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Hillsborough County leaders make first move to create airboat noise ordinance

Airboat captain says business is legal
Posted at 5:54 PM, Feb 21, 2018
and last updated 2018-02-21 17:54:42-05

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. — "If you can just envision a constant loud noise all day that just doesn't leave you," said Ron Danner.

Bayport and Bayside neighbors like Ron Danner are encouraged Hillsborough County leaders are listening.

"You can't focus. You can't concentrate. You certainly can't work," he said. 

Commissioners voted to start working on an airboat ordinance after one year of complaints around upper Tampa Bay. 

"They understand we're going after the bad operators that are abusing and really wreaking havoc on some of these neighborhoods," said Commissioner Sandy Murman.

Airboat Captain Kevin Surette says he takes his customers out on the water for fun, site seeing and more. He also says he's not breaking any laws — even installed two mufflers to stunt noise. 

"My understanding is with FWC and law enforcement, I'm legally running a business out here," said Surette of Gulfcoast Airboat Charters.

Surette says he's aware of neighbors' complaints but his business is licensed and insured and he doesn't have any plans to stop. 

"There's airboats running all over the State of Florida and they're on lakes that have residential houses all around them," he said. 

Danner wishes he would stop so neighbors can get some peace.

"I just hope that he moves on and maybe go somewhere else where it has less implications on people that actually like to live," said Danner.

Legislation's push to put more restrictions on airboat captains is also moving through Tallahassee.