By John Lauritsen

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Fourth of July weekend means plenty of Minnesotans are busy with their boats. But it’s also a busy time for those selling them.

Boat sales just hit a state record last year and this year could be even better.

“It’s gorgeous. It’s all good stuff,” said Bob Mattsen.

While picking up parts for his boat, Mattsen decided to take a look at a new one.

“There’s a lot of us boomers that are getting our kids and grandkids involved in this sport. They’re deciding they want to get their own boats. They don’t like grandpa’s old one so much,” said Mattsen.

It’s a story retailers have become familiar with. Many of them were anchored down by the recession. But since then showrooms have seen sales spike about 20% from five years ago.

“It’s come off the lows of the recession. Every year it’s been going up and up,” said Jack Jacobson.

Jacobson is the general manager at Rapid Marine. This summer they’re close to matching their 2018 record year. Jacobson said the economy is a big reason for that but not the only one.

“One thing about the boats up here in the Midwest, they are only used about half the year so the trade value is very well. They’re not used 12 months out of the year so you can have a boat that can be 10 years old and you are going to be a very good trade-in,” said Jacobson.

More people boating means more parts and repairs are also needed.

While the Fourth of July is considered part of the peak season, there’s also a feeling that our long winters can help with summer sales.

Snow in April and May means people want to take advantage of the lake time they do have.

“This year was late and I think everyone wants to get out and do it and enjoy it,” said Mattsen.

“They have what you call cabin fever. They are pent up. The winter days are tough on us but the summer days are very rewarding,” said Jacobson.

From a national perspective, Minnesota is also near the top, trailing only Florida, Texas, Michigan and North Carolina in terms of boat sales.

John Lauritsen