The nonprofit holds special meaning for the boat club co-owner
Jacksonville, Fla., July 5, 2023 – It is a donation directly from the heart. Freedom Boat Club (FBC) Jacksonville has donated a pontoon boat to Shake-A-Leg Miami (SALM), a nonprofit organization that is near and dear to FBC of Northeast Florida's co-owner Kevin Seelig. The boat club has given the organization a 2021 Sweetwater 2286 22-foot Tritoon boat with a Mercury 150 motor. SALM utilizes the marine environment to improve the health, education, and independence of children, adults, veterans, groups and families with disabilities and without. Seelig spent his childhood and teenage years with the organization, starting as a camper in SALM's summer camp before becoming a volunteer and then ultimately an employee from age 14 to 18. He credits SALM with giving him a place to thrive and putting him on his career path.
"I feel I am where I am because of the early start I got at Shake-A-Leg Miami, so my thought was if I can give back in one way or another, let me go and do that," said Seelig. "I got the love for boating from Shake-A-Leg, but I also got most of my early knowledge and experience from them. So being able to give back is great."
Seelig attended summer camp for the first time at SALM when he was about 10 or 11 years old. His mom could only afford two weeks of camp, but he loved it so much that the organization sponsored him for the remainder of that summer. It was his first experience on the water and one that stays with him to this day. Seelig volunteered when he outgrew summer camp and gravitated toward the dock, where he became the dock master and learned all aspects of boating, including maintenance.
"It was a really great experience for me. I learned a lot of the same skills that I use today. I just got to do it all really young," said Seelig. "When I was a senior in high school, there was a marina right next door that had just opened, and I walked over there and said, I have been the dock master here at Shake a Leg for four years and said do you guys need a dock master. They kind of laughed at me and said no, we don't, but this company, Freedom Boat Club is starting up and they might be able to use you. So, in my senior year of high school, down in Miami, I became a Saturday and Sunday dock master at Freedom Boat Club. Eventually, I moved to Jacksonville and became the Freedom Boat Club dock master here before Lisa Almeida and I ultimately bought the franchise."
Seelig wanted to do something special for SALM and when he learned about a new initiative called All Blue Planet from Brunswick, Freedom Boat Club's corporate owner, he reached out to the program manager to see how they could partner with SALM in the future. Seelig also spoke with his business partner Lisa Almeida, who immediately agreed to help.
"This organization was responsible for developing Kevin into a boating enthusiast and an incredible business partner, so this donation was an easy yes from me," said Almeida. "Introducing water sports and recreation to kids is so great and it gives them a way to learn about the wonderful waterways that surround Florida and shows them how to safely enjoy them. And hopefully gives them a future, as it did for Kevin, on the water."
Seelig and Almeida donated the pontoon boat and Brunswick reached out to its subsidiaries to see how else they could help. Land 'N' Sea Distributing, Inc. and Seachoice Products stepped up and donated all of SALM's summer wish list of life jackets, boat cleaning supplies and more.
Seelig and representatives from Brunswick, Land' N' Sea and Seachoice joined SALM for an event to celebrate the donations. Seelig added, "I hope that this donation allows Shake-A-Leg to continue its mission of getting kids on the water and changing lives."
About Freedom Boat Club
Freedom Boat Club, owned by Brunswick, is the largest membership-based boating club in the world. It is an alternative to boat ownership, delivering hassle-free boating since 1989. Freedom Boat Club provides unlimited access at three local locations, Julington Creek Marina in Jacksonville, Beach Marine in Jacksonville Beach, and Camachee Cove Marina in St. Augustine, as well as reciprocal access to more than 380 locations in 34 states, Canada, Europe and Australia. Members can enjoy the fun of boating without the stress through a variety of membership options. For more information, visit www.freedomboatclub.com.