Freedom Boat Club was first founded in 1989 in Sarasota, FL. 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 maintenance-free recreational boating experience for its members.
At the time, the concept was considered revolutionary and break-through. Boaters were either traditional boat owners, or friends of boat owners. The “Sharing Economy” wasn’t a concept at the time. There weren’t boat clubs, fractional boating, boating timeshare, or even many boat rental facilities. The exclusive fraternity of boat owners stored their vessels at marinas, home docks or at the yacht club. When Freedom Boat Club launched, this new offering, it presented an exciting new alternative to boat ownership that opened the waterways to newcomers as well as lapsed boaters like never before!
As the organization began its initial growth, Freedom Boat Club was sold to an investment group. Over time, it became evident that the best leadership for this type of business model would require active engagement at the helm vs. from an arm’s length, investment capacity.
John Giglio and Robert Daly had both been working for the investment operator, and negotiated to buy the enterprise in 2011. After the purchase, Daly stayed on for a year, and then Giglio bought him out, becoming the sole President and CEO in 2012.
Under Giglio’s watchful eye and passionate leadership, coupled with a committed crew of entrepreneurial-driven franchise owners, Freedom Boat Club is thriving. Today, 15,000+ boaters call Freedom Boat Club “home,” with more than 130 locations and franchise operations situated coast-to-coast, and growing daily. The club has enjoyed a 40% growth in franchise ownership in the past calendar year alone!
Freedom Boat Club’s success has not gone unnoticed. The company has been named to the prestigious Entrepreneur Magazine’s Franchise 500® ranking for multiple years, as well as to the Inc. Magazine 5000.
While the original mission has fundamentally remained the same, the composition and scope of Freedom Boat Club is continually expanding. 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 and Millennials, to active retired. Anyone who loves the water and water-related activities is a prospect for Freedom Boat Club membership.
With a Freedom Boat Club franchise, you can become part of our storied history … and very bright future!