Way back in February of this year, in what now seems like another world, I remember talk about delaying trade shows and events that were scheduled for the spring due to concerns about the spread of Covid-19. Despite headlines that advocated for canceling everything, I didn’t believe doing so would be practical or likely. After all, professional sports were ongoing and kids were still in school, so how necessary was it to even consider such unprecedented adjustments?

And then the world changed.

By the end of March, everything was shut down, but even then, there was hope that things would “get back to normal” by the summer. It wasn’t long before the potential of not holding an event in the spring turned into the reality of the limitations around putting on an event in winter. Those practical limitations were directly referenced in the announcement about the cancelation of the 2020 edition of the International Workboat Show that was planned for December.

As the press release mentions, it became evident that it would be impossible to hold a live event this December that would provide an experience that the Workboat community would find valuable. That reality highlights the importance of the digital initiatives we’ve undertaken this year. Such efforts include multiple webinars like COVID 19 and the U.S. Passenger Vessel Industry: Impacts and Steps to Reopen and WorkBoat + Wind Presents: Developing the Offshore Wind Vessel Supply Chain along with our Workboat Message Board, all of which have showcased what it can mean to stay informed and connected on Workboat.com. These efforts are set to be further developed in order to bring us back to the live event that everyone wants to be part of in 2021.

“WorkBoat and the International WorkBoat Show are passionate about bringing fresh, important content to our customers,” said Group Vice President and Show Director Bob Callahan. “And while we won’t be able to deliver it in person this year, the Think Tank will keep you informed about the opportunities and challenges facing our industry today and in the future.”

The WorkBoat Think Tank is a 12-part webinar series, moderated by the editors of WorkBoat magazine. The Think Tank is free and will present breaking news, hot topics and thought-provoking conversation while giving attendees a virtual place to interact with industry leaders, ask tough questions, and gain insight. The series will kick off on Thursday, Dec. 10 at 3 p.m. ET with a panel of the shipyards, marine architects and engineers, and vessel owners responsible for some of 2020’s 10 Significant Boats. Make sure you sign up for our newsletter to receive all of the latest updates around it.

This webinar series is in addition to the continual coverage of how Covid-19 is impacting the maritime industry, as well as campaigns that provide a complimentary subscription to the print edition of the WorkBoat Magazine, along with newsletters that go out twice a week.

The thought of not holding the International Workboat Show in 2020 wasn’t even a consideration too long ago, which showcases how quickly things change. The challenges associated with such changes are evident, but this process is also highlighting how many different ways we can stay connected all year round to bring a whole new level of significance to connecting in-person at the next edition of the International Workboat Show, which is now scheduled to take place December 1-3, 2021, in New Orleans.

The maritime industry is evolving before our eyes and the Workboat brand as a whole is similarly evolving to enable connection, collaboration and engagement all year long. Please get in touch with me or our team to provide any info or feedback about this endeavour.



Jeremiah Karpowicz is the Editorial Director for WorkBoat. He has created articles, videos, newsletters, ebooks and plenty more for various communities as a contributor and editor. You can get in touch with him on Twitter: @jeremiahkarp