We all know the energy industry is way down. But that doesn’t mean the rest of the workboat world has come to a screeching halt — far from it.

New boats are still being built — towboats, tugs, ATBs, pilot boats, patrol boats, etc. New boats that have come off the ways recently include Bouchard’s new ATB that was christened in New Orleans in February. The articulated tug-barge unit, built at VT Halter, is part of Bouchard’s major expansion program. The ATB is made up of a 10,000-hp tug and a 255,000-bbl. black oil barge.

Our April issue of WorkBoat shows just how diversified the workboat industry is. In addition to the Bouchard ATB, there’s a 68' survey boat All American is building for the Corps of Engineers that is due out early next year, Kvichak recently delivered two pilot boats to Oman, and Master Marine delivered another 2,000-hp towboat to Marquette.

Then there are the new Olympic-class ferries for Washington state. The third vessel in the class is due out early next year, with the fourth and final ferry scheduled for a fall 2018 delivery.

All of these new boats must be maintained and kept in operation, and eventually will need a repair or two down the road.

At the second annual WorkBoat Maintenance & Repair Conference and Expo set for New Orleans April 12-14, those workboat industry professionals responsible for keeping vessels in top condition and in service will come together. The expo will feature over 200 exhibitors showcasing products and services targeted specifically at vessel maintenance and repair.

The conference sessions at the show include maintenance contracts and customer service agreements, planned maintenance versus predictive maintenance, minimizing marine fouling, the value of condition-based maintenance, and reducing engine maintenance costs.

There’s still time to register for the expo designed to help you navigate every aspect of commercial vessel maintenance.

Check out the full expo program.

There's also time to register for the conference and expo


David Krapf has been editor of WorkBoat, the nation’s leading trade magazine for the inland and coastal waterways industry, since 1999. He is responsible for overseeing the editorial direction of the publication. Krapf has been in the publishing industry since 1987, beginning as a reporter and editor with daily and weekly newspapers in the Houston area. He also was the editor of a transportation industry daily in New Orleans before joining WorkBoat as a contributing editor in 1992. He has been covering the transportation industry since 1989, and has a degree in business administration from the State University of New York at Oswego, and also studied journalism at the University of Houston.