After several rough years when the economic downturn saw people shying away from discretionary purchases such as boats, the boat shows are beginning to return to their pre-recession size, Jacobs said.

"After the economic Armageddon in 2008, we lost a lot of boats," Jacobs said. "They weren't building them any more."

This year's shows will feature some changes. Usually, the sailboat show is held first, over Columbus Day weekend, with the powerboat show the following weekend.

But with Columbus Day falling on Oct. 14, that would push the powerboat show late into the month, when there's a greater chance of cold weather and possible conflicts with other boat shows. To counter that, the powerboat show was scheduled before the sailboat show this year.

For the first time, the powerboat show also will feature a separate area of used boats on Spa Creek near St. Mary's Catholic Church, called a brokerage show. Admission to the brokerage show is included in the tickets for the main powerboat show; water taxis and electric cruisers will shuttle people between the two locations.

Jacobs likes to say the boat shows feature everything "from eight to 80" — from an 8-foot-long kayak to an 80-foot luxury yacht. This year's largest boat will be a catamaran that's 90 feet long and 38 feet wide — so large that it will have to maneuver into Ego Alley backward to fit into its spot.

There also will be scores of vendors on land, including lenders, insurance companies and retailers offering apparel and equipment for boats and boaters.

And even though Hartman is departing from the boat shows after this fall, he intends to stay active in maritime issues. The Crownsville resident owns a local marina and plans to continue to lobby against the mayor's City Dock proposals. He plans to sail more, too.

"It's time for me to go. I'm happy to go," he said. "There are good people taking it over."

pwood@baltsun.com

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Annapolis boat shows

United States Powerboat Show

WHEN: Oct. 3, VIP preview. Oct. 4-6, general admission.

WHERE: Main show downtown at City Dock. Brokerage show near St. Mary's Catholic Church. Water taxi and electric cruisers will run between the two sites, which also are within walking distance.

TICKETS: $18 for adults and $5 for children for general admission. VIP and multiday packages available.

PARKING: $10 at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium, with free bus to the show. On Oct. 5, visitors should follow signs to park at Annapolis High School on Riva Road because of a Navy football game. Annapolis garages will be open, and Eastport Elementary School offers parking for $20.

United States Sailboat Show

WHEN: Oct. 10, VIP preview. Oct. 11-14, general admission.

WHERE: Downtown at City Dock.

TICKETS: $18 for adults and $5 for children for general admission. VIP and multiday packages available.

PARKING: $10 at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium, with free bus to the show. Annapolis garages will be open, and Eastport Elementary School offers parking for $20.

For information on either show, go to usboat.com.