Coffee shops have baristas and clothing designers have fashionistas. But there is only one Boatanista on the planet. And Lisa Almeida has spent a lifetime proving that she is worthy of the moniker.
Apparently, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office agrees. This month, Almeida was awarded a trademark for “Boatanista.”
But long before her nickname became a legal trademark, Almeida, co-owner of the two Freedom Boat Club franchises in Jacksonville and St. Augustine, was widely known across north Florida as the Boatanista. She has been using the nickname in radio commercials and various marketing efforts.
“A few years back I was talking with Holly Ackoury from Rooks ad agency,” Almeida said. “And as we were discussing all the events and activities I was working on – all involving boating – she blurted out, ‘You are the Boatanista!’ It stuck.”
In short order, Almeida went to work on a logo and definition for her alter-ego:
boat•an•is•ta [boat- uh -nee-st uh ] noun -A very nautical person, especially one who works in the boat club industry. -A person devoted to boating, particularly when it comes to the social characteristics of the boating experience. -Someone who facilitates the boating lifestyle, their motto would be: Inboard, Outboard, On Board, NEVER BORED.
Almeida, who became a franchise owner of Freedom Boat Club in 2011, has not only made boating her profession, it dominates her personal life as well. You will find her two personal boats – a 32-foot Monterey and a 22-foot Sundeck – on the river behind her home, gassed up and ready to go.
The Boatanista is a lifelong Floridian who literally grew up on boats. Her parents were competitive water skiers and performed for many years at Cypress Gardens.
“Even before I was old enough to crawl, my parents would strap me in a baby carrier and secure it in the bow of the boat while they practiced,” Almeida said. “I not only learned how to ski at a young age but my Dad taught me how to take the helm of the boat and even back up the trailer.”
Almeida bought her first boat at age 23. In boating, as in business, the Boatanista doesn’t shy away from challenges. And she takes particular delight in encouraging women to take charge – whether on a boat or in the boardroom.
“Because of my background, I take the greatest joy in helping women conquer their anxiety and fears,” she said. “A little effort and determination go a long way.”
In March, Almeida was named Jacksonville’s “Up and Coming Entrepreneur of the Year” at the Women in Business Awards.
“I am having the time of my life,” Almeida said. “And I love it when people come to one of our events or see my boat out on the water, recognize me, and start yelling and hollering for the Boatanista. I can’t believe how well known the name has become. “But for me, the Boatanista is more than a nickname. It is a way of life.”