Some days of the U.S. Powerboat and Sailboat shows set new attendance records. Photo: Annapolis Boat Shows

Annapolis Boat Shows Match Record Attendance

The 2022 Annapolis Boat Shows wrapped up Monday evening, and 24 hours after the U.S. Sailboat Show’s closing, there was little evidence at Annapolis City Dock that it had even been there.

The shows bring tens of thousands of aspiring or current boat owners, boating enthusiasts, and industry members to the Chesapeake Bay from around the world. Attendance at the shows has been steadily growing, despite an interruption of the annual show in 2020 due to this pandemic. And a boat show spokesperson tells us that a few days of the United States Powerboat and Sailboat shows reached or surpassed previous attendance records.

Chesapeake Bay Media and our sister company, the Annapolis School of Seamanship, saw that trend reflected in our popular free boating seminars. Sponsored by Beneteau, Jeanneau, Annapolis Yacht Sales and Crusader Yacht Sales, there were more free educational talks than ever before, and seats were consistently filled.

We were excited to spread the good news to Bay boaters and cruisers about our brand new Guide to Cruising the Chesapeake Bay, a special spiral-bound 50th anniversary edition with insider tips and firsthand stories about the Bay’s best anchorages and port towns. There are some copies still available for pre-order.

A big draw at the Sailboat Show was a lineup of nearly four dozen YouTube channels’ cruising stars. There were lines around the block at the Sailing Channels booth to meet those who inspire armchair sailors and cruisers alike. Content creators like SV Delos and Sailing La Vagabonde drew the biggest crowds. The family behind Vagabonde also conducted multiple appearances on their catamaran at the end of Dock D. Guests loved being able to interact with them. 

Volunteer Sue Mikulski helps a youthful donor make a contribution. Photo courtesy of Craig Ligibel

Annapolis Boat Shows also supported an effort to raise funds for marine industry members and boaters affected by Hurricance Ian in Florida, where entire marinas were destroyed. We reported last week on the push to help victims. Organizer Craig Ligibel sought donations for the Hands Over the Transom fundraising effort, including at the Chesapeake Bay Media Boat Show Bash as fan favorite Dublin Five played on Pusser’s Caribbean Grille. Organizers are still hoping to reach their $50,000 goal. It’s not too late to donate at annapolisboatshows.com/relief/.

While the Sailboat Show has only just been broken down, the Annapolis Boat Shows team is already shifting into 2023 mode. Next year’s boat show dates are set.

Powerboat Show: October 5-8, 2023
Sailboat Show: October 12-16, 2023

We’ll see you there!

-Meg Walburn Viviano