Fractional Boating

Fractional Boating

Fractional Boating & Fractional Ownership. We look at how this trend is; “Getting more people on the water for less money and fewer headaches”. Whether you are looking for a powerboat for fishing, cruising, tubing or waterskiing or if you are looking to go sailing, there are many fractional programs to suit your needs. With the economy and the real cost of boat ownership, fractional boating is increasing.

Fractional Boating Benefits

Fractional Boating
Windpath Fractional Boating

There are several benefits to fractional programs and these include, much lower costs, less time working on the boat, More time on the water, availability of the boat (the organization has the boat ready to go at any time), ease of use (all you need to do is turn up) and finally commitment.

Whether you own a boat or not you can benefit from Fractional Boating.

Fractional boating You do not own a boat but wish to have the benefits of ownership. This works where each Boat club or organization provides boats for its members to use. For an annual fee each member gets a guaranteed use of the boat for a period of time. Typically this amount of time is greater than the average Owner uses his boat, which maybe 20 times per year. The Fractional club handles all maintenance and pays all the bills, you pay just the annual fee and an initiation fee.

Factional Boat Ownership You own boat and wish to share costs and use. Fractional Ownership is where you purchase a boat and put into one of the Franchise boating Clubs or you can share between a couple of private Owners. You still get use of the boat like any club member, but you get a lot of costs paid for and the organization maintains and looks after the boat. They can tell you how the program works.

Pinnacle is a national Fractional Boating Club. Below is their financial comparison of Ownership V Club Membership.

Pinnacle has a page where Ownerships cost of a 36 foot Jeanneau are laid out and compared to a 1 year membership of the same boat in Pinnacles fleet. more here

  Ownership costs v Fractional Club membership Yearly Investment Maintenance, slip fees, insurance Total cost PA ex downpayments
36 ft Jeanneau The 36 footer costs around $170,000 and with 20% down the annual mortgage for 15 years is $14,666 $12,000 $26,4660
Fractional Club Compare this to the use of the same boat in the Pinnacle fleet which costs $4,950/pa. $1,000 initiation fee $4,950

Hidden Cost of Ownership

Maintenance, slip fees, insurance

BoatUS discussion; As a new boat owner, I’m just getting used to the concept of spending $4,000+ per year on storage, maintenance and repair. Winterizing is not optional, and if you are not a do-it-yourselfer, you will pay a lot. This is a benefit of a shared boat program that is undervalued.

With Ownership you end up with an asset, however the cost of that asset is high.

Fractional Boating is very much cheaper.

Belmont harbor
Belmont harbor

There are many other benefits beyond just the cost issue and time is one. You only need to show up and provision. The boats are ready to go, after you have booked the spot which is easily done online. Typically 24 hours reservation is needed, but if you suddenly decide you want to get out on the water, call and if a boat is free, off you go.

Most of these fractional ownerships clubs have a policy of having one boat for around every 10 members. With too many members per boat, availability is an issue.

Maintenance in the Boats in these clubs are taken care of by the organization. You will clean the boat after using it, using the “leave it as I found it principle”. Boats in fractional clubs are actually in very good shape for the most part. It seems that members actually treat the boat like it’s their own. Rental boats on the other hand tend to get trashed as the renter has no “Skin in the game”.

The larger franchises have multiple clubs around the country and they offer reciprocal membership, so you could travel to another location and use the boat there.

Part of getting started in a fractional club is initiation. The club wants to know that you can operate the vessel safely. They will orientate you on the boats operation and train you in maneuvering and docking. If they feel you need additional training they can handle that.

Finally Ownership is a big commitment, but Fractional boating allows you to get on the water for a year’s membership, after that you can choose to renew or not.

Types of Fractional Boating

You can enjoy the benefits of the Fractional experience with a boat or without a boat.

Fractional Boating Clubs exist all across the country. There are several Boating Clubs which are part of a National Franchise. You can join one of these clubs without Owning a boat and membership gives you access to boating for X number of days per year. Each franchise offers different boating experiences and boat types. Decide which type of boating you are looking for and see what is in your area.

Local Boating Club; As with the Franchise’s local clubs offer boating access without Ownership. They are similar to fractional ownership franchises in many ways except you wont have the benefit of reciprocity in another location.

Shared Private Ownership. This is where you Own a Boat and share between you and maybe 1,2 or 3 other Private Individuals in exchange for a share of the expenses. You are only sharing with a couple of qualified Co-Owners.

Own to charter. Several companies in the Caribbean, encourage boat Ownership, where you can offset large amounts of cost by putting your boat in the charter program. Moorings is one such Company. The downside is that the boat will have a lot of use and you do not have control over who uses it.

Fractional Boating Clubs

Nationwide Franchises

Many of these type of Clubs are driven by manufacturers. You can join without boat Ownership.

To check costs of membership go the franchise and choose your location. Then look at the programs available. An additional benefit with these Franchises is you can use a boat in another location.

  Sail or Power    
Sailtime Sail-Hunter boats 33-50 ft North America, Europe & Australia
Pinnacle Yachts Sail-Jeanneau Power-Sea Ray 34-45ft North America
WindPath Sail-Catalina, Power-Black Cove 26-47ft North America
Freedom Boat Club Power 22-32ft, a couple of 40ft + cruisers East Coast USA
Care free boats Small powerboats 20-38ft East Coast USA

These Franchises cover much of the coastal US and let almost anyone join as a member or Owner member. The third option is start a franchise. Franchise fees start at $25,000 include a royalty and setup costs which can be very large depending on how many boats you would operate. The biggest challenge for this option may be getting a suitable location with access to water.

The Freedom boat club was the first to start Fractional Boating back in 1989. Join as a Member or start a Franchise. The boats are all power catering to the fisherman and water sports enthusiasts, some cabin cruisers available depends on location. They have 24hr reservation, unlimited time, depending on availability, reciprocal with other locations.

Sailtime started in 2001, Pinnacle and WindPath have agreements with builders. In each of these cases the organization encourages an individual to purchase a boat, either a Hunter, Jeanneau or Catalina with the idea of putting it into the Fractional program. The Owners get reduced costs and maintenance taken care of a and the members get a boat to use. Members get use of an Owners boat for an annual membership fee.