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Climate change: flooding at the Annapolis Boat Show


Last week I spent a few days on the US east coast, among others visiting the Annapolis Boat Show. I had never been there, but because it is the largest sailboat show in North America I wanted to check out some of the new boats. It also gave me the chance to meet up with some of the round-the-world sailors that I have been following on YouTube and/or that I support on Patreon, such as SV Delos, Sailing Doodles, Sailing La Vagabonde and 59 North.

During the first day of the boat show I noticed that a water main had broken next to the Fleet Reserve Club and the Annapolis Waterfront Hotel, and that the road was partially flooded. When I came back a few hours later it seemed a lot worse, but because there were now police cars parked at the flooding I assumed they would be able to quickly solve the problem.


The next day I was at an event with among others Brian and Brady from SV Delos, when someone asked them a question about how climate change was changing ocean sailing and the sailing routes. The answer was interesting, it seems that the ocean sailing routes that have been used for over a century are suddenly not optimal anymore because currents and winds are changing. Sailors that still follow them take 50% more time to cross the Atlantic than others who create their own routes based on new weather and ocean current data. Then someone mentioned that the flooding in Annapolis was also related to climate change. I thought, flooding? And then I realized that what I had seen the day before was not caused by a broken water pipe but it was the Chesapeake Bay water that had risen.


I went back to the boat show and was surprised to see how far the water had come up in the mean time. Many exhibitors could not be reached, simply because of the water. I did a quick Google search and found that this was indeed partly related to climate change. One article mentioned that flooding on the east coast is up 50-75% since 2000, and that in 2017 there had been 63 days with flooding in Annapolis!


Click here for a link to the article 

But most people seemed to dismiss it, saying the flooding was just due to a hurricane that passed by in combination with high tides. I am sure that was an important reason for the floods, but when I read some of the comments on sailor’s forums, people were saying that the extend of the flooding was unusual and that in the past this never used to happen. My take is that of course there were unusual circumstances, but that without climate change it would not have been this bad.


I talked to a number of people at the show but hardly anybody saw it as a serious issue. People did not seem to consider that it could be the beginning of something that will hit many more cities over the coming years and decades. And that is the scary thing, people are like frogs in a pot of water that slowly starts to boil. The frogs don’t realize it until it’s too late.


Flooding is not normal but soon it might be the new normal. Politicians are not doing enough to stop the climate crisis and grassroots movements do not have sufficient power to make a real change. We still have time to stop the climate catastrophe if we act now, but I am getting less confident every day that we will be in time to avoid the consequences. Be prepared…


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  1. Concerning observation and development. Thank you for sharing, Marc.

    Could you share with us how you are trying to actively adjust your lifestyle to lower your personal greenhouse footprint? Might give some of us insights and action points that we haven’t hear of before. Having said that, what is your viewpoint on flying?

    As sharing is caring, I’d like to share here that the frog metaphor is just that, a metaphor. People understand what one means when used, but it is factually not true (

  2. I am a proponent of radical measures, for example completely banning gas powered vehicles or banning flying. With the Internet a lot of physical movement is not necessary anymore, it’s just convenience. It will change our current quality of life, but it will extend the time and quality of life on this earth for future generations. I don’t think people will radially change their lifestyles unless they are forced to. It took me a while to figure that out, it’s just how we are wired as human beings. Personally, I fly a lot less than before and would not mind stopping travel completely if we could all agree on that (or if governments would be able to ban flying). The main thing I do is to spread the word about the climate crisis, most people just pretend nothing is happening or are not even aware of it.

  3. Asking the powers that be to let go their business models focusing on oil addiction and maximizing returns no matter what costs!? I hear you Marc, but am pessimistic. You know the saying “Erst das Fressen, dann die Moral”. Looking at the history of mankind it seems inevitable we are headed for disaster and indeed radicle measures appear just as inevitable. The upside might be that we all learn to live slow again enjoying the perks of technological disruption.

  4. People don’t realise the seriousness of the situation because of the deliberate attempts by the oil industry to downplay the impact of climate change. A lot of people are confused if global warming is actually happening. In a way we can’t blame humanity for not realizing the seriousness of the situation when the intention from certain industries and political circles has always been to mislead. Also even to this day half of the world population are still struggling to make their ends meet everyday.. how on earth have they the mindspace to contemplate the issues of global importance??