women in boating

Drop the gender stereotypes and just call me Captain – sharing my passion for boating with women of all ages

I have been blessed with some wonderful friends in my life, men and women. It is particularly useful to have male friends around when you need a refrigerator moved or a fallen tree cut up and hauled off.

But when the job calls for launching or docking a boat, navigating through tight quarters, or simply taking the helm, I don’t feel the need to call on any friends. Just call me captain.

For too long, boating has been a male-dominated industry. As a lifelong Floridian who grew up on boats, I take great joy in sharing my passion for boating with women of all ages.

As the only child of two professional water skiers, I learned boating skills at a young age. There was never a question of whether I could do it; it was only a matter of how long it would take me to master a new task. I grew up believing women were fully capable of driving a boat and handling a trailer.

I purchased my first boat at age 24, splitting the cost with my then-boyfriend. A few years later, I bought out his half. Now, as owner of the Jacksonville and St. Augustine locations of Freedom Boat Club, I manage a fleet of more than 60 boats, not including two of my own.

Thirty years after buying my first boat, my enthusiasm for being out on the water has not diminished. In fact, it has grown along with my ability to share my passion with others. I am grateful to be able to provide the opportunity for others to experience the joys of boating without the hassles or aggravation.

women boats

Above all, through my business, I relish the chance to help women become confident, enthusiastic boaters.

I have one friend who literally sat in the back of the boat, clutching her purse and her 9-year-old daughter, the first time they went for a ride. A short while ago, she came into my office and greeted me with a “high five,” telling me how she had just taken the boat out and then pulled into the nearby dock to get gas. I have another woman who took her girlfriends out by herself, and she says previously she would have not even entertained the thought.

What is keeping you from experiencing the joys of boating? Don’t allow outdated gender stereotypes to get in the way of a great time.

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As owner of Freedom Boat Club Jacksonville, Lisa “The Boatanista” Almeida has found the perfect outlet for merging her gifts as an entrepreneur with her lifelong passion: Boating. Lisa not only makes boating her business, it also plays a central role in her social, charitable and civic efforts.

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2 Comments

  1. I have found that women can be much more thoughtful vessel pilots and operators. They tend to be less reactive and more analytical. I offer a sailing course just for women which is intended to reinforce their instincts but also to encourage them to TRUST those instincts without too many second thoughts. I also offer a couple cruising class wherein we discuss the existing role assignments and then review the logic behind those assignments. The bulk of the course is intended to give the non-primary partner a chance to be in the role of the decision-maker. Detailed course description can be found here: http://www.chesapeakeflotillas.com/training/. You may contact me anytime with questions or comments.

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