The 2020 Marine Fabricators Conference that took place Jan. 9-11 in Daytona Beach, Fla., created a vibrant buzz among the 269 registrants, 46 exhibitors and 65 first-time attendees. Conference-goers enjoyed a wide variety of educational sessions, networking events, an impressive shop tour and the high-energy exhibitor show floor where they explored the newest innovations in equipment, fabrics, threads and hardware components.
First-time attendee Valerie Parquette, owner of Bark Beach Canvas in Kingston, Mass., found the networking and educational opportunities particularly impressive. “I just love the fact that everyone shares so much information. I’ve met a lot of people and I’ve gotten a ton out of that,” she says.
Parquette has been a marine fabricator for eight years. She says the biggest challenge for her is pricing. Because of that she says she especially enjoyed the education session on pricing as well as just asking other fabricators for their ideas on the topic.
“I’m here for the education—I want to learn more about everything,” Parquette says. “I’m just soaking it up. Mostly, I’m here to network and find a support system, and I’m feeling really good about being able to do that here.”
Highlights of this year’s conference included an inspirational tour of RCM Fabrics, the largest marine fabricator in Daytona Beach, Fla., a packed exhibitor show floor, a case study of a student/fabricator Budsin electric boat project and a rousing skills competition during the Annual Costume Party. Educational sessions included advanced upholstery techniques, marine bedding, manufacturing efficiencies, industry roundtables, digital templating, shop product standards, and fabrication demonstrations of basic and high-tech biminis and enclosures.