lazy day out on the bay or ocean.

“When you join, you don’t have to worry about the hassles of boat ownership. The boat is always ready for you,” said Sean McNulty, Carefree Boat Club’s membership director.

Carefree Boat Club is expanding to the Ocean City market in May with a new location at the All Seasons Marina in Marmora. (Photo courtesy of All Seasons Marina)

The boat is in the water when members arrive, filled up with gas and ready to go. When they’re done, all they have to do is bring the boat back to the marina. There’s nothing else left for them to do – saving them from the headaches of cleaning or maintaining the boat.

The Ocean City location will be capped at 50 members to ensure everyone will have access to the boats.

“We’re trying to give our members the feel of a yacht club or a country club,” McNulty said.

Club memberships are only one-third the cost of owning a boat. Say goodbye to slip fees, insurance, maintenance, repairs, taxes, towing and winterization.

For the 2022 season, members will pay a one-time initiation fee of $7,500, plus $550 in monthly dues. However, those who lock in their memberships by April 15 will be eligible for 2021 prices of a $7,200 initiation fee and $535 in monthly dues.

Members can boat as often as they would like with no additional cost. An online reservation system allows them to pick the day, time and the type of boat they want.

Before they leave the dock, members will receive personalized on-the-water safety training to familiarize them with the boats. Carefree’s trainers are certified by the National Safe Boating Council.

Carefree’s boating season at the Jersey Shore runs from approximately Easter to Thanksgiving. The company typically starts on April 15 and will open its Avalon location on that date.

It accepts reservations from April 15 through Nov. 15, but sometimes remains open a few weeks longer. Although the Ocean City location will open on May 15 this year, the plan is to start on April 15 at that site beginning in 2023.

Carefree Boat Club of South Jersey started in 2019 with operations in Avalon at the Commodore Bay Marina at 900 Ocean Drive. Membership costs are the same in Avalon and Ocean City.

The Avalon and Ocean City locations are part of a growing network that features more than 100 Carefree Boat Club sites in the United States and internationally. Membership in Avalon and Ocean City gives boaters access to all Carefree locations, including Canada, the Philippines, the Virgin Islands and Panama.

Dave Neville, left, general manager of Carefree Boat Club’s Ocean City location, is joined at All Seasons Marina by Sean McNulty, the company’s co-owner and membership director.

McNulty noted that Carefree’s hassle-free membership is in dramatic contrast to what is generally going on the boating world now for individual owners and buyers.

Higher fuel costs, rising boat prices and supply-chain interruptions affecting the industry make boat ownership a challenge these days. Reflecting the strong demand, even used boats are selling at a premium.

“It’s crazy. People can’t get boats,” McNulty said. “People have extra income and they need something to do.”

Carefree Boat Club has solved the boat-shortage problems and the higher costs with its “boating without owning” membership franchise.

McNulty co-owns Carefree Boat Club of South Jersey with business partner Adam Fox, a licensed charter boat captain who serves as the company’s general manager.

Dave Neville, a lifelong resident of the Jersey Shore who has enjoyed the local waterways since he was youngster, will serve as the general manager of Carefree’s new Ocean City location.

Neville is an avid fisherman and has owned his own boats since he was a teenager. Before coming to Carefree Boat Club, he was a detective with the Cape May County Prosecutor’s Office for six years.

Previously, Neville was a beach lifeguard for five summers in Strathmere. He also owns his own business, Krystal Clean, which offers services such as window washing, pressure washing, carpet cleaning and shrink wrapping.

Neville said his love for boats and water sports will allow him to share his experiences with Carefree’s members to make it more enjoyable for them.

“I’ve had boats since I was 16,” he said. “I love fishing, water skiing, wakeboarding and being around boats,” he said.

For more information about Carefree Boat Club of South Jersey, visit southjersey.carefreeboats.com or call (609) 388-9009.

A 2022 Crownline 255 XS 26-foot Bowrider, equipped with a 300-horsepower Yamaha engine, is one of the boats in Carefree’s fleet. (Photo courtesy of Carefree Boat Club)