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Sound Off is the column for industry members to make their voices heard.

Blog Activity

Thinking about selling your company?

Eight key factors you must consider before a sale.   By Ronnie Evans  If you’ve been paying attention to news headlines lately, you’ve probably noticed an uptick in merger and acquisition activity. Companies in the workboat industry are buying, selling and consolidating more aggressively than I’ve seen at any point during my career. This is good news for buyers and sellers, but as M&A activity increases, so too does the complexity of selling a company. Deals that used to...

El Faro images offer view of tragedy

I don't know if there is anything more haunting than seeing a ship at rest on the sea floor. By Jerry Fraser, WorkBoat publisher   Most always, they will tell you after a tragedy such as the sinking of the El Faro, it was a chain of events. In all likelihood the loss of the 40-year-old containership in October, with all 33 crewmembers, was no exception. First, the El Faro ran into weather worse than forecast. It happens, but still, strike one. Then the ship lost power....

More than 1,100 companies exhibiting at WorkBoat Show

More than 1,100 companies will be displaying products and services at this year's International WorkBoat Show — are you ready? By Bob Callahan, Group Vice President Bob Callahan, Group Vice PresidentThis year’s 36th edition of the WorkBoat show is right around the corner — Tuesday, Dec. 1, through Thursday, Dec. 3, at the Morial Convention Center in New Orleans. With more than 1,100 companies set to display products and services, a high quality education program, entertainment and...

Shipbuilding data tells a bigger story

Putting context around the importance of the U.S. shipbuilding and repair industry. By Jerry Fraser, WorkBoat publisher Take it from an ex-commercial fisherman: if you have water in your veins (seawater or brown), there are far worse places to be than the U.S. shipbuilding industry. The Maritime Administration’s 2015 report, “The Economic Importance of the U.S. Shipbuilding and Repairing Industry,” is a reminder that maritime commerce is a crucial component of the U.S. economy and is...

Jones Act critics ignore the facts

Connecting the Jones Act to the El Faro tragedy is incorrect and shameful.   By Matt Paxton, president, Shipbuilders Council of America In the wake of the tragic loss of the El Faro and her 33-member crew during Hurricane Joaquin, familiar opponents of the maritime industry have shamefully used this difficult time as a weak attempt to blame the Jones Act for the tragedy. The highly customized vessels that operate between U.S. ports are built specifically for the unique trade that...

Inspection: More than just a sticker

The history of marine inspections is fraught with challenges and disasters. By U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer 2nd Class David Marin Chief Warrant Officers Jeff Brown (left) and Aaron Studie (right) inspect a vessel's steering system in Baltimore, July 14, 2015. USCG photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class David R. Marin.Inspections guarantee the fulfillment of a required specification. Some, like skydiving, are easily seen as a necessity for safe operation and safety of the consumer. Do you...

Life on deck

Memories of wind and water. By Jerry Fraser, WorkBoat publisher   My office in Portland, Maine, faces away from the harbor, but yesterday I had a water view, on the roof across the street. Real-time buoy reports from the Gulf of Maine indicated south to southeast winds at 30 knots or more. The good news with a southeasterly breeze is that besides being warmer than a northeaster, the wind typically lets go after nine or 10 hours. Don’t hold me to it. And in any case, the wind is...

Why now is the right time to refinance your commercial loans

 Just because you’re not in the market to fund your new build program doesn’t mean you should ignore your existing fleet’s investment. By Ronnie Evans There’s no doubt that falling oil prices have had a big impact on the workboat industry. As the industry has slowed, so too has the need to invest in new barges and boats. But just because you’re not in the market to fund your new build program doesn’t mean that now is the time to ignore your existing fleet’s investment. In...

Tragedy afloat

In the era of "Uber boats," we can't afford to take safety on public conveyances for granted. By Jerry Fraser, WorkBoat publisher In the 1990s, when I was at the Boston Globe, I occasionally filled in for the assistant foreign editor. On the eve of my first gig on the foreign desk, I nervously asked the national editor, whom I’d worked with before, what I needed to know. He said, “Stay off trains in India, buses in South America, and ferries in the Philippines,” and went back to looking...

USCG e-logs and SaaS poised to transform recordkeeping

For once, the USCG is ahead of the curve on technological enhancements. By Dean Shoultz, CTO MarineCFO  The United States Coast Guard frequently appears behind the times when it comes to rulemaking involving shipboard technological advances. Often, by the time the USCG has a Final Rule approved for publication in the Code of Federal Regulations, the technology which that Final Rule was expected to address has been superseded by a newer form of technology. Not so, however, with...