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Boat club boosts fleet as summer nears



Staycations are likely to be popular this summer as Covid-related travel restrictions and concerns remain elevated around the world.


As residents look for new ways to enjoy the weeks and months ahead, the Island Boat Club has seen an uptick in interest for what it has to offer. It has now added a new boat to its fleet.

In the US, boat clubs have been reporting record membership enrolments, according to Jack Bridges, founder of the Island Boat Club.


When asked if he thought island residents will be inclined to explore what the island has to offer this year, in light of the coronavirus pandemic, he said he did. He added: "People are going to be limited in how much travel they can do."


The Island Boat Club has three membership programmes, starting at $700 per month plus an initiation fee. One option is a 12-month membership.


Mr Bridges said boating was relatively "Covid safe" as it is outdoors with constant fresh air, and it caters for small groups of people.


The club desantises and cleans all its boats after use "from top to bottom".


Island Boat Club is aimed at those who want to enjoy a boating lifestyle without the expense and hassle of owning and maintaining their own vessel.


Its first two boats were Axopar T-Tops. It has now added a Scout 195 Sportfish, a 20ft centre console vessel. The boat was ordered late last year.


Mr Bridges said there has been a steady growth in membership since the club opened, and there had been an uptick in the past few weeks with another five or six members joining.


He said: "We have had our eye on the Scout 195 Sportfish for a while. As our membership is extremely limited, the new boat will allow us to open up to a further eight people as well as offering greater variety among our boats.


"The Scout is a perfect water sports and family day out boat which we know our members will enjoy. The beauty of our membership – with no pre-boat prep and no post-boat day clean up – means that our members can enjoy all their time on the water. Whether that’s just an hour or two, that’s up to them and the club allows for that flexibility. We’ve seen a number of members make the most of this over the winter season."


For a limited time the public can reserve membership in advance. Spaces can be secured with a signed membership agreement and rules and regulations, plus a $500 deposit on the initiation fee for a May 1 start, or a $1,000 deposit for a June 1 start.


All new members receive complimentary training. Mr Bridges said: "We have noticed a general hesitancy when it comes to operating a boat. While it should always be met with some element of caution, we don’t want people to be fearful.


"With our membership programme we won’t send you out alone until you tell us you feel comfortable. We also provide on the water assistance if you do ever get stuck – our work boat allows us to reach you on the water whenever, wherever you need.


"Docking is covered extensively during training and with any new members we will be ready and waiting at the dock to provide assistance if needed."



Original article published by The Royal Gazette

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