After a long 14 months, the International WorkBoat Show opens for business tomorrow in New Orleans.
Last year’s 34th installment of the show was held in October, so that means exhibitors have been waiting for over a year to show off their latest products and services at the workboat industry’s premier gathering.
For us, it meant cramming 14 months instead of 12 of boatbuilding coverage into our annual boatbuilding review that appears in the December issue of WorkBoat. That also means we had to wade through 14 months of boats that appeared in our pages to choose 2014’s 10 Significant Boats.
This year’s show promises to be the best ever. Not only are there more exhibitors, but for the first time the show features three keynote addresses. Capt. Richard Phillips will kick things off tomorrow. 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 the 10 Significant Boats of the year at a breakfast ceremony before the show opens on Thursday. 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. Our choice of a Boat of Year from this list was a tough task. All 10 could make a claim for the big prize.
I truly believe that the 35th edition of the show will be our best ever. I hope to see you in the Big Easy this week.
Be sure to register for the show.