The Bay Bridge Boat Show closed with a bang, both figuratively and literally Sunday, April 18. Billed as “Power and Sail; Two Shows in One,” the new show format catered to both power and sail enthusiasts. Advanced ticket holders traveling from around the country flocked to the Bay Bridge Marina throughout the sold-out event to climb aboard the three hundred boats on display, and shop from the many marine equipment and boating apparel exhibitors, charter companies, and financial institutions.

bay bridge boat show
This year's Bay Bridge Boat Show featured power and sailboats. Photo by Josh Davidson

“Once again the Bay Bridge Boat Show proved to be a winner,” said Mark Schulstad of Pocket Yachts. “A huge turn out for the first day led to early sales!”

With a recorded 57 percent increase in attendance from the best reported attendance in previous year it was apparent that the economic benefit of the boat shows was alive and well once again. Exhibitors reveled in the success of the four-day weekend as dozens of SOLD signs sprinkled the show grounds. Many more reports of new orders for future arrivals, and deposits on future production of some of the larger power and sail vessels were also received.

"The Bay Bridge Boat Show was a great way for us to showcase our Sylvan, SeaBorn, and Starcraft boats to a wide variety of potential customers,” said Tracy Paugels from Honda PowerSports of Crofton. “After a long year of the pandemic, it was so nice to meet customers in person and have that personal interaction that you don't get over the phone or through email.”

Following the eighteen-month hiatus from boat shows worldwide, it was clear that not only was this annual gathering deeply missed, but that a new approach would have to be implemented for the health and safety of all. Working with Queen Anne’s County and the county’s health officer, Dr. Ciotola, show management instituted a number of strict show protocols. Visitors were required to wear proper face coverings, large attendance numbers were smoothed over the four full days to help avoid overcrowding on higher traffic days, PPE and hand washing stations were made available throughout the show grounds, and surface cleaning was non-stop. 

“I want to thank all who participated and assisted in making this event, one of the first in Maryland, a huge success while keeping the health of participants at the forefront,” said Annapolis Boat Shows president, Paul Jacobs. “I am especially grateful to Queen Anne’s County for their vision for what an outdoor event should look like, and to Maryland Secretary of Commerce, Kelly Schulz, and County Commissioner, Chris Corchiarino, for kicking off the event with their opening remarks. Our objective was to work toward creating a prosperous methodology of producing outdoor events that are not only safe, but also economically productive for the exhibitors and local community. We feel we have succeeded on all fronts; setting us up for our fall events in Annapolis.”