• Beaufort Lifestyle Magazine
Featured Business, Features

Freedom Boat Club

at Port Royal Landing Marina
story by Cindy Reid     photos by Paul Nurnberg

Freedom Boat Club was founded in 1989 in Sarasota, Florida. It is the oldest and largest boat club in the nation.      The vision and purpose in establishing the boat club model was simple and straightforward: to provide an affordable option to boat ownership and to deliver a hassle-free recreational boating experience for its members. Today, Freedom Boat Club welcomes and embraces a broad mix of members to its ranks, from first-time boaters and newbies, to seasoned salts and former boat owners, from young families to active retired. Freedom Boat Club is also actively engaged in developing new and diverse markets. Anyone who loves the water and water-related activities is embraced as a member of Freedom Boat Club!

PORT ROYAL BOATING

The owners of the Freedom Boat Club (FBC) at Hilton Head and Port Royal are Cassius “Cash” Mullen and Gayle Schaffner. They are from Pennsylvania where they lived and worked until moving to the lowcountry six years ago.  Cash is a mechanic by trade and started his own auto repair facility in Carlisle, Pennsylvania at the age of nineteen.  He owned and operated his business for thirty years before selling it to two of his employees in 2011. Gayle’s career has centered on office administration and human resources.

Both Cash and Gayle had simultaneous career opportunities to move south earlier than their anticipated retirement years so they moved to Bluffton in 2012.  Soon after their move south, Cash discovered Freedom Boat Club in Hilton Head and subsequently joined the club.  Cash was immediately impressed with the concept of Freedom Boat Club. When he wasn’t traveling for his job as a driving instructor, he enjoyed boating, mostly fishing, in Hilton Head waters, always using their membership in the FBC.

When an opportunity to purchase the Hilton Head franchise came up Cash and Gayle acted on it and purchased the franchise in March 2015. Together they worked to grow the Hilton Head franchise and in less than three years they were able to expand it from a fleet of 14 boats to 24 boats.

Buoyed by their success and seeing a need in northern Beaufort County, they opened a second location in Beaufort/Port Royal in August 2017. Port Royal is a beautiful town next to Beaufort which has stunning waters to enjoy. FBC in Port Royal operates out of the picturesque Port Royal Landing Marina.  This location was chosen because of its close proximity and easy access to downtown Beaufort and the surrounding Sea Islands. A nice feature at the Port Royal Landing Marina is the waterfront restaurant, the Back Porch Café, where you can enjoy fresh shrimp or a burger.  Only minutes away from the sound and open waters to the ocean, this location is located on Intercoastal Waterway (ICW).  Close by is downtown Beaufort, which boasts a variety of shops and restaurants along the Beaufort River.

In Port Royal and Hilton Head, FBC members enjoy boats such as Sea Hunt, Parker, Scout, Key West, and Hurricane.  There are a variety of types of boats that include bow riders, deck boats, center console boats, and pontoon boats. There truly is a boat for every taste and need.

MEMBERSHIP

Freedom Boat Club is designed for folks who want to access a versatile fleet of boats without the hassles and expense of maintenance, storage, and insurance.  You join the club by paying a one-time entry fee, then affordable monthly dues.  Members have unlimited access to boats in their home club(s) as well as use of boats in the 160 plus other FBC locations throughout the U.S. and Canada.  In addition, FBC Corporate recently announced a major franchise expansion in Europe.  The company expects to announce multiple Freedom Boat Club operations in France, with additional expansion elsewhere throughout Europe to follow.

FBC is a major proponent of boater education and safety.  Membership includes unlimited training, so whether you’ve never boated before, or you’ve boated for years, FBC welcomes you as a member.

Here’s what our members are saying:

“I’m a long-time satisfied member of the club. Reliable well maintained boats, fair pricing, accommodating and friendly staff, ample availability of boats—what’s not to like??? The best way to enjoy the water!” . . . John O’Neal

“We have been FBC members for 3 years and enjoy boating at least one time each week.  A boat is available whenever we need it and we greatly appreciate the care given to maintain the boats in excellent condition.  We look forward to many more years of positive boating experiences!!” . . . Dr. Larry Fleming

 “Joining Freedom Boat Club has proven to be the best decision for getting out on the water whenever we want. Whether cruising or fishing, the boats are kept in great shape. Best of all, no dock fees, insurance or maintenance worries for members of FBC – just fun on the water”

. . . Jim Wilkins

“My wife and I have been members of the Hilton Head Freedom Boat Club since 2012 and we have absolutely loved this amenity to enjoy with our two young kids. Being able to reserve any style boat I want for any day that I want is perfect for us. Showing up to a boat that is clean, fueled and ready to go is priceless to me.”  . . Chris Walker

Join Freedom Boat Club and create boating memories to last a lifetime!

For more information on our clubs, including current costs, please contact Membership Director, Steve Sherman at ssherman@freedomboatclub.com or call 843-682-BOAT.

Join us for an Open House at the Port Royal Landing Marina on Saturday, May 12, 5:00-7:00 p.m.  Come learn more about the club and hear about incentive pricing for new Port Royal members (for a limited time).  Enjoy free boat rides, free food and giveaways.

RSVP to gschaffner@freedomboatclub.com

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