The International WorkBoat Show played host to the Maritime Throwdown (MTD) Wild Card Finals in New Orleans recently.

Contestants competed in an obstacle course-styled format through a series of physical challenges, including coiling, carrying, rigging, throwing, and securing lines, all while maintaining safety.

“It isn’t just about throwing lines," founder of MTD, Capt. Kenny Brown, explained. "It’s about mastering the skills necessary to handle lines efficiently. For some, what may have begun as a technical pursuit has evolved into a captivating sport that incorporates skill sets and promotes adherence to safety protocols.”

Over the first three years of the Maritime Throwdown, Brown exposed a noticeable void in skills within the industry. The emphasis rested on self-proclaimed competence rather than an assessment of abilities. He has since increased the competition's standards to eliminate subjective judging. Foot placement, line awareness, and the disqualification of participants who misstep create an on-land experience that simulates doing these jobs on the water.

Eric Dawicki, president and chief executive officer of the Northeast Maritime Institute, hosted the event and introduced the contestants — Adam Lebunk from San Jacinto Maritime College, Anthony Baker from Genesis Marine Group, Jake Sheremy and Brett Pew, both from Turn Services.

“This event includes eight obstacles, three knots, and some technical tie-offs, which make up a series of unique situations that you would see among many different vessels in this industry. There are skill gaps here that no one likes to talk about, and though I started this for fun, it has become a way to showcase the hard work and dedication that goes into these jobs,” Brown said.

The competition winners at the WorkBoat Show secured automatic entries into the finals, which are set to take place in April at the Inland Marine Expo in Nashville, Tenn.

“A substantial $10,000 prize will be awarded to the top three winners in Nashville," said Brown. "In addition, a scholarship will be put in the winner's name to Northeast Maritime Institute for further education and training in maritime skills.”

Carli is a Content Specialist for National Fisherman. She comes from a fourth-generation fishing family off the coast of Maine. Her background consists of growing her own business within the marine community. She resides on one of the islands off the coast of Maine while also supporting the lobster community she grew up in.

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