Last updated on April 19th, 2021 at 11:48 am
A Florida-based boat club announced it will open a new Milwaukee location at McKinley Marina as part of its Midwest expansion.
Freedom Boat Club, a division of Brunswick Corp., is establishing the downtown Milwaukee club as its first in Wisconsin, with plans to add more.
The Freedom Boat Club of Greater Milwaukee will offer six slips at McKinley when it opens this boating season.
Scott Ward, vice president of corporate territories for Freedom Boat Club, said the organization has been eying the Wisconsin market for a while, and Milwaukee was a “natural next step” for its expansion.
“The proximity to downtown, the park and restaurants, it’s an excellent, excellent location for us, and will really provide a lot of variety and great boating for our future members,” Ward said.
Freedom’s fleet includes center-console fishing boats, bowriders for water sports and cruising, and pontoons.
“One day if (members) choose to go fishing off shore, we have a boat in our fleet designated for that purpose,” he said. “If they have a bigger group, want to go cruising, have dinner on board, we have boats for that. If they want to take their kids out for water sports and tubing, we have boats for that.”
Members also have access to boats in any of the other clubs in Freedom’s network, which spans 32 states and includes 273 locations.
“Member that join the Milwaukee club actually can use any other club within the network when traveling for business or going on vacation,” Ward said. “They can go into our reservation system and reserve a boat in Florida, California, Michigan, New York, anywhere we have a Freedom Boat Club location.”
Ward said Freedom is in the process of hiring a club manager and dock staff to support the new location. It is planning for a mid-May opening date.
Freedom also announced in recent weeks it will open two new club locations in the Chicago area this spring.
“The proximity between Milwaukee and Chicago provides our members opportunities for new experiences throughout the Upper Midwest,” Ward said. “Both areas represent active and passionate communities of boaters, and we are looking forward to an incredible 2021 boating season.”
Ward said Freedom has plans to “quickly expand” to other areas of Wisconsin as well.
“We have active growth plans to locate (clubs) to provide our members with more opportunities to enjoy the lakes of Wisconsin, and the different experiences on different lakes throughout (the state),” he said.