Freedom holds free days; and new rules in the “Me, Too” era

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Introducing people to boating is the goal of special events slated for Freedom Boat Clubs, while dealers will have a good opportunity to learn about the potential impact of the “Me Too” movement on their dealerships.

First, a shout out to the Jacksonville area Freedom Boat Clubs, and owner Lisa Almeida, as they hold “Free Boating Experience Days” at locations in St. Augustine, Jacksonville Beach and Jacksonville. Cleverly calling herself “Your Boatanista,” Almeida explains they’ve actually been doing these free experience days for nearly a decade and it has allowed them to introduce hundreds of people to fun on the water.

“We are proponents of the boating experience first,” she says, “and as such we schedule our free days every couple of months or so. On good sunny days we can give 60 or more people a taste of boating, and even on days with rain showers we can still have several dozen show up. We really like doing it and we’ve taken out so many that have never been on a boat before.”

From a kid who’s never been boating to a 92-year-old grandparent best describes the range of attendees. For each event, Almeida issues local press releases and media invitations, but she depends most heavily on social media to deliver attendance. Of course, another goal is to grow club membership and that comes from the effort as well. The events “plant seeds” and many grow in time.

Three events are just ahead: The first is this Saturday, September 14, at the Julington Creek Freedom Boat Club located in Julington Creek Marina in Jacksonville, Fla. The next day,

September 15, it’s slated for the St. Augustine, Fla., Freedom Boat Club at Camachee Cove Yacht Harbor. Finally, the third event will be Saturday, September 21, at the Jacksonville Beach Freedom Boat Club location at Beach Marine.

It’s commonly accepted that we must get people a hands-on boating experience as a critical route to our industry’s long-term growth. That’s particularly important if we want to reach Generation X (the demographic with money) and, even more so, the 72-million-plus millennials that are known to make experiences a driving priority. A tip-o-the-cap to operations like Almeida’s for tackling it.

Can “Me Too” impact your dealership?

Managing your dealership in the “me Too” era requires awareness and understanding. That’s why the American Boat Builders and Repairers Association (ABBRA) will host a special seminar during this year’s International Boatbuilders Exposition (IBEX) to focus on this subject.

Specifically, the presentation is Session #810, scheduled for Thursday, October 3, 2019 from 8:00 am to 10:30 am. Every dealer faces issues in finding, hiring and, especially, retaining the right people to move the organization forward. Nowadays, there are many laws and regulations governing the relationship employers and employees, and dealers must understand and navigate through them to ensure their organization avoids what can become costly fines and penalties, including the potential harm to the organization’s reputation.

More specifically, dealers can find themselves straddling two separate legal systems, federal admiralty law and state law. It’s in this legal borderland that seminar leader Ben Ford focuses his practice. He combines solid litigation experience with a practical appreciation of the challenges facing the boating industry today.

The result is Ford’s no-nonsense business approach to solving legal problems effectively. His background includes 15 years working in the marine industry. Prior to establishing his legal practice, Ford did everything from the commissioning and delivery of boats to working on multi-million-dollar acquisitions for a national marine retailer.

Register Now!

Get more information about IBEX, October 1-3, in Tampa at:


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