The 40th edition of the International WorkBoat Show opens on Wednesday, Dec. 4, at the Morial Convention Center in New Orleans and runs through Friday, Dec. 6.

Each year, hundreds of exhibitors showcase thousands of products and services. But in recent years, the show has expanded beyond the exhibit floor, most notably in our annual conference program.

Last year was the first time we featured the growing offshore wind sector in our conference lineup. A session on offshore wind power wrapped up our offshore program at the WorkBoat Show last year. This year, offshore wind is featured in several sessions, an acknowledgement of how this sector has grown in importance.

This year’s offshore program featured speaker is Liz Burdock, president and CEO of the Business Network for Offshore Wind. After her talk to kick off the program, a session will be held on offshore wind vessel classification.

John O’Keeffe, director of U.S. marine affairs, Ørsted U.S. Offshore Wind, will speak during the second session that morning on development, operations and maintenance of offshore wind farms. Ørsted is the first developer in the U.S. to build an offshore wind farm. The company has one in operation, six awarded, and three in development.

In the shipyard program, offshore wind is also featured, with a session on what is needed in the offshore wind supply chain. Luther Blount III of Blount Boats and Jessica Dealy of Atlantic Shores Offshore Wind will speak during this session.

Finally, Ross Tyler of the Business Network for Offshore Wind, will discuss the offshore wind market and vessel opportunities at one of our Wednesday Think Tank sessions.

Our WorkBoat Think Tank program was launched last year at the show. Based on the positive feedback, we have expanded the program. This year’s Think Tank sessions include several from the Navy and Coast Guard, one from the NTSB, and one from another growing sector — autonomous vessels.

Michael Johnson of Sea Machines will lead a Think Tank discussion on the current state of autonomous vessels. See you at the show.

You can register for the International WorkBoat Show here.

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.