Freedom Boat Club to provide direct Thames access

An overhead view of boats and berths at Chertsey where Freedom Boat Club is now offering access to the River Thames

Freedom Boat Club is continuing its quest for worldwide domination, with a new location on the Thames, just outside London.

The model, which sees customers effectively ‘rent’ the use of boats rather than financing an initial outlay with added ongoing maintenance/running costs, has become popular in recent years — judging by the number of ‘clubs’ that have sprung up, and the continuing rate of expansion of the big players.

Now Freedom is expanding its UK operations with a new location in Chertsey, its sixth location in the region. It’s just outside London and will provide members with direct access to boating on the Thames River.

“As a top boating destination in the region, we are thrilled to announce our newest location in Chertsey,” says Arturo Gutierrez, general manager of Freedom Boat Club EMEA. “This announcement reflects our commitment to executing our strategic vision as we continue to expand our international footprint and establish a presence in top boating destinations worldwide.”

Located at Bates Wharf Marina, the Chertsey location will be part of Freedom’s Thames-Solent Hub providing members unlimited access to three locations in the region. Additionally, the Chertsey location will be owned and operated by Richard Bates, a marine veteran with decades of experience in the industry, who is passionate about expanding the local boating community through Freedom’s shared access model.

“With decades of experience across the full spectrum of boat ownership, marina operations and services, I’m ecstatic to be joining the Freedom team and providing a new pathway for boaters to enjoy the on-water lifestyle,” says Bates. “Freedom’s commitment to removing and delivering remarkable member experiences aligns with my passion of growing the UK boating community, and I look forward to a successful partnership with Freedom Boat Club now part of our wide range of portfolio offerings.”

The opening is planned for 1 June 2024, ready for the summer boating season. There’ll be a selection of brand-new boats to play with.

Freedom Boat Club had another solid quarter while seeing very steady membership levels despite the macroeconomic uncertainty,” Dave Foulkes, CEO of Brunswick, said in late April. “Freedom continues to benefit from not having been subject to the cumulative inflation impact that boats certainly have from a purchase perspective, and also not really subject to the higher interest rate environment.”

He says that nobody – or a very few people – are ‘financing’ their entry fee, which may make it immune to the broader macroeconomic stuff that’s impacting durable goods’ purchases. “Freedom continues to expand . . . the model is working very well and certainly helps our boat business pulling through additional units.

“We’re delighted with the performance of Freedom, not just in the domestic market, but also now in the European market. . . . And you should expect to see us expanding to other regions, other geographies as well, since the model seems to be very robust in those areas.”

Continue reading about Freedom Boat Club.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *