The 38th edition of the International WorkBoat Show kicks off next Wednesday in New Orleans and runs through Friday, Dec. 1.

Each year, the show becomes a big stage for workboat-related companies to show their stuff. It’s a chance for them to display the latest products and services to the industry.

With the annual show issue, it is also a chance for us to show off what this industry is made up of — the construction and operation of brownwater vessels, from ferries to tugs and OSVs to patrol boats and fireboats.

In our annual Boatbuilding Review, we feature about 50 vessels and barges that appeared in the pages of WorkBoat over the past 12 months.

Of the 50 that appeared in the magazine from December 2016 through November 2017, we will once again honor 10 of them in a special breakfast ceremony before the show opens on Thursday, Nov. 30. From these 10 Significant Boats, we will choose WorkBoat’s Boat of Year for 2017. This year’s list was dominated by tugs — five of them were selected. Other selections: two ferries, an articulated tug-barge, a survey vessel, and a multipurpose support vessel (MPSV).

Six of the vessels were built at Gulf of Mexico shipyards, three were built at West Coast yards, and one at a Great Lakes shipyard.

Also in the annual WorkBoat Show issue, we once again list our top 10 news stories of the year. And, unfortunately, the top story continues to be the offshore energy slump, now in its third year. It was another tough year for workboat companies with close ties to the offshore energy market, but there were other more positive stories out there.

One was the continued growth in the ferry market. Newbuild orders and deliveries of ferries have been growing and 2017 was a particularly busy year for new construction. Making news this year were big ferry commuter projects for New York and San Francisco, and many other cities are expanding or launching new ferry and water taxi operations.

This story and others are sure to be discussed at next week's WorkBoat Show. There's still time to register before the show. See you there.

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.