In mid-February we all began to realize that the impacts of the coronavirus, Covid-19, would change our lives and businesses, however none of us had an idea how extreme this change would be.

As we navigate this crisis that is causing each member's business to evaluate, change and possibly cease operations, I have found the collective supporting spirit of the Passenger Vessel Association (PVA) staff and members to be one of the more valuable assets our business has as we respond.

In times such as these, it is ever so important to quickly identify what channels of communication you need to use to guide your thoughts, conversations and decisions. I urge all of our passenger vessel operator members to monitor PVA Member Updates. These updates are coming more frequently so we can keep the most pertinent information and resources flowing in your direction. These resources include the most up-to-date information on financial relief packages and tools to guide us to safe operations in a Covid-19 world. In addition to the updates, the PVA Safety and Security Committee has assembled a resources center of procedures, policies and guidelines that you can consider. You can access those materials here:

Below are a few tips that my mentors in the tourism and marine industries have shared with me over the last few weeks:

  • Remember the team that helped you get where you are. All of your coworkers are essential to your past success and they will be essential to your future success. Do what is in your ability to ensure their physical and economic health.
  • Communicate, communicate and communicate to your team, lenders, community, trade associations and regulators. Create routine times to reach out to all who support you. For example, we have created a weekly letter to our seasonal staff that provides them with financial resources and keeps them informed of our situation and actions.
  • Be flexible. Listen to your partners, tour operators and coworkers. The policies of the past will not always work in our ever-changing world. For example, consider relaxing cancellation policies to meet the needs and requests of tour operators and travelers.
  • Activate your networks. Each of us have unique operating circumstances, but our challenges are often the same. Reach out to your friends and neighbors in the industry, even if they are your direct competition.  We will all be stronger if we survive and can operate past the Covid-19 crisis.
  • Keep the most important things in front of you and in perspective. Find positive, healthy routines to distract you from the painful and heartbreaking decisions that you face each day.

None of the above items will change the fear we all are experiencing as we as we work to adapt, but they will keep us focused on our approach.

As our segment of the economy struggles and works to survive, we need to remember that it takes all of us, PVA vessel and associate members, to be healthy both physically and financially. We need to continue to work together. I urge you to continue to reach out to PVA staff, board and myself with concerns, suggestions and needs.

I want to thank the PVA staff and contractors. They have been working tirelessly on our behalf and will continue to do so. They have been communicating with the Trump administration and Congress as relief packages are being crafted, working with regulators and members to gather guidelines, express our needs, and responding to our calls. No matter what day of the week or the hour of the day they have been there.

Colleen Stephens
Passenger Vessel Association, President, 2020