This year’s Multi-Agency Craft Conference (MACC) at the Coast Guard yard in Baltimore is off to a great start, at least for me — a first timer. Wednesday morning’s keynote address was delivered by Coast Guard Rear Adm. Michael Haycock, assistant commandant for acquisition and chief acquisition officer.

Haycock had some good news for small-boat builders, designers and companies that make the equipment that goes into these boats. “These small boats have to be replaced every five to seven years,” he said. “We literally run them hard and put them up wet.”

That means boatyards, naval architects and marine engineers and vendors have a shot at the next round of boats that the Coast Guard is going to need — and the round after that and so on. That need, which is very strong right now, will continue as long as there is a Coast Guard.

The Navy needs new boats too. Members of the Navy Boats and Combatant Craft Program Office spoke to standing room only crowds. Attendance at all conference sessions was strong throughout the day. Perhaps the only drawback may have been that the numbers were so heavy in these sessions that it took away from the attendance on the show floor.

Outside is where the action was for me. Some boat manufacturers brought one or more boats for anyone who wanted to take a ride. MetalCraft Marine brought two patrol boats — an Interceptor 10 (meter) and an Interceptor 12 (meter) — that were popular with the crowd. While I was aboard the Interceptor 10, the other boat rode along to help show what the 10 can do. We chased the 12, rode in and jumped its wake, and intercepted it, all at high speeds.

Another popular boat was Metal Shark’s Sharktech autonomous vessel. But in reality, all the boats at MACC were popular. Who wouldn’t want to come down to the dock in the middle of a work day and take a ride or two or three? Not many, especially if they work in this industry.

Ken Hocke has been the senior editor of WorkBoat since 1999. He was the associate editor of WorkBoat from 1997 to 1999. Prior to that, he was the editor of the Daily Shipping Guide, a transportation daily in New Orleans. He has written for other publications including The Times-Picayune. He graduated from Louisiana State University with an arts and sciences degree, with a concentration in English, in 1978.