Vol 6 No. 7 - November 9, 2005

Cannons Marina hits 50

By Rusty Chinnis
sun staff writer

On Saturday and Sunday Nov. 12 and 13, Cannons Marina on Longboat Key will celebrate its 50th anniversary with a boat show, sale and fishing seminars.

Come see the latest in boats and motors while learning techniques that will maximize your fish-catching ability. For more than 50 years, Cannons has catered to the areas boaters and anglers, providing new and used boats, motors, expert marine maintenence, tackle and bait.

The following boating and angler clinics and demonstrations will be held for all ages during the celebration:

Saturday, Nov. 12
• 11 a.m., Dr. Randy Wells, Mote Marine, " Five Generations of Living Bottlenose Dolphins in Sarasota Bay."
• Noon, Captain Scott Moore, "Top Flat Fishing Secrets Revealed in Sarasota and Perico Bays."
• 1 p.m., Tom Tomao, Cannons service manager, "Extending the Life of Your Yamaha Outboard Motor."
• 2 p.m., Captain Scott Moore, "Casting Clinic for All Ages; Increase Your Distance up to 50 Percent."

Sunday, Nov. 13
• Noon, Captain Justin Moore, "The Key to Fishing Tarpon off the Beach."
• 1 p.m., Captain Rob Roberts, "Offshore Fishing Secrets."
• 2 p.m., Captain Scott Moore, "Kid's Fishing Clinic, (ages 7-12).” Learn smart equipment choices, casting efficiency and bait selection.

Throughout the two-day celebration, Cannons will hold prize drawings for guests, including items from Grady-White and Scout Boats. Yamaha Outboard Motors will offer a mini-stereo system with AM/FM/CD and speakers. Harry’s Continental Kitchens will offer refreshments and birthday cake both days from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Cannons Marina is located at 6040 Gulf of Mexico Drive, Longboat Key, ICW marker 33, and specializes in boat sales, service and rentals. Cannons features Grady-White boats, Scout boats and Yamaha outboard motors.

A 50-year historical perspective of Cannons Marina and Cannons-by-the Sea Cottages is as follows:

During the early 1950s, the Miller family often vacationed on the west coast of Florida. Paul Miller, a successful Detroit businessman, had always loved the area and enjoyed the family times spent here. While on holiday in Sarasota, he decided to take his family fishing on the northern end of Longboat Key. As he drove north on Gulf of Mexico Drive, he stopped at Cannons Marina, then Cannons Boat Dock, and met Ernie Cannon, the owner. In the l940s, Cannon had established Cannons boat rental business, and had built four cottages which remain, even today, as Cannons by the Sea Cottages. Miller, looking for a career change that would allow him to spend more time with his family, saw the potential of Longboat Key and agreed to buy the business in August 1955. Miller and Cannon sealed the deal with a friendly handshake.

Miller then moved his wife, Dorothy, daughter, Sally, and four-year-old son, David, from their comfortable and urban life in Detroit to Cannons Cottage No. 3 on Longboat Key.

"Longboat Key of the 1950s was a rugged and remote sandy barrier island where rabbits, raccoons and rattlesnakes lived, and Gulf of Mexico Drive was a narrow paved road loaded with potholes and lined with Australian pines," Miller said.

Miller continued to run the boat and cottage rental business. Everyone in the family pitched in, including David, who began his training in the business and learned to count by preparing bait orders for the boat customers.

In the early 1960s, new boat and motor sales were added as an attempt to keep parts and replacements available for the boat rental business. It didn't take long, however, before the new boat and motor sales became very successful.

After having spent a large portion of his childhood learning the business, David Miller finally acquired Cannons Marina from his father in 1972. Under David's leadership, the company was restructured, with a greater focus on new boat and motor sales, as well as on boat rentals.

Today, Cannons enjoys success both nationally and internationally as an award-winning dealer.

For more information about Cannons Marina, visit www.cannons.com.

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