Warm-weather months mean boating season. However, the expenses and maintenance associated with owning a boat can make it prohibitive to get on the water–until now.
University of Wisconsin graduate Justin Sisley is a member of a boat club in Austin, Texas, where he currently lives. After learning more about how boat clubs are run, Sisley figured Madison would be a market where a club could thrive, and that’s why he launched Capitol Boat Club this year.
“Madison is a perfect place to start a boat club,” Sisley said. “With lakes close to the city, very little public dock space available for rent and a lot of people living in apartments or condos with no storage, the business can work for many.”
Membership plans vary by type (personal or corporate) and access level. The duration is one year with an option to cancel or renew for another year. The monthly fees cover all typical boat ownership expenses except for gas.
“The number one benefit of having a membership is the convenience,” Sisley said. “All you have to do is reserve one of the boats online and everything is ready for you when you show up.”
After members complete an online boaters safety course and an on-the-water training session, they may reserve boats up to 48 hours in advance.
The fleet is comprised of eight-person ski boats and 11-person pontoons. The boats were put in the water on April 30, with the first boater scheduled to go out on Thursday, Sisley said.
Capitol Boat Club is not Sisley’s first foray into the Madison business market. He is the co-founder of the now-closed ScooterCabs, which was a service in which a driver would drive you home in your car and then leave via a portable scooter.
Over the next five years, Sisley wants to add more boats and eventually expand to Lake Monona, Lake Waubesa and/or lakes outside of Madison.