The Key to Why Attendance at the Annapolis Sailboat Show Was Up in 2019

High tides blocked the entrances. Spouts of rain early on turned into an extreme heatwave. And yet, somehow, attendance at the 2019 Annapolis Sailboat Show was the highest its been in recent years.

Were people drawn in by the novelty of not having to constantly take their shoes on and off? A typical practice and a general nuisance at any boat show, with docks underwater at Annapolis, guests this time around couldn’t even wear shoes, to begin with. But, while a welcome surprise, that’s actually not the reason for the higher guest turnout. 

The real reason? Social media influencers. Attendees flocked to step aboard the Outremer that Riley Whitelum and Elayna Carausu famously travel the world on, documenting the never-ending voyage on their YouTube channel. Other fans could be seen completing Tula’s Endless Scavenger Hunt, or running around in Sailing SV Delos shirts. Still, more guests were thrilled to meet the adorable Ruby Rose couple and hear their fantastic accents.

Whoever attendees were there to see, the 2019 Annapolis Sailboat Show was packed with lines of fans waiting to meet influencers. Word around the show was that La Vagabond had a wait time of over two hours and that the line for Tula’s Endless Summer in the Highfield Booth was a photo-worthy spectacle. 

Whether you’re a lover of all things social media like I am, or you don’t know Instagram from Facebook and like it that way, influencer presence at the boat show does matter and shouldn’t be ignored. If the combined force of every single one of these influencers’ subscribers had shown up in Annapolis this year, they would have numbered 2,913,930 guests. 

Yeah, it’s a crazy number. Here’s the breakdown:


Sailing La Vagabonde – 1.15M subscribers

Sailing Yacht Ruby Rose  – 86.6K subscribers

Tula’s Endless Summer – 106K subscribers

Sailing SV Delos – 358K subscribers

Sailing Project Atticus – 66.4K subscribers

59 North Podcast5.23K subscribers

Monday Never31.6K subscribers

Chase a Story36.7K subscribers

Sailing Doodles 169K subscribers

Calico Skies Sailing874 subscribers

Mermaid Monster 11K subscribers

Learning The Lines – 49.4K subscribers

The word’s in the job title, and the influence of social media extends far beyond that of magazine subscriptions. And if potential attendees are more inclined to come out to meet the people living a life on the water that they aspire to, what lessons can be learned about taking the industry’s marketing into the future?