Boating in Florida? It just makes sense

Published online: May 11, 2011 News Brad Buck -
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As Sharon Nobles sees it, Florida is surrounded by water, so why not take advantage of it.

"You're missing half the state" if you don't get out on the waters off Florida or its lakes, she said.

And, Nobles points out, Lake County sports 1,300 lakes.

If you have a family of four, and you eat at a decent restaurant, you'll pay $100 or so, even if you only dine out once a month.

To Nobles, that's a monthly boat payment. Or least it could be, depending on how much money you can pay up front and how good your credit is.

"We live in a blue-collar environment," Nobles said of Lake County.

She works as marketing manager for Nobles Marine in Leesburg, a family business for 35 years.

Boats at Nobles run from $489 to $99,000, she said.

There aren't a lot of new bells and whistles this year, said Nobles and her bother, Robert, the sales manager.

Sharon did point out one new feature: A live well -- where you keep fish alive until you get back to shore -- is now standard on one type of pontoon boat this year. In previous years, the live well was optional.

But since Robert started working at his parents' business 20 years ago, the biggest improvements he's seen with boats is concern safety. For instance, it's now a federal requirement that the boat's capacity be written on the boat.

Fish and wildlife officials will fine boaters if they exceed that limit.

Robert also noted that the trailer tongue allows boaters to pull a boat into their garage, as long as the vessel is 19 feet or shorter.

Sharon also emphasized how pretty and fancy boats have been built since she started selling them about 15 years ago.


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