Page 6: of Marine News Magazine (April 2018)

Boatbuilding, Construction & Repair

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EDITOR’S NOTE t seems like just yesterday that December snow and cold had us pining for Spring-like weath- er and as I pen this note, we ? nd ourselves approaching April with almost one-quarter of 2018 in our turbid wake. Nevertheless, the fourth Nor’easter of the season is blowing through


New York at this very moment, reminding us that nothing is ever certain – for the weather and/ or the marine industry itself. Nowhere is that reality more evident than for domestic shipbuild- ers in today’s business climate.

Our annual look at the North American boatbuilding markets reveals much, but in the end, asks as many questions as it answers. That’s because these are indeed uncertain times for the boatbuilders and the OEM’s and vendors that support their output. One key to what happens next seems to be the need to diversify output to the maximum extent possible. That can mean a lot of things: catering to export markets, multiple sectors, leveraging commercial and recre- ational markets and government contracts whenever possible. To that end, R.W. Fernstrum’s

President, Sean Fernstrum, within these very pages, says it best when he advises simply, “As is usually the case in the marine sector, as one sector rises, another falls ... Diversi? cation is an absolute must.” Amen.

This month’s INSIGHTS discussion, led by shipbuilding subject matter expert Robert Kun- kel, takes a different tack on the same topic. Never boring and always honest, Kunkel this month gives his unvarnished look at the nation’s boatbuilding condition, how we got here and where we might go next. At a time of great uncertainty in the offshore markets – witness Harvey Gulf’s bankruptcy just as this magazine headed to the printer – Kunkel’s observations stem from 40 years of shipbuilding peaks and valleys, here and overseas, with boots on the ground and time spent in the boardroom. That narrative, which you won’t want to miss, begins on page 14.

Also in this edition, an update on the EPA’s small Vessel General Permit (sVGP) situation brings MarineNews readers fully up to speed on this important, but confounding regulatory is- sue. Operators of the nation’s ~39,750 brown water workboats may think that just because the ballast water treatment discussion doesn’t necessarily impact their ? eet, they don’t have to worry about the VGP, either. That’s a mistake. Tom Ewing’s in-depth look at the regulatory puzzle shows us that there are myriad – too many, as it turns out – cooks in the kitchen. Balancing that analysis is industry veteran and BWTS CEO Steve Candito, who weighs in and reminds us that, when it comes to compliance, “Failing to plan also means that an operator is planning to fail.”

Spring is just around the corner – I just know it. As this edition of MarineNews hits your desk,

I do ? nd myself pining for just two things: (considerably) warmer temperatures, of course, and better times ahead for the collective North American brown water and shallow draft sectors. Both wish list items are ‘do-able.’ The former is beyond our control; the latter is not. Let’s get to work.

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Joseph Keefe, Editor,

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Marine News

Marine News is the premier magazine of the North American Inland, coastal and Offshore workboat markets.