Freedom Boat Club adds franchise in Florida

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When the Parker family began selling boats in Florida, Calvin Coolidge was president, Gene Tunney was heavyweight champion of the world and Babe Ruth was patrolling right field at Yankee Stadium.

During the course of 85 years, the Parker name has become familiar in the Florida marine industry. Now Bobby Parker, the third generation of his family to make a living selling boats, is taking a new tack by joining the Freedom Boat Club.

Parker will open the newest franchise of the boat club at Halifax Harbor Marina in Daytona Beach in mid-February.

“I did a lot of research before I made this decision,” Parker said in a statement. “With all my connections in the industry it would have been easy to go the independent route and open my own boat club. But the more I examined Freedom Boat Club, the more impressed I was with the operation. Members have access to 75 locations across the nation and 29 in Florida alone. No other boat club compares. I wanted to be part of that network.”

Parker said his location will open with a variety of 2013 and 2014 model boats: a dual-console Key West, a Hurricane deckboat, two Tracker pontoon party barges and a Tidewater.

“I have been an avid boater all my life,” Parker said, “and I know what a hassle it can be, how expensive and time-consuming. The more I talk to people about the boating-club model, the more interested they become. There are many people I know who are passionate about boating, but are just not as passionate about boat ownership. This is the smart alternative.”