One gets the feeling that the Navy isn’t especially enthusiastic about having a bunch of civilians invading their turf for a trade show. Just getting through security to enter the Navy's Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story in Norfolk, Va., last week for the Muiti-Agency Craft Conference took me over an hour. And then once inside, taking photos were strictly forbidden. Unless, ironically, you’re with the media. For us, taking pictures was OK as long as the subject was boats and products associated with the show. In other words, it’s OK to take pictures if they’re going to be published, but not for personal use.

Zodiac Milpro SRA-750 RIB at MACC 2014 

Go figure.

In the past, MACC’s claim to fame has been in-water demonstrations of all kinds of fast boats with lots of military folk on hand to check them out. In addition, the show drew representatives from other federal agencies as well as state and municipal agencies like the fire and police departments from New York City.

This year, not so much.

Yes, there were in-water demos with go-fast boats from Metal Shark, Zodiac, Brunswick and a few others. But there were no off-beat boats such as the Aquada, an amphibious sports car in 2006, or the long and skinny Piranha, a carbon-nanotube, unmanned prototype at the 2011 show.

One of the most innovative products at the 2014 show was a Cummins Marine motor-generator in the exhibitors’ tent. Check out today’s video for more info about this amazing piece of machinery, which one Cummins rep called a “game-changer,” which may well prove to be true. About the size of small tire, the “Core Plus” variable-speed motor-generator puts out 30 kW at idle and 90 kW at full speed. It can also be used as a starter and as get-home power if needed.

Check it out, it’s very cool. 

With a degree in English literature from the University of Washington (Go Dawgs!), journalism experience at the once-upon-a-time Seattle P-I, and at-sea experience as a commercial fisherman in Washington and Alaska, Bruce Buls has forged a career in commercial marine trade journalism, including stints at Alaska Fishermen’s Journal and National Fisherman, WorkBoat’s sister publications. Bruce spent 16 years as WorkBoat's technical editor before retiring in May 2015. He lives on Puget Sound’s Whidbey Island, about 20 miles north of Seattle (go 'Hawks!).