Adm. Paul Zukunft, commandant of the Coast Guard, delivered a riveting keynote speech. I was very pleased to hear that our new commandant is committed to supporting the Coast Guard’s marine inspection mission. He spoke about the need to develop and maintain the core competencies of marine inspectors and ensure that they fully understand the industry that they regulate. He also praised U.S.-flag passenger vessel operators for their excellent safety record.
Capt. Jeff Novotny, who heads up the National Maritime Center (NMC), conducted a great workshop in which he discussed how the centralized NMC has improved its efficiency in processing mariner credentials. He said that the target goal is to process credentials in less than 30 days and that in many cases the NMC is delivering them within 20 days. He added that the level of communications between NMC medical staff and mariners, including their physicians, has improved greatly. This is good news.
PVA has always done a great job with its convention seminar topics. I learned about fire suppression systems and practices, drug testing requirements, strategies to manage customer complaints, legal issues for passenger vessel operators, new trends in vessel financing, digital marketing techniques, how to effectively respond to a marine casualty and much, much more.
In the MariTrends 2015 exhibit hall, I saw many of the latest products, technologies and services for passenger vessel operations, including the latest Automatic Identification System hardware and some impressive ticketing and customer relationship management software. I also visited with marine architects and shipyards that highlighted the latest vessel designs and discussed new construction methods and materials. I also saw some innovative seating technologies and learned about advances in marine engines. I even learned about the current market for marine insurance.