When the Boat Show opens Thursday at the Minneapolis Convention Center, cash registers are expected to ring.
That's because the boating economy continues to improve, and is expected to see a third straight year of increased sales following the severe downturn that began in 2007.
Nowhere are people more willing to help boost watercraft sales than in Minnesota, where boat-ownership per capita exceeds that of any other state, according to the U.S. Coast Guard.
Home to Alumacraft, Lund and Crestliner boat companies, among others, Minnesota also rings up more aluminum boat sales than any state except Texas, whose population is about five times larger than Minnesota's.
Minnesota's boat-ownership rate per household is higher still, about 34 percent, far exceeding any other state in the Midwest, including second-place Wisconsin, at 28 percent.
"And there's remains a lot of pent-up demand for boats in Minnesota,'' said Dan Chesky, owner of Dan's Southside Marine in Bloomington, a 46-year-old family business. "We've been seeing great sales for two years, and we expect it to continue.''
Boat financing options also have improved, said Frankie Dusenka of Frankie's Marine in Chisago City.
"Qualified buyers can get under 5 percent for 180 months,'' Dusenka said. "That's pretty good.''
Boat Show features this year include:
• Stand-up paddleboarding (SUP) and kayaking will be offered in the show's pool. Bring your swimsuit or use one of the show's wet suits.
• "Miss Geico,'' a 50-foot racing catamaran (and six-time world champion) with a top speed of 170 mph will be exhibited.
• Daily sailing seminars.
• DIY boat and motor maintenance and repair workshops will again be offered at "Fred's Shed.''
Show hours Thursday are from 2 to 9 p.m. Hours Friday are noon to 10 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.; and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Adult admission (16 and older) is $11. Children 15 and under are admitted free. Thursday is senior day, with those 62 and older admitted for $8. Active military can get in free.