The annual International WorkBoat Show has been canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, joining the ranks of other leading maritime conventions to move online or suspend events.

Diversified Communications, the show’s organizer, said that industry leaders’ concerns about the risks of COVID-19 transmission and travel disruption made it “impossible” to hold this year’s event.

“It is with heavy hearts that we make the announcement that we will not be holding the 2020 edition of the International WorkBoat Show,” said Group Vice President and Show Director Bob Callahan. “After extensive consultation with the WorkBoat community, it is clear there are too many uncertainties about the impact Covid-19 will have on travel and mass gatherings this December. Accordingly, it is impossible to hold a live event that would provide an experience that our community would find valuable.”

The pandemic has taken a heavy toll on trade shows of all kinds, including the maritime industry’s conference circuit. Among many other affected events, Seatrade Cruise Global was delayed, then canceled and moved online; the biannual Posidonia show in Greece was rescheduled, then canceled for the year; and the Connecticut Maritime Association (CMA) show opted to go online, merging its conference lineup with SHIPPINGInsight.

Like other organizers, Diversified has decided to keep the WorkBoat Show’s panel talks and presentations in an online format, and will produce them as a 12-part webinar series. The first will be held on December 10.

Diversified Communications’ president, Mary Larkin, also serves as president of international trade show industry association UFI. She recently signed a call for governments to favor “testing over quarantine” in order to start in-person trade shows and similar businesses going once more.

“Rapid antigen Covid-19 tests are reliable and becoming widely available. These Rapid Tests provide the best solution for creating a safe environment to hold managed business events. We call on governments and authorities to follow a ‘testing before quarantine’ approach for business related travel and activities,” wrote UFI. “Combined with the existing safety measures around events, this will create a safe and reliable framework for business professionals to engage, and can overcome the current impasse that is causing additional economic damage every day. As a sector, we stand ready to implement rapid testing processed around our organised events.”

Source: Maritime-Executive