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“Marine Assistance Industry in Transition” C-PORT 24th Annual Conference Motivates Industry


“Marine Assistance Industry in Transition”
C-PORT 24th Annual Conference Motivates Industry

C-PORT (Conference of Professional Operators for Response Towing) held its 24th Annual Conference and Membership Meeting on January 24- January 26, 2011 at Long Beach, CA.  “This year’s conference focused on the changing business climate facing our industry,” Tina Cardone, Executive Director stated.  “We were honored to have Captain Gabriel Kinney, USCG (Ret) and President of AFRAS (Association For Rescue At Sea) present the Key Note Address and excited to welcome Mauricio Garrido, President, T&T Bisso and President of ASA (American Salvage Association) as our Guest Speaker at the C-PORT Awards Banquet.” 

This year’s Government Affairs Panel included an update on USCG Search and Rescue (SAR) policy and activities lead by Captain David McBride, Chief, USCG Office of Search and Rescue.  Eric Woodson, Supervisor, Regional Examination Center, USCG, presented new licensing information focusing on the mariner’s physical examination requirements and Joe Frohnhoefer, Founder, Sea Tow International and TSAC (Towing Safety Advisory Committee) member spoke to the group regarding current events at TSAC including the reorganization created by the passing of the Coast Guard Authorization Act.  The morning general sessions also included a presentation on “Salvage Invoicing Strategies”.  “Marine salvage service presents an essential business opportunity for our industry,” Cardone remarked.  “We wanted to impart some new ways to view billing processes; look at the invoice through the eyes of the customer.”  John Fulweiler, Esq, at DeOrchis and Partners is very familiar with this industry having been a salvor and now a maritime attorney.  He delivered an informative program outlining a new perspective.

Afternoon sessions included a presentation from NASBLA (National Association of State Boating Law Administrators).  Mark DuPont, Director, NASBLA BOAT Program, discussed the business possibilities that the BOAT (Boat Operations and Training) program offers to the industry.  The BOAT program establishes a national standard for the training, qualification, credentialing and typing of maritime law enforcement and rescue personnel.  Chris Curtin, Founder, Bankers Advocate, presented “Planning Your Exit Strategy” to an industry mixed with those reaching retirement and those just entering the business.  Social Media and how to use it to enhance your business was an interactive demonstration lead by Scott Wasserman, Certified Digital Consultant, WSI.  Completing the general sessions was “Beyond Bootcamp-Rescue, Recover, Rewarm”, by The National Water Safety Congress with Cecilia Duer, Executive Director and Jerry Craddock, Professional Programs & Instructor Trainings Coordinator, enlightening the participants with the latest cold water rescue techniques and information.

In addition to the conference sessions, the 24th Annual C-PORT Membership Meeting was held on Wednesday, January 26.  Chris Shaffner, C-PORT Chairman welcomed the members and outlined the many accomplishments made by the association during 2010.  Included was the signing of the revised USCG-C-PORT Partnership Agreement and joining with others in the maritime industry to address the concerns created by Congress with proposed amendments to the Jones Act body of law.  During the meeting, Cardone introduced the newly elected 2011 Board of Directors.  Elected to the Executive Committee were Chris Shaffner, Chairman; Phil Delano, Vice Chairman; Ethan Maass, Secretary; and Steve Winkler, Treasurer.  (Chris Shaffner gained re-election to the Board of Directors this year.)  In addition to the Executive Officers, the 2011 Board of Directors include returning directors John Andrews, Joe Frohnhoefer (re-elected at this conference), Charlie Meyer, Roger Slade and Chris (Mac) McCarthy.  Newly elected to the Board of Directors was Terry Hill.  Hill is a past C-PORT Chairman and active participant in the association’s legislative activities.  Representing C-PORT’s regional chapters on the 2011 Board of Directors are Kevin Freestone, David LaMontagne and Dale Plummer.

C-PORT was founded in 1986 to act as a liaison between the marine assistance industry and public agencies and organizations involved with boating safety, marine assistance, marine salvage and other marine-related operations.  The association was created in part to afford a means of cooperation with the government in matters of national concern; to provide an objective, self-regulating body for the marine assistance industry; and to promote, through legislative, regulatory, and governmental initiatives, the maintenance and expansion of the marine assistance industry.  For more information, contact C-PORT at (954) 261-2012 or visit


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