The local branch of a yacht club chain continues its regional expansion with a new location in River Country.
Carefree Boat Club of Central Virginia boarded at Urbanna Boat Yard & Marina, where the club rents several slips for its motorboats that its members use recreationally.
The expansion to Urbanna, along with the club’s recent expansion to Hopewell, is aimed at making the long-standing local club profitable by casting a wider net for members, said co-owner and managing partner Tim Baker.
“We know the club cannot meet the necessary financial targets with just the Lake Anna and Richmond locations. We need this expansion to be profitable,” Baker said.
Carefree Boat Club operates from Kingsland Marina on the James River in eastern Henrico County, where it is headquartered, as well as Anchor Point Marina on the Appomattox River in Hopewell and Sturgeon Creek Marina on Lake Anna . The club began operating at Urbanna Marina in early June.
The club markets itself as a cheaper alternative to boat ownership, allowing members access to club-owned and maintained boats. Baker said the variety of locations has helped the club meet more members’ preferred ways to enjoy time on the water.
“I have noticed that (Lake Anna) has more people who want to get out and use water toys, skis, tubes, etc. The rivers have more people who want a scenic and quiet visit. What we’ve noticed so far with Urbanna is that they’re people who like to go fishing,” Baker said.
Baker said the local club already had an interest in expanding to the eastern part of the state when he learned from Carefree Boat Club headquarters that the Urbanna Marina had requested to bring a club to its location. Baker said about $500,000 was invested to expand in Urbanna.
Carefree Boat Club currently has three slipways at Urbanna Marina and plans to increase this number to seven slipways. It has only one boat there and intends to increase its fleet to three to five ships.
The club planned to add the 13th boat to its fleet this week. The club has around 40 members, with the aim of increasing this number to between 225 and 250 people by the end of 2024.
Initiation fees currently range from $4,000 to $6,000, and monthly fees currently range from $240 to $450.
The club has nine employees.
Baker co-owns the Central Virginia club with Nick Bawa. They are in talks to bring in a third partner who Baker declined to identify.
Although based locally at the moment, the club is considering moving its headquarters to Urbanna Marina eventually.
Carefree Boat Club was launched in 2002 and its licensees operate more than 100 locations in the United States and around the world.