A new Freedom Boat Club location is set to open in Ponte Vedra this month after holding a ribbon cutting ceremony with the St. Johns County Chamber of Commerce Ponte Vedra Beach Division in mid-October.
Founded in 1989 in Sarasota, Freedom Boat Club is the oldest and largest boat club in America with locations across the country. Its stated goal is to provide an affordable option for boat ownership and offer a recreational boating experience for its members at an affordable price.
According to Lisa Almeida, the owner of the Ponte Vedra location and two other clubs in the Northeast Florida region, Freedom Boat Club makes it easier for people to partake in the hobby of boating.
"It's a combination of people who really want a boat but can't afford their own, but it's also for lapsed boaters who may have sold their boat and want to get back into boating," said Almeida.
Freedom Boat Club's Ponte Vedra location will be open the second week of November at Palm Valley Outdoors, located at 377 S. Roscoe Road. Almeida said she chose to open a new club in Ponte Vedra because many people from the area have contacted her about opening a location in the community. Additionally, Almeida revealed that Palm Valley Outdoors approached her first and offered her a deal she couldn't refuse.
"Palm Valley Outdoors approached us and said that they would build a floating dock and dry stack marina for us if we would be interested," Almeida said. "Of course, we jumped at that chance."
Almeida's other two clubs are located at Julington Creek Marina in Jacksonville and Camachee Cove in St. Augustine. Members of Almeida's Freedom Boat Club locations can use boats from each of her clubs as many times as they want.
Anyone interested in joining Almeida’s club in Ponte Vedra should visit www.jaxfreedom.com, where prospective members can fill out a contact card.