5 Surprise Benefits of a SailTime Boston Membership

man in yellow lifevest waiving from boat

SailTime offers new boats, lots of opportunities to get on the water, great locations, scheduling flexibility, and more… but membership can be even better than what it looks like on paper. Here are 4½ surprise benefits you might not expect when you first sign up, but which members of SailTime Boston have come to love about the program:

1. Connecting with a Sailing Community

SailTime isn’t just about boating a lot. They also bring you into contact with a great community of people who share the same interest. They’re enthusiastic about sailing and powerboating, experienced, but also very willing to share and support others who may be new to the program. 

SailTime does a great job of bringing our members together to foster that sense of community, whether it’s through a social event to kick off the season or the ability to reach out to others on the Embark app.

Since each boat only has less than 8 members, your “boat group” gives you another avenue to connect. You will likely encounter fellow members at the dock as you pass the baton at the start or the end of your SailTime. It’s great to get to know one another and hear about what the sea conditions are like and where the best wind can be found from someone who just came from the water.

The SailTime staff, boat owners, and fellow members also keep each other abreast of what’s going on throughout the season, whether it’s new features added to the boat, tips, and tricks, or advisories regarding items scheduled for maintenance. Since the Embark app makes it easy to see who will be aboard before and after you, members can let each other know when they plan to come in early, giving the next member an opportunity to get going sooner than expected. 

The Embark app also has the means to invite other members for crew. If your own crew ever backs out, you will never get stuck at the dock. There are always others more than willing to join for more time out on the water. Which leads to…

2. More Boating

It’s easy to do the math on the number of SailTimes allowed by the scheduler and find that a regular membership guarantees you 7 bookings per month on the water. But there are many ways that SailTime/ membership enables you to sail well beyond that amount.

Any SailTime booking which is not reserved by another member can be claimed, within 36 hours of its start time, by any member of the boat on a “first come, first served” basis. Members may use an unlimited number of SailTime s under this “36-hour rule.” It pays to check the scheduler periodically, particularly if you have some free time coming up and a good weather window, as your boat may actually be waiting for you even if you didn’t reserve it in advance.

Inviting other members to crew for you, and responding to invites from others looking for crew sets up a reciprocal relationship that is a win for everyone. You can get a lot of sailing and boating through other members’ SailTimes s, and make some great friendships along the way.

It’s fun to sail in Boston, but what happens when you’re away from home? That’s where SailTime Plus comes in, with an option to use boats that are available at other SailTime locations. Want to see the Gulf of Mexico, the Chesapeake Bay, the Great Lakes, or the West Coast by sea? SailTime make it easy to get on the water away from your home port.

3. Education

SailTime offers some of the newest and nicest boats available for fractional use. Part of what keeps the boats in great condition is the ongoing, high-quality learning opportunities for every member.

Some of this is formal training. Docking is probably the most common source of anxiety, particularly for less experienced boaters handling someone else’s really nice vessel. If there’s a need, SailTime Boston is known to give members access to docking clinics in actual SailTime boats, with award-winning instructors. Want to sail at night? Customized programs are available to give members confidence in this challenging navigational scenario.

So much of learning is through observation and modeling. Just getting out on the water with other members to observe how they handle various situations is a valuable way to develop your own capabilities. And prior to setting out to any given destination, there are tremendous resources available through other members and SailTime staff regarding where to go and what to do at a destination. Rather than making it up as you go along, you can take the advice of those who have been there, done that.

4. More Experiences

Remembering that SailTime is both boating and a community of boaters, it’s inevitable that you will run into members who do additional activities on the water outside of typical SailTime reservations.

Boats need to get delivered to and from their winter locations, or to maintenance appointments, offering the opportunity to transit new waters. In recent years, SailTime members have been known to join together to participate in events such as the Figawi Hyannis to Nantucket race, the Flip Flop Regatta, and others (not necessarily in SailTime boats), and in boat deliveries from as far as Newburyport or Woods Hole. Some boats over-winter in the Caribbean, too… and they don’t get there by themselves. Such experiences can be amazing.

5. Cool Gear

Boating is easy if you pay attention to three simple rules:

  1. Keep the water out of the boat,
  2. Keep the people in the boat, and
  3. Look good doing it.

A SailTime Boston membership could help you look the part. Individual experiences vary, as some of this depends on the year, the particular boat, and what specific activities you participate in throughout the season, however, it’s entirely possible to outfit your sailing bag (which was very likely given to you by SailTime Boston in the first place) with a great set of sailing and boating gear which may even be branded with the name of your boat. It’s not uncommon at SailTime events to see members decked out in shirts, jackets, sweaters, hats, and more items that are exceedingly useful out on the water and look great onshore too. 

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