Best Tips and Tricks for The US Sailboat Show

There isn’t a more exciting waterfront than the US Sailboat Show in Annapolis, Oct. 5-9, 2017! It is the nation’s largest in-water boat show and, it  is sure to be even bigger this year than last year.

So, we’ve assembled a few “Tips and Tricks” to help you enjoy the show:

You’ll need more than 1 day to take it all in!

If your time allows, purchase a multi-day pass to get the most bang for your buck. Download in advance or pick up a show map at the gate.

Make your hotel reservations early!

If all of Annapolis is sold out of places to stay, you may want to get a room in Waldorf or another town where your drive in on show day.

Parking near the show is pretty IMPOSSIBLE,

so park in the designated lots and ride the bus in to the show.

Proper Shoes!

It probably goes without saying, but wear comfortable boating or non-marking shoes. Be prepared to be asked to remove your shoes prior to boarding.  Moving around decks in hose or slick socks is not recommended.

Be Prepared for Sunny Weather

The weather may be sunny and beautiful, so wear sun glasses, use sun screen, and perhaps wear a hat. If it rains, wear your foul weather gear and rubber boots to keep your feet dry.  There are low lying places around the show perimeter that are prone to flooding. Umbrellas are dangerous to others at a crowded boat show….not to mention, they fly overboard when caught by the wind!

But Also Be Prepared for Rainy Weather

If it is raining, it might be the perfect time to look at the boats you are very interested in. Many show goers head for the tents when it starts raining and the crowds thin out on the docks.  Take this opportunity to look at your favorite boats when it is less crowded. Open lockers, bilges, and ask the dealer your questions.

Map out a Strategy, and also the Restrooms ;)

Very important…..Look at the map and figure out where the porta-lets are! When you need them, you want to know where they are!

Easy Sign in

You’ll be asked to “sign in” at most of the displays. Some people carry envelope return address stickers instead of writing their name on the cards.  Stick a label on it!

Opening Gun!

Get there in time for the opening gun and make a mad dash for the favorite boats on your list to check out. The busiest times during the show tend to be in the afternoon.

Avoid Lines at Lunchtime

If you are there for the day and purchasing lunch at the show, plan on eating earlier than noon or an hour or so after 12 so you don’t stand in a very long line.

Make sure kids have their PFDs

If you plan to bring small children, remember their PFD.  In a large crowd on the docks, we’ve seen small children go overboard.  Better to be safe!


Thursday is VIP Day and open to the Trades. Tickets for VIP Day are more expensive but the crowds are usually lighter.  After Thursday, Friday and Monday are not quite as busy as Saturday and Sunday.

What’s a Painkiller?

If you’ve never had a Painkiller at the Boat Show, it’s an experience! Order a Pusser’s Painkiller, kick back, and enjoy the show…newbies are better off starting with a #1!

Prepare for NEXT YEAR!

As soon as you return home from the show, make reservations at your favorite Annapolis hotel for next year’s show. The Sailboat Show is always on the same Columbus Day weekend!