These are tough times, not only for the workboat industry, but the entire country and world as we enter uncharted waters as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

Here at WorkBoat and, our goal is to continue to provide you with timely updates from all sectors and regions of the commercial marine industry on the impact of the COVID-19 virus on business and vessel operations. We want to help you steer through these uncertain times by being your go-to source for this information.

Our recent updates include news from the inland barge industry, which is ramping up efforts to prevent the spread of the highly contagious COVID-19 virus. The American Waterways Operators has issued several guidelines, from how to avoid spreading the disease on vessels to incorporating social distancing in shoreside operations. AWO has organized a webinar scheduled for Thursday, March 19, at 2 p.m. that will encourage industry members to discuss what plans they are taking in their operations and ask questions. “There are no one size fits all answers,” Jennifer Carpenter, AWO president and CEO said in a video announcing the webinar, adding that members can learn from each other’s experiences and ideas.

There's also news from the passenger vessel sector, where American Queen Steamboat Co. and American Cruise Lines (ACL) — the two major players in the U.S. inland and coastal cruising market — are suspending all cruise operations into April because of coronavirus problems nationwide. The industry's Passenger Vessel Association announced today that it has sent a letter to President Trump urging him to take immediate action to include U.S. passenger vessel operators in the administration’s plans to provide economic assistance to U.S. businesses that have experienced financial hardship due to the coronavirus.

We also have several coronavirus updates from the Coast Guard and will have news on what particular companies are doing to cope with the pandemic.

We ask that you help keep us informed by alerting us to any news we may miss that is valuable to vessel operators and their crews. Drop us a line at [email protected].

Thanks and stay safe.

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.