Baird Maritime / Work Boat World
Best of 2021 Awards

Message from our co-founder Neil Baird

Given the lingering effects of the coronavirus, it is surely amazing that we managed to review almost 300 new and interesting vessels during 2021. Obviously, the vessel type emphasis has changed somewhat from previous years but the sheer volume and the innovation demonstrated in 2021’s crop of launchings is very exciting.

Clearly, the virus has badly damaged the passenger sector, although some, particularly large craft, from the likes of Austal, Damen and Jianglong continue to be ordered and launched. The offshore oil and gas sector continues to suffer from a massive, self-inflicted glut that will take years to clear. However, offshore wind, unbelievably and thanks mainly to heavy subsidies, continues to attract endless orders in what looks like another serious glut in the making.

The fact that many of the same players who caused the O&G glut have seamlessly and Phoenix-like switched to wind, it seems that a day of reckoning will arrive before long. The same reckless lack of foresight and investment sanity prevails and it combines dangerously with suicidal financing.

Ignoring that reality, though, as many in the industry seem to be doing, some very innovative and interesting new boats have hit the water through the year. Our “Best” vessels really are that. All offer considerable food for thought. Even then, most of the few O&G service vessels that have been launched are very impressive ships.

Tugs have continued to be launched, almost daily. The number of their builders and designers continues to diminish as the market consolidates, but the well known names remain at the forefront. They continue to improve steadily in terms of both quality and capability.

Dredgers, too are launched relatively frequently and are a truly international sector. They, too, show ongoing capability development.

Pilot, patrol and rescue boats are likewise seeing a definite consolidation in the number of their builders. However, that has not in anyway reduced the number of such craft being launched. They remain very interesting, exciting and fast-developing vessels.

The surging tide of new ships and boats presented on Baird Maritime is inspiring, particularly given the economic background that prevails. That makes it difficult for us to choose the “Best” vessels. In reality, they are the best of the best. Our judging criteria, as always, are based on finding the best combination of quality, innovation, reliability, utility, economy, sustainability and style. They make for difficult choices but, after very considerable consideration and discussion, the decisions are made. We know that we could be fallible, so we are always interested in any comments or criticisms from readers.

The fundamental idea of awards such as these is to highlight and reward excellence and to publicise it. We also want to give our readers the benefit of the ideas and innovation that the awards recognise. We trust you will be inspired by what you read and will start ordering some excellent new ships and boats for your fleets.

List of Vessels 2021

All the vessels in all categories from around the world that we reviewed in this awards period.

Selection Criteria

How we decide on the award-winning vessels and equipment/service suppliers in each category 


Winners will be announced day by day over the course of the event