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34th C-PORT Membership Meeting Recap:

C-PORT held its 34th Membership Meeting in a virtual format on January 6, 2021.  The meeting was well attended and committee chairs presented their reports.  Highlights include:

The 2020 USCG/C-PORT Partnership Meeting was held on January 20, 2020.  Attending from US Coast Guard were LT Derek Wallin, CO Station Ft Lauderdale; CDR Aurora Fleming, USCG Office of Search and Rescue; and CDR Michael Keane, USCG Office of Boat Forces.  Keane transferred to USCG Shore Forces shortly after the meeting.  The 2021 C-PORT US Coast Guard Partnership Meeting will be scheduled sometime later in the year, hoping to safely accommodate an in person setting for all involved.

C-PORT worked closely with US Coast Guard during the Covid-19 shutdowns providing guidance documents for our members to use both asserting that our industry fell into the essential workers category to assure our ability to remain open and conducting business.

The majority of C-PORT’s efforts in 2020 were in helping members navigate the numerous pandemic executive orders.  These orders changed sometimes weekly and local orders didn’t always follow state orders.  We tracked them, reading the actual orders rather than depending on news or other such statements, and provided that guidance to members dealing with conflicting information.

Maintaining and developing relationships is the hallmark of C-PORT’s work for the betterment of the marine assistance industry.  With in-person meetings canceled in 2020, C-PORT supported our members and partners through virtual meetings. Along with MERPAC, TSAC, and EPA, C-PORT attended CBC (California Boating Congress) and ABC (American Boating Congress), NASBLA, (National Association of State Boating Law Administrators) conference, MLA (Maritime Law Association) Spring meetings and ASA (American Salvage Association) membership meeting.

Programs and Education Committee reported on the status of C-PORT programs.  Included in these programs are:

  • Marine Assistance Company Guideline which includes management policy and processes, company operating procedures, various record keeping forms and reference materials focused specifically for the marine assistance industry.
  • A growing risk management course library is offered to members and industry professionals. These courses focus on the risks confronted by the marine assistance towing and salvage industry and provides best practices and lessons learned guidance.  
  • C-PORT provides a hands on training program, Boat Operators Search and Rescue for Commercial Assistance.  This program was developed through C-PORT’s partnership with the NASBLA BOAT Program.  Class content and instructors are all approved by NASBLA.
  • ACAPT, Accredited for Commercial Assistance And Professional Towing, was created by C-PORT in its infancy as a way to promote the professional company that strives to be above average.  ACAPT recognizes the marine assistance company that has taken the initiative to measure their own qualifications against industry consensus criteria and government regulations.  
Announcements included the 35th C-PORT Conference and Membership Meeting will be held in January 2022 in Savannah GA.

The C-PORT Board of Directors elections were held.  Smitty Smith and Richard Paul were reelected, and Chris Day, Georgia Boat Safety & Training/TowBoatU.S. Lake Allatoona was elected to fill the seat left vacant when Terry Hill reached his term limit.

During the company member’s open forum, the C-PORT Board of Directors held a general Q&A period fielding member’s questions and provided a free exchange of ideas among member peers.  

The meeting adjourned with hopes for a safe and successful 2021.

A survey was sent to all company members in the upcoming days seeking information and input from the membership as C-PORT moves into 2021.