TAMPA There will be few signs of a lingering recession this weekend at the Tampa Convention Center as the annual Tampa Boat Show displays vessels selling for more than $5 million.
The biggest of the big boats is a Marlowe Explorer 97E, for 97 feet long, which is billed as the biggest ever featured at the show.
The Marlowe boasts a grand salon and a separate formal dining room for entertaining, six guest cabins, crew quarters and separate crew galley, plus two "country kitchens" for outdoor activities.
Also among the 350 boats on display will be a Viking Sports Cruiser 75 Princess, 75 feet long, with room for eight guests and two crew members; a Hatteras 60 Motor Yacht, MarineMax, 60 feet long with an advanced joystick docking system; and a Tiara 5800 Sovran, notable for its interior open space.
Do exhibitors really think they'll sell in a county with 11 percent unemployment?
Well, there are more of them this year, with nearly 70 boats on display in the harbor compared to 44 last year, and they expect to sell hundreds, said Larry Berryman, show manager in Fort Lauderdale for the National Marine Manufacturers Association.
Plus, things are better than they were, Berryman said.
"Boating remains within reach for most consumers as credit has become more readily available," he said.
The expected crowd of 15,000 plus will see some boats for as little as $1,000. And some are just 9 feet long.
An added draw for the $10 adult admission: On-the-water boating classes, and Josh and Jake Harris from Discovery Channel's "Deadliest Catch."
IF YOU GO
When: 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday.
Where: Tampa Convention Center, 333 South Franklin St.
Tickets: $10 for adults 16 and older, kids 15 and under free
All military personnel, emergency medical personnel, firefighters and police free Sunday with valid ID.