The term ‘Blue Economy’ is increasingly used in various marine sectors and development frameworks. For it to be a truly useful approach, however, we argue that social benefits and equity must be explicitly prioritized alongside environmental and economic concerns. This integration of social dimensions within the Blue Economy is required to ensure that marine economic sectors contribute to achieving sustainable development goals. We review what an equity-focused ‘Blue Economy’ might mean for some established and emergent marine sectors and note existing guidelines that may be used for incorporating these aspects into planning. Moving towards a Blue Economy does not only imply developing emerging sectors in undeveloped areas; larger challenges will be found in transforming industries that already have significant economic and livelihood contributions despite concurrent social and environmental concerns. A ‘marine industrial revolution’—as the Blue Economy has sometimes been understood—cannot achieve sustainable development and well-being if it does not avoid the widespread negative social and ecological impacts of historical development pathways. A concerted effort is therefore necessary to design and implement inclusive and equitable policies as an integral part of a Blue Economy that is transformative and not only expansive.