In three weeks, it will finally be International WorkBoat Show time again in New Orleans. Because last year’s 34th installment of the show was held in October, exhibitors have been waiting 14 months to show off their latest products and services at the workboat industry’s premier gathering. They’ll get their chance on Dec. 3-5.
This year’s show promises to be one of the best ever. In addition to a record number of exhibitors, for the first time the show will feature three keynote addresses. And the keynote lineup is truly impressive. Capt. Richard Phillips will kick things off on the first day of the show. In case you missed it, he is the Capt. Phillips from the movie of the same name that told the compelling story of the 2009 hijacking of the Maersk Alabama by Somali pirates.
If that isn’t enough, two more keynotes follow on the second day of the show. In the morning Vigor Shipyards chief Frank Foti will provide his West Coast take on the industry in his entertaining style. Later that day Maritime Administrator Paul “Chip” Jaenichen will deliver the final keynote of the WorkBoat Show.
Also new this year is a change in our annual Significant Boats awards’ format. We will recognize 2014’s 10 Significant Boats at a breakfast ceremony before the show opens on Thursday, Dec. 4. Then, for the first time, we will announce a Boat of the Year from among the 10 winners.
We recently selected the 10 boats for 2014. The list includes pilot boats, tugs, a Z-drive towboat, a passenger vessel, a fuel-service vessel, OSVs and a cargo/transport vessel. The winning shipyards, operators and designers represent all coasts and most workboat sectors.
I expect that the 35th edition of the show will be our best ever, so be sure to register for the show. I hope to see you in the Big Easy.