Freedom Boat Club Brings Communal Boating to San Diego
Ship Ahoy! With the Freedom Boat Club in San Diego
One of the most attractive aspects of living in sunny San Diego is the beautiful ocean that hugs our coasts. Whether it’s kayaking down at the La Jolla coves, dinner cruises in the Bay or the surfing competitions that line our shores, the ocean plays a crucial, well–loved role in the lives of San Diego residents. Now Dan Hasbrouck, Owner–Operator of Freedom Boat Club San Diego, is trying to make the Pacific even more accessible to everyone. “I’ve been boating most of my life,” Hasbrouck says. Hailing from Florida, Hasbrouck notes that he’s owned multiple vessels of his own. “I didn’t realize how much I loved boating until I didn’t have one anymore.”
Now that he mans the helm of Freedom Boat Club’s San Diego franchise, Hasbrouck says the toughest part of starting up here is the fact that most locals don’t quite understand how a boating club works. “It’s not a rental; it’s not a timeshare,” he says. “You basically have unlimited access to our whole fleet. Just schedule a day and pick your vessel. It’s as simple as that.”
Freedom Boat Club San Diego members pay a one–time startup fee, followed by monthly payments. “It’s more affordable and convenient than owning your own boat,” says Hasbrouck. “You don’t have to worry about maintenance or storage. We take care of that for you.” It’s the latest in a long trend of membership–style services that have seen communal use of bicycles, cars and even gym equipment.
Freedom Boat Club has reached the shores of San Diego and brought along a variety of ships for its members. One of the advantages that Hasbrouck touts for joining a boat club over buying your own is the fact that you have so many different vessels to choose from. From the classic fishing boats like the 2015 Cobia 220 Dual Console named Dawn Patrol, to the fun 2015 Sweetwater Party Barge, Tooned Out (complete with slides), there’s a boat for every occasion available at the whims of its members. Not to mention that all vessels within Freedom Boat Club San Diego’s fleet are all newer models, the oldest currently being from 2014.
The boat club also makes sure to rotate new vessels in and out of the lineup to keep their members updated with the latest in boating entertainment. Hasbrouck also pointed out that members of Freedom Boating Club San Diego get training on each vessel if needed. Freedom Boat Club San Diego is located at the Dana Landing Marina on Mission Bay, giving members an easy entrance to the Mission Bay Park, perfect for waterskiing, wake boarding and tubing. The Dana Landing Marina is also a location that offers perfect access to fishing, whale watching and is only a short cruise away from a beautiful view of the San Diego cityscape from the San Diego Bay.
Some of the best fishing spots that Freedom Boat Club San Diego recommends to its members include Mission Bay, which is a prime hunting ground for spotted bay bass, halibut, bat rays and leopard sharks, and where ghost shrimp or squid is the recommended bait of choice. Next up is the Big Bay’s Main Channel, which is a great spot when fishing for halibut while admiring the Coronado Bridge. There’s also the Shelter Island Pier, where live anchovies are the supposed bait of choice to catch yourself some Pacific mackerel, yellowfin croaker, jacksmelt, opaleye, halibut, turbot and bonito. The Sweetwater Channel is another spot in the South Bay said to be popular for bonito and barracuda. And don’t forget the eastern shore of Coronado Island near the Loews Coronado Bay Resort, where bonefish can be caught with ghost shrimp as bait.
Hasbrouck is confident that once more people become aware of just what a boating club is all about, how it works and all the fun that can be had on the ocean, then they’ll line up to sign up. It’s clear that making the Pacific Ocean more accessible to more people will greatly deepen the coastal culture of San Diego locals, and with companies like Freedom Boat Club San Diego making a big splash in ocean entertainment and easing access to the best boating vessels for all, we may just see the next level of what fun the sea can bring us.