Photo by Freedom Boat Club Newport

Freedom Boat Club, a Brunswick Corporation business, announced today that it has acquired the Freedom Boat Club of Rhode Island franchise operation and territory.

The acquisition includes all four current Rhode Island-based locations – Newport, Portsmouth, Warwick, and Barrington, as well as the rights to expand and build new club locations throughout Rhode Island, according to a press release from Freedom Boat Club.

Freedom Boat Club says that this action complements the recent Freedom Boat Club acquisitions in the Northeast, including the New York City / Long Island and Connecticut territories.

“The acquisition of the Rhode Island business and territory presents a tremendous opportunity to expand Freedom’s presence in the top boating communities in the world,” said Cecil Cohn, Freedom Boat Club Network’s president in the press release.  “The Rhode Island franchise owner has been an exceptional partner to Freedom and has done an outstanding job of establishing and growing the Freedom brand, as well as attracting a growing membership and delivering exceptional on-water experiences.”

The Freedom Boat Club brand entered the Rhode Island market under the leadership of former owner and marine industry veteran, Richard Cromwell. Over the past 12 years, Cromwell has built a strong community of boaters at its locations, grown memberships steadily year-over-year, and established a solid foundation for growth with best-in-class operations.

  • Freedom Boat Club Newport was opened in 2009 at the Newport Yachting Center.
  • Freedom Boat Club Portsmouth is located at the junction of Mount Hope Bay and the Sakonnet River in the Safe Harbor Sakonnet Marina.
  • Barrington is the newest Freedom Boat Club in Rhode Island, opening spring of 2019.  It is located at the Safe Harbor Cove Haven Marina.
  • Warwick Freedom Boat Club is located in the Safe Harbor Cowesett North Yard. It is adjacent to Chelo’s restaurant covering most of “A Dock”. It opened in 2007 and is the largest location in Rhode Island, according to Freedom Boat Club.

“Since joining the Freedom family in 2009, we have greatly valued their partnership and support, both of which have been instrumental in our success over the years,” said Richard Cromwell in the press release. “We are excited to see their plans for accelerated expansion come to fruition, since they offer our members additional boating locations across the Northeast. We are confident that our members will continue to receive exceptional boating experiences under Freedom’s leadership.”

As part of the transition, Cromwell will remain onboard to assist with the transition, and the local staff has been retained to ensure business continuity.

With this acquisition, Freedom Boat Club operates corporate-owned clubs in 11 territories spanning Rhode Island; Connecticut; Southwest Florida; Southeast Florida; Raleigh; Charleston; Chicago; New York City / Long Island; Milwaukee; the United Kingdom; and Spain. 

Ryan Belmore is the Owner and Publisher of What'sUpNewp. 
Belmore has been involved with What’sUpNewp since shortly after its launch in 2012, proudly leading it to be named Best Local News Blog in Rhode Island by Rhode Island Monthly readers in 2018, 2019, and 2020 and an honorable mention in the Common Good Awards in 2021.

Born and raised in Rhode Island, Belmore graduated from Coventry High School and the Community College of Rhode Island. In addition to living in Newport for 10 years, he has lived in Portsmouth, Coventry, Providence, Smithfield, Burrillville, and East Greenwich.

Belmore currently serves as Vice President of the Board Of Directors for Fort Adams Trust and on the Board of Directors for Potter League For Animals. He previously served on the Board of Lucy's Hearth and the Arts & Cultural Alliance for Newport County.

Belmore and his wife, Jen, currently live in Alexandria, Virginia, a move they made in 2021. Read more about that here - https://whatsupnewp.com/2021/09/letter-from-the-publisher-some-personal-news/

Belmore visits Newport every couple of weeks to support the 12+ paid contributors What'sUpNewp has on the ground across Rhode Island, a place he called home for 39 years.

Belmore is a member of Local Independent Online News (LION) Publishers, Society of Professional Journalists, and the North American Snowsports Journalists Association.

In 2020, Belmore was named Member of the Year by LION and won the Arts & Cultural Alliance of Newport County's Dominque Award.
Belmore can be contacted at ryan@whatsupnewp.com and 401-662-1653.