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Is it really worth it to buy a boat?
Enjoy the hassle-free view.

Speeding across Lake Michigan with the wind in your hair and the skyline at your back... Sounds like the ultimate summer fantasy--but who’s gonna scrub your boat’s deck, deal with moldy cushions, troubleshoot engine failures and pay dock fees?

With Freedom Boat Club, none of that is your problem.

Members pay a onetime joining fee, plus monthly dues, in exchange for anytime access to the club’s fleet of powerboats, fishing boats and cruisers. Other perks: valet parking at the Montrose Harbor dock, a cleaning crew, a captain or a stocked fridge upon request--and, of course, a perpetual way to show off Chicago to your friends and clients.

It’s still not cheap. A chart on Freedom’s website puts a three-year membership at $22,000--but compare that to the $74,000 it would take to store, insure and maintain your own boat over the same time period. (Petition your boss to spring for a corporate membership or limit your boating to weekdays for a less pricey way to play.)

The two happiest days in your life, the old joke goes, are the day you buy a boat and the day you sell it. Or the day you take it out for a spin and then walk away.

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