After two years, the International WorkBoat Show made a successful return to New Orleans last week. Despite the pandemic, the 41st edition turned out better than expected, with exhibitors saying that while the crowd was understandably smaller compared to past shows due mainly to Covid concerns, the percentage of high-quality attendees was up.

This, besides the fact that the WorkBoat Show was simply held in the first place, is very good news. There was no shortage of decision makers at the 2021 version of the show. They visited the booths, checked out the latest products and technology, and laid the groundwork for future business and contracts.

The Think Tank sessions were well attended and the speakers were very informative. The vibe was positive from the show's opening session on Wednesday morning with Dr. Kent Moors, who discussed the global energy market, and continued through the last session of the first day, the Significant Boat Awards and happy hour at 5 p.m.

The positive vibe continued the next morning at the Offshore Wind Breakfast followed by a standing room crowd that afternoon at the "State of Offshore Wind" Think Tank session.

During the tough pandemic period of the last two years, almost everything and everyone has been affected — no one more than those who have lost loved ones to Covid-19. To millions of people and businesses, the economic and social disruption from the pandemic has been devastating.

Workboat operators are still dealing with a host of issues. Government mandates are in flux, vessel capacities curbed and extra safety precautions persist. But if you go by last week's WorkBoat Show, the workboat industry is still alive and, while there is still a ways to go, well on the road to recovery.

Again, we want to thank everyone who attended the show — and welcome back. We hope to see you next year.

David Krapf has been editor of WorkBoat, the nation’s leading trade magazine for the inland and coastal waterways industry, since 1999. He is responsible for overseeing the editorial direction of the publication. Krapf has been in the publishing industry since 1987, beginning as a reporter and editor with daily and weekly newspapers in the Houston area. He also was the editor of a transportation industry daily in New Orleans before joining WorkBoat as a contributing editor in 1992. He has been covering the transportation industry since 1989, and has a degree in business administration from the State University of New York at Oswego, and also studied journalism at the University of Houston.

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