All Fun, No Hassle Seas the Day

George (far right) and Colleen Graves with their son, Gunnar (far left).

Photo by Catie Viox


If life is better on a boat, imagine having regular access to a fleet of boats at an affordable cost of entry, and no service or storage fees.

Ahoy, Freedom Boat Club of Greater Cincinnati!

Officially launched in January 2018, the boat club – its versatile fleet docked at The Marina at Manhattan Harbor in Dayton, Kentucky – requires a one-time membership fee followed by monthly dues but none of the annoying hassles that typically accompany boat ownership. There are no maintenance or storage fees, and no cleaning after an enjoyable day spent with family and friends on the Ohio River. The Cincinnati Freedom Boat Club’s grand opening, with boats in the water, is slated for May 1.

“It’s like a country club for boaters,” says George Graves, who bought the Freedom Boat Club Greater Cincinnati franchise last fall, and manages the operation with his wife, Colleen, and his son, Gunnar. “All members have to do is simply make a reservation for the day you want to boat, check in at the Marina, then go out and have a great day on the water! Your only additional expense is the fuel you used that day.”

With 160-plus Freedom Boat Club locations offering reciprocal access and numerous types of boats across the nation, members can travel and explore new waters and enjoy a variety of on-the-water experiences to their hearts’ desire, Graves notes. The Cincinnati fleet currently consists of two tritoons (they’re not your grandpa’s pontoons) and two hurricane deck (ski/pleasure) boats.

“We’ve been big boaters on the Ohio River for years,” Graves says. “My wife and I originally joined the Freedom Boat Club in Florida.
We loved the concept so much, we both said we have to bring this concept to the Cincinnati area.”

The Cincinnati chapter currently has eight members. Graves’ goal is to reach 50 members by July 4, with hopes of finishing out the
season with 75 to 100 members.

All of the boats in the club’s fleets are two years old or younger. Every two years new boats are rotated in or purchased based on the number of members that have joined the club. “Most of the franchises run on a 10 to 1 ratio – with every 10 members who sign up, they buy a new boat. I want to work with a 7 to 1 ratio,” Graves explains.

Freedom Boat Club provides unlimited training, both in class and on the water, free of charge, for every new member. Classes are taught by Coast Guard-licensed instructors, Graves points out. Minimum age for membership is 21.

Additional benefits of becoming a Freedom Boat Club of Greater Cincinnati member? Regularly scheduled socials, which can include everything from deck parties and dinners to wine tastings and other fun outings. 


Freedom Boat Club of Greater Cincinnati is located at The Marina at Manhattan Harbor, 1301 4th Avenue, Dayton, KY 41074. For more information, call 513.470.8007 or 513.460.5246, email or visit