Freedom Boat Club said it experienced exponential growth in the last year.
President and CEO John Giglio attributed it to greater brand awareness of the boat-sharing concept, coupled with the opening of new clubs and the resulting consumer demand for the unique maintenance-free boating lifestyle.
Ranked in the Entrepreneur Magazine Franchise 500, Freedom Boat Club said it is the oldest and largest boat club in North America with 125 locations in 22 states and Canada. The club has 15,000 memberships and operates a fleet of 1,500 boats.
During the last six months the club has opened new markets and opened multiple clubs in Seattle; Stockton, Calif.; Seneca, S.C.; and Fort Pierce, Fla.
Recent franchise owner/operators have announced major regional expansions, adding clubs in their territories.
For example, Freedom Boat Club of Greater Boston and Cape Cod has 11 locations in Massachusetts and has opened three new clubs in just under two years.
Partners Matt Carrick and Capt. Matt O’Connor this week jointly announced their 11th location at Kingman Yacht Center in Cataumet, Cape Cod’s largest full-service marina.
“We’re looking forward to working with Freedom Boat Club and its members.” Kingman Yacht Center president and owner Scott Zeien said in a statement. “Our job is to help people get out on and enjoy the water, and Freedom Boat Club offers an exciting, alternative way for people to do just that. This has all the makings of an excellent partnership.”
Other recent franchise market expansions and/or upcoming 2017 season openings include Baltimore and Washington, D.C.; Boynton Beach, Palm Coast and a second location in Jacksonville, Fla.; Pittsburg, Calif.; Stratford and Branford, Conn.; and a second location in Babylon, Long Island, N.Y.
“Freedom Boat Club offers a proven revenue model, and the success is clearly reflected in the numbers of new franchise owners opening new clubs, the growth of new members and the continued investment of the club in new boats and marine-related goods,” Giglio said in a statement.
“We expect this robust trend to continue, with several new locations currently under review throughout the U.S. and Canada. We also anticipate launching the club abroad, where exciting new opportunities abound.”
Giglio points to key indicators driving the trend.
“As we’ve opened clubs in new markets and introduced the concept, we’ve had a very enthusiastic reception from newcomers and lapsed boaters alike,” he said.
“People love the free hands-on training provided by our licensed Coast Guard captains, and they appreciate the affordable cost of entry and maintenance-free lifestyle. We’re especially pleased to see an impressive bump in millennial memberships in major markets where the sharing economy has become a way of life.”