Marc and Oana Graveline grew up on the water—he along the coast of Virginia, and she in Romania, near the Black Sea. When they moved to North Carolina, their mutual love for the water drew them to Lake Norman's calm waters, tree-lined shores, and wildlife. They envisioned themselves teaching their two children how to drive a boat, and they bought one—a 21-foot Sea Ray. As the cost of their boat's upkeep began to mount, they searched for alternatives to ownership and started their own chapter of the Carefree Boat Club. Today, their children can regularly be seen cleaning their fleet of eight bow riders, sun-deck boats, and pontoon boats or organizing for member socials.
The independent owners and their team of captains and instructors join those of 24 other locations throughout the East Coast and the South in helping members share vessels and learn that it takes a village to wax a hull in less than 10 seconds. Instructors train new members in an extensive boating course, during which they learn water safety, steering procedures, nautical terminology, and navigation. Once each member is deemed seaworthy, they let him or her reserve boats up to six months in advance.