The International Workboat Show is a way for me to reconnect with the many different segments of the U.S. maritime industry, all under one roof. This year’s show in New Orleans in December was no different.
As at past WorkBoat shows, I helped man the Passenger Vessel Association’s (PVA) exhibit booth. We were busy from start to finish, with current PVA members and people interested in joining the association stopping by to discuss PVA and the passenger vessel industry in general.
The WorkBoat Show is also a place to get the inside track on industry conditions, trends and new business opportunities. I am constantly impressed by the range of products and services that are showcased there and am fascinated by the technological advancements that are being made in virtually every aspect of the maritime industry.
There is also an educational program that runs concurrently with the show. This year, I put a panel together to discuss passenger safety issues and what operators are doing to be proactive with their safety programs. My panel included J.P. Veiga of Boston Harbor Cruises, Boston, and Craig Parkhurst of Wheelhouse Technologies Inc., Hudson, Mass., who discussed crew training, best practices, and emerging training techniques to take safety to the next level. They both outlined what is working well today and existing training programs that can help them with crew proficiency, performing effective drills, and overall safety practices.
My presentation was on the streamlined inspection program or SIP, an approved alternate inspection process from traditional Coast Guard inspections. My company BB Riverboats has been involved in SIP since the 1990s when we enrolled our first vessel the River Queen. Since then, all three of our vessels have been enrolled and are doing well. This program is effective because it transfers responsibility to the masters and port captain for all inspection criteria on a daily basis. The net effect is to maintain a constant state of compliance across our entire fleet. As an owner, I enjoy seeing my crews take a proactive approach to inspections and drills and also taking ownership of the safety and inspection process.
There is much to see, do and learn at the Workboat Show. I hope to see you there next year.