Founded in 1955 and incorporated in 1958, the Sarasota Outboard Club (SOC) was the first organization to make Ken Thompson Park their home.
During WWII, the piece of land that is now the Sarasota Yacht Club was used by the U.S. Army as a station for training. After the war, the land was given to the city of Sarasota. During this time, a group of power boaters would
beach their boats in the back of this little island, just south of the old Siesta Key Bridge. This group of Veterans and dedicated power boaters met on this island for years, ferrying friends from the foot of the old bridge. As their numbers grew and their interest expanded, they decided to form their own club. In 1955 they organized, and on May 13, 1958, the Sarasota Outboard Club was incorporated. Their business meetings were held in the old Sarasota Bank Building on Orange Avenue, and later to the National Bank Building on Siesta Drive. In 1962, it was decided that this group needed a place of their own. They negotiated a lease with the city of Sarasota for the present-day site on City Island. The members of the SOC, working in unison, built the clubhouse and installed a concrete seawall, boat ramp and docks.
With additions and improvements, the facilities have been enjoyed by members and their guests for the past 49 years.
The SOC is a not-for-profit social and boating organization. Our venue is used to support various functions including fire, police, and sheriff department’s training exercises; fishing tournaments for the Junior Diabetes, the Sarasota Grand Prix Physically & Mentally Challenged, and the Sheriff’s Boys Ranch; as well as a social function for the Pines of Sarasota.
Nestled in behind Mote Marine, members of the SOC enjoy many privileges not available at public boat ramps such as: 1) a private ramp with hassle free parking for your vehicle and trailer; 2) docks with power & water; 3) a full facility building with kitchen, bathrooms, & showers; 4) an incredible view of downtown Sarasota and the Sarasota Bay; and (5) a family of friends that are always willing to help no matter what the task.
In order to become a member, it is required that you are married and that you own a boat. Membership is comprised of approximately 115 families with about 300 family members. Members receive a key to the clubhouse and boat ramp which allows them full use of the facilities. Overnight dockage is allowed on a limited basis, along with club rentals for private functions.
Because the SOC leases the property from the city of Sarasota, member participation in all of the functions is important to the club’s future. Most of the maintenance and upkeep is performed by the members of the club. We are a not-for-profit organization; therefore, our main source for income is from membership dues, two annual fund-raising functions, and several smaller events throughout the year. Besides the fund-raising functions, many additional events are organized by the club which include boating trips and gatherings, dinner cruises, and overnight camping. If you like boating and family fun, you simply will not find anything like the SOC anywhere on the Southwest Coast of Florida.