Each year at the International WorkBoat Show in New Orleans, I am overwhelmed by what I see and learn while there. Here are my top five favorites from the 2014 show:
• The people. Everyone in the commercial marine industry attends the WorkBoat Show. It is amazing how many friends and colleagues I run into while walking the show floor. This year I finally realized why it takes me three days to get through the entire show. It’s because I constantly stop to talk to people. Many are vendors of products or services that my company, BB Riverboats, uses. Others are just good friends I have made over my a long career in the maritime industry.
• The incredible variety of exhibitors showcases everything that the maritime industry needs to operate efficiently and safely. I cannot think of one item you would not be able to see on the floor of the show. I viewed a variety of lifesaving equipment and products that I have been thinking about purchasing. I even saw a remote underwater robot that attendees could try out.
• The seminars and keynote addresses are always great. This year I learned about how international maritime standards might be impacting our domestic industry, received an update on Subchapter M, and listened to Captain Phillips tell his tale of being captured by pirates and his exciting rescue.
• I was pleased to see the show return to its traditional early December time slot. I like early December in New Orleans. It fits very nicely into my business operations schedule.
• I get a real feel for what is going on across the entire maritime industry. I also gain a greater understanding of the challenges and opportunities that exist industrywide. I enjoy talking to the boatbuilders, naval architects, engine manufacturers and others who are at the pulse of what is going on. This year, I sensed a strong enthusiasm and optimism for the future of the U.S. maritime industry.
The 2014 show was one of the best in recent memory. I hope to see you there next year.