Women’s Day at Seattle Boat Show spotlights women on deck

Annie Crawley is an experienced sailor, who has thrived in a largely male-dominated profession. (Photo courtesy of Annie Crawley)

Sailor Annie Crawley says boats have not always been welcoming towards women deckhands — as one captain early in her career demonstrated.

“I remember the captain looking me up and down. He said ‘You don’t belong on deck, but I have a galley position,’” said Crawley. Crawley is now an experienced sailor, certified PADI scuba instructor, underwater photographer and award-winning author.

“I worked on a different boat,” she said. “I knew I didn’t belong in a galley.”

The boating community, which includes boat ownership, sailboat racing, working as a deckhand and other marine activities has historically been dominated by men, which can be discouraging to women who want to take to the water. But the organizers of the Seattle Boat Show hopes its Women’s Day on Monday, Jan. 29, changes that perspective.

“We have a very active community of talented female boaters in the Northwest who are always eager to share their knowledge,” said show spokesperson Lisa Samuelson. “Women reach out to us year-round to have the opportunity to be part of our speaker line up.”

On Monday, women can attend the boat show for free. This year’s show is from Friday, Jan. 26 to Saturday, Feb. 3. Children under 10 years old can attend for free the entire show. Women interested in attending on Women’s Day can register online. Tickets for other days can be purchased on the website.

The show includes seminars on a variety of maritime topics – from one woman’s experience leading an all-female crew on the Red Sea to fishing tips in Puget Sound.

Crawley said everyone interested in the Seattle boating community can visit the show.

“Even if you’re not a boat owner it would be a phenomenal opportunity,” she said.

The boat show will take place on the water in South Lake Union and Bell Harbor Marina and indoors at CenturyLink Field event center. Attendees can take free shuttles to each of the show’s three locations.

Activities include heated boat rides on South Lake Union, daily Kids AquaZone, a huge display of 27,000 dominoes, and “Chowder Chomp” a charity cook-off that takes place Saturday and Sunday from 12 p.m to 3 p.m.

The Seattle Boat Show is hosting a Women’s Day on Monday, Jan. 29. The event is free for women and will feature boat rides, a cook-off and a Northwest Women in Boating panel. (Photo courtesy of Seattle Boat Show.)


  1. Nice article! It would be good to expand on this topic in future years at the event and even on Seattle Globalist.

    One idea would be to involve local author / anthropologist Margaret Willson who wrote a book called “Seawomen of Iceland” that traces the roots of gender equality to earlier days on fishing vessels.

    She has also written about her experiences in Brazil around dance and martial arts.

    Check out her site:


    1. Thank you Chang! I looked at that book and I will have to add it to my reading list. It looks interesting – I love the water and I would like to know more about women on the water.

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