Baird Maritime / Work Boat World
Best of 2023 Awards

Message from our co-founder Neil Baird

While not yet completely rid of it, the world is adapting to the Covid-19 virus and returning to normal. This is being seen, particularly, in the rapid recovery of the tourism industry, but also in many other areas of maritime activity as well.

The Vladimir Putin-led assault on Ukraine is moving into its third year. That, tragically, has inspired a return to normalcy for the offshore oil and gas sector with the OSV market recovering faster than expected from a serious cyclical slump.

The fishing and aquaculture industry is starting to thrive again as are port and coastal development and operations activity as the spectre of Covid fades. And, as can usually be reliably expected, the maritime security market is almost booming again thanks to unpleasantness in the South China Sea and Middle East particularly.

Not everything, of course, in the garden is rosy. The over-hyped offshore wind support sector, as we predicted, has felt some serious knocks. They are a natural economic reaction to unsubstantiated booming markets and are really just a return to reality.

Similarly, government interference in shipbuilding and ship operating as we have seen so blatantly in Scotland Canada and Australia of late, inevitably results in waste, delays and political turmoil. Governments almost invariably retreat from involvement in the maritime industry with bloody noses and considerable unpopularity. Related to that, but not necessarily connected, have been the many instances of corruption described on Baird Maritime by our brilliant and tireless correspondent Hieronymus Bosch.

Safety, particularly in the fishing boat and domestic ferry sectors, remains a problem, albeit a slowly diminishing one. Except in the poorest and most corrupt countries, safer vessels, stronger and more effective regulations and more rigorous enforcement are making a real difference.

Without in any way discounting the several very serious geopolitical threats that face several parts of the world, the maritime industry, generally, has experienced an encouraging year and has an even more promising one on the horizon. While that is wonderful for our industry, it makes our job of deciding Baird Maritime’s “Best Of” Awards all the more difficult.

Such times invariably produce more, and more impressive, new vessels and their equipment. During 2023 Baird Maritime published reviews of more than 400 new vessels. While some were fairly pedestrian, many were inspiring in terms of design, use of materials, construction methods, their equipment, innovation, and even their styling.

In our “Best Of” Award analysis we examine many of the factors that contribute to the complete vessel. Safety and economy are obvious but environmental sustainability, recyclability, reliability, quality, comfort, utility, ease of operation and cost of maintenance are all very important. They obviously make our selections all the more difficult.

We try very hard to maintain our objectivity. Despite that, we are well aware that not all of our readers agree with all of our choices. So, as always, we appreciate hearing from readers who may disagree with us. Your comments are valuable and valued.

The widely predicted global recession of 2023 and the advent of “La Nina”, so far, has not happened and the overall maritime market, particularly in vessel design and construction, is looking promising for 2024. We trust that most of our global readership will participate in and benefit from that.

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