Breaking News:

Women are making in-roads into the male-dominated boating domain thanks to Freedom Boat Club

Traditionally, leisure boating has been a heavily male-dominated domain. But Freedom Boat Club is changing that demographic rapidly, with more and more women taking the helm thanks to Freedom Boat Club’s fresh approach.

Globally fewer than one per cent of seafarers are female, according to the Australian Gender Equality Council. An estimated two per cent are boat owners.

But thanks to Freedom Boat Club’s share economy model, barriers faced by women who want to enjoy leisure time on the water are being eliminated, said Freedom Boat Club Gold Coast franchisee Patrick Edwards.

Patrick Edwards being interviews at SCIBS2024

An all-new way of enjoying an on-water lifestyle, Freedom Boat Club allows members to enjoy a walk-on walk-off boating lifestyle at more than 400 locations worldwide. And time on the water is not limited either, members pay a one-off joining fee then a monthly membership fee to use boats as much as they’d like the only additional charge is the fuel they use.

Ideal for people who don’t own a boat or can’t afford the hefty upfront cost of purchasing one, Freedom already has 90,000+ members and 5,500+ boats at 400 locations worldwide, including nine locations across the Australian coast.

The result: more than 35% of the international club’s members are women and 33% are new to boating before joining the club.

“Besides removing then economic barrier, Freedom Boat Club is also able to instil confidence in female boaters with unlimited on-water training and support,” said Mr Edwards.

“Members can access unlimited instruction from certified captains to gain their boat licence and to continue to build on their skills. This continued, high level of support makes new female boaters feel comfortable at the helm.”

Freedom Boat Club purchase and maintains the fleet of the boats, handling the storage, insurance, boat maintenance, cleaning and berthing, something that also appeals greatly to female members by creating a walk-on walk-off experience.

Alejandra Tinoco, who works in real estate investment, was considering taking a personal loan to buy a boat before she heard about Freedom Boat Club.

“But once I worked out the numbers, the subscription was pretty much the same as it would cost on marina fees alone,” she said. “Plus I had to do none of the work, including towing and parking a boat, or maintaining it.”

With her boat licence in hand, Ms Tinoco loves the fact that she can book a boat at a moment’s notice and enjoy a beautiful day on the water, often with her husband, although she still takes the wheel. “He’s usually just in it for the ride,” she said.

For Sanctuary Cove resident and businesswoman Anna Cardno joining Freedom Boat Club has “opened up a whole other world”.

“Both my husband and I gained our licences through the Club – the support is phenomenal,” she said. “They really gave me the confidence I needed as a woman to captain a boat. Since then, I have taken my sisters-in-law on a girls’ day out where we cruised around the channel and everyone had a blast.”

She has also enjoyed exploring the incredible waterways around her home, either boating solo or with her husband. “You feel phenomenal just stepping onto the boats because they are all prestige models shined to perfection,’ said Ms Cardno. “Then it’s about creating beautiful memories without having to worry about mooring fees, insurance, maintenance, refuelling, cleaning, and all the things that take up time and money.”

Ms Cardno added that while she was steering the boat passers-by often did a double take. “I have a big, blonde ponytail and when they see me and realise it’s a woman at the helm they usually grin and wave. Being at the wheel is such an empowering thing.”

Mr Edwards said it was rewarding to see a shift from the typical male boater to a more diversified marine playing field. “Instead of a blokes’ day out, it’s women on the water,” he said. “It’s definitely time and I’m thrilled that the Club has been able to make it happen.”

For more information about Freedom Boat Club go to