A new business in Brick Township is redefining the “boat club” business model as the marine industry experiences one of its most major years of growth in decades.
Township resident Mike Trapasso has started a new business at his father’s marina, Jersey Shore Marina on Route 70, that takes the concept of competitors like Freedom Boat Club and adds a sense of community and personalization, he said. His business, Jet Drive Exchange Boat & Jet Ski Club, is opening this summer after the concept was tested in Ocean City, and is coming at a time when boat builders are backlogged with orders and marina slips can be hard to find.
This Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., the club will offer an open house with free boat rides and refreshments.
“My dad has always been in the business of owning and operating marinas, and I wanted to do something for myself,” said Trapasso, referring to his father, Vito, who owns Jersey Shore Marina.
One family business – the marina – will combine with the other to create a unique experience, he explained. While the “boat club” concept, in which customers pay a membership fee and have usage of a selection of boats on-demand, has been around for a while, Jet Drive is setting out to create a true “club” of boaters, complete with social events, use of the marina pool and more.
“I wanted it to be a real boat club,” Trapasso said. “A lot of places say it’s a boat club, but it’s really just a rental with a nice name. The goal is to create a community here, get people to meet others at the marina and develop friendships.”
For those familiar with Jersey Shore Marina, the friendship and community aspect needs no introduction. The marina hosts events from an annual cornhole tournament to a giant pig roast, and is known for its slip-holders who often spend the weekend on their boats and socialize every weekend, developing lifelong friendships.
“Our members are going to be able to use the pool, go to all the events like the corn hole tournament and the annual pig roast, things like that,” said Trapasso.
Jet Drive is starting out with special membership pricing for its fleet of (so far) center console and dual console boats, plus jet-skis. Members will be able to access the boats as well as the jet-skis, and can pick and choose their type of vessel depending on the activities they want to do on a given day. As more members sign up, the fleet will expand (pontoon boats are already on order) and larger vessels will be added.
“I want to get into jet boats, RIBs, a big variety of things to take out depending on what you’d like to do that day,” Trapasso said. “So we’re going to do that and step up to larger boats too. Our other location in Ocean City just started their ‘plus size’ fleet with 25-foot boats and we’d like to add those in the next year or two.”
In addition to the sense of community, celebrations and variety of boats, Trapasso is offering one more unique item: a personal touch that goes hand-in-hand with the family business his family has run for decades.
“It’s not a franchise, it’s my baby,” he said. “If someone calls and needs something, I’m always here.”
If You Go:
Jet-Drive Boat & Jet-Ski Club Open House