CHICAGO (CBS) — Nearly 50,000 people are expected to attend the 2014 Progressive Insurance Chicago Boat, Sports & RV Show and many outdoor enthusiasts are ready to buy now that the economy is more steady.

As outdoor enthusiasts pack into McCormick Place just to see what’s “Hot” on the boating scene, the Recreational Marine Industry is breathing a sigh of relief now that it sees signs of consumer confidence again.

National Marine Manufacturers Association President Thomas Dammrich says he’ll never forget what he calls the Great Recession.

“When you’re losing 80 percent of your sales, the hardest part is working with the people who helped build your business that you can no longer afford to employ.”

Dammrich says he strongly believes better days are ahead for manufacturers that survived the recession can barely keep up with the demand for new boats

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