Marine News from the Great Lakes

Freedom Boat Club Schedules Grand Opening: Launches Fleet on Lake St. Clair May 1

World’s Largest and Oldest Membership Boating Club Makes Official Debut on Lake St. Clair in Boat Town USA!

Published: Monday, April 25, 2016

Freedom Boat Club (FBC), the world’s oldest and largest boat club with 110 locations
in 21 states and Vancouver with a fleet of 1,100+ boats and 10,000+ members,
has expanded to Lake St. Clair in Boat Town, USA. An official grand opening and ribbon
cutting ceremony is slated for May 1, 2016 at 1:00 pm at Hideaway Harbor Marina, 36290 Harrison Twp., MI.
The event will feature a deck party with free boat rides, live music, barbecue and soft drinks and more.

New franchise owners/operators Steve and Rick Dobreff are Harrison Twp. natives,
L’Anse Cruese High School graduates, and avid boaters whose family of seven kids grew
up on Lake St. Clair. Steve Dobreff is a long-time practicing attorney in Macomb County,
while Rick Dobreff works in the robotics engineering field and is an experienced marine,
auto, and robotics mechanic.

Steve Dobreff along with his wife Wendy and sister Nancy joined the club in the Tampa
market two years ago and experienced the simplicity, growth and popularity of the club
firsthand. In a few years, Tampa has grown from 1 to 12 Freedom Boat Club locations
and a fleet of over 138 boats and growing. Likewise, Freedom’s one-of-a-kind hassle free
boating experience has spread like wild-fire with a total of 45 spread throughout the
Sunshine State and a massive fleet of boats in nearly every water sport vacation
destination in Florida.

Steve explained, “Boating with Freedom Boat Club is so easy and hassle free. You just
make your reservation, show up at the dock and a new, clean, and fueled-up boat is
waiting. You hit the water, enjoy a great adventure, return the boat when you’re done,
and then simply pay for the gas you used and go enjoy the rest of your day. Freedom
takes care of all the cleaning, storage, maintenance and insurance. It truly offers the best
of boating!”

Steve’s family moved to the Tampa area for a job relocation. They discovered the club
from neighbors who were long-time members of 10 years. The Dobreffs joined the club
on Christmas Day, 2014 and claim it was “The best Christmas gift a family could ask for!”

The family and their friends enjoyed two years of fun-filled unlimited fishing and boating
adventures throughout Florida at numerous locations, including, Islamorada in the Keys,
Destin, Naples, Ft. Myers, Venice, Sarasota, Bradenton, Tampa, Clearwater, St. Pete,
Treasure Island, Tarpon Springs, and more. Thanks to Freedom’s popular and exclusive
“reciprocal access” membership feature allowing members to boat anywhere a club is
situated, Wendy was even able to take clients boating during a business trip to San Diego.

During one of the couple’s favorite weekly “Fishing Friday” excursions, they discussed if
the concept might work in the metro Detroit market. That led to a discussion with Rick
Dobreff, a lifelong boat owner and mechanic and resident on Lake St. Clair. Lengthy
discussions, debate and due diligence research led to an exploratory visit to the
company’s Venice, FL headquarters where they met President/CEO John Giglio and
other members of the corporate team. Afterwards, the twosome was totally convinced on
the potential and opportunity – hook, line and anchor!

The Dobreff brothers envisioned the potential for success of the club on Lake St. Clair
and have since partnered with lifelong family friends and owners of Hideaway Harbor
Marina, Rick and Rob Velger, to bring this much needed, one-of-a-kind boating
experience to Lake St Clair and Boat Town USA.

The new Freedom Boat Club Lake St. Clair location will offer a fleet of new, name brand
boats including center consoles, bowriders, deckboats and tri / pontoons, and ski / wake
boarding boats. The boats are available for unlimited usage to members and include the
costs of cleaning, storage, maintenance, towing, and insurance. The Dobreffs believe that
the reciprocity benefit will especially resonate with locals.

“Members who join on a year round basis enjoy reciprocal access and can boat at any of
the other 109 FBC locations in 21 states and Canada; four times at each location with
access to over 1,100 boats,“ said Steve. “This includes 45 locations in Florida. And, 45 x
4 means snowbirds can enjoy boating 180 days during the winter while your friends suffer
through the Michigan winter! Whatever time of year, wherever Freedom Boat Clubs
operate, members can enjoy and take advantage of boating in many fantastic ports of

Another distinct advantage of the club is that FBC Members enjoy free classroom and on-
water training.

“One of the best aspects is the free training the club provides,” said Rick Dobreff. “Boating
safety is a major area of focus and we are thrilled to provide our members with unlimited
on-water training including a mix of boat classroom and personalized, 1:1 training on the
water. We already have new members who have never driven a boat before now
scheduled for training. There is nothing like seeing someone who has never driven a boat
before take the helm for the first time. It is a life changing experience for them!”

Upon course completion, members have direct access to the club’s online reservation
system. Members are allowed unlimited use of the boats and can hold up to four advance
reservations at once, selecting the boat, date and time of their choice. In addition,
members also have unlimited spur-of-moment reservations whenever a boat is available.

Members just call the dock and if a boat is available, it is theirs.
“We look forward to becoming actively involved in the community and hosting a variety of
social events and activities for our members as well as their guests,” said Steve Dobreff.
“We also look forward to establishing community partnerships with restaurants and local
businesses.” A full social schedule will be forthcoming.

Whether you seek a fast paced fishing adventure, a low key cruise down to Metro Beach,
a fun day of water sports with the kids in tow, a lunch or dinner at many of the incredible
waterfront hot spots on Lake St. Clair, Freedom Boat Club delivers the of boating!

tags: Boat Club, Lake St. Clair

Go back | Show other stories