GICA To Host 118th Annual Seminar Later This Month

The Gulf Intracoastal Canal Association (GICA), the trade organization representing stakeholders of the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway (GIWW), will hold its annual seminar July 26–28 in New Orleans. The event will be held at the Westin New Orleans hotel, which overlooks the Mississippi River and historic French Quarter from the foot of Canal Street.

The event will begin July 26 with a golf tournament at Lakewood Golf Club, located on the west bank in Algiers. Conference registration will take place that afternoon at the Westin, along with a meeting of the GICA board of directors (3:30–5:30 p.m.) and a welcome reception (6–7:30 p.m.)

Day two will begin with greetings from Chas Haun, chairman of the board for GICA, and Paul Dittman, GICA president. Rear Adm. David Baratta, the recently installed commander of the Eighth Coast Guard District, will then deliver an opening address.

Tracy Zea, president and CEO of Waterways Council Inc., will follow with a Washington D.C. perspective on waterway infrastructure funding and regulations. Rene Miller, CEO of Ener Systems, will then discuss cybersecurity issues pertinent to waterway operations.

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Morning sessions will conclude with a lockmasters panel (featuring lockmasters from the Inner Harbor Navigation Canal and Algiers locks in New Orleans; Port Allen Lock in Baton Rouge, La., Calcasieu Lock in Lake Charles, La.; and the Colorado Locks and Brazos River Floodgates on the Texas Gulf Coast) and an update on the New Orleans Engineer District’s Inner Harbor Navigation Canal Lock Replacement Project.

Rear Adm. Wayne Arguin, assistant commandant for prevention policy of the U.S. Coast Guard and a former captain of the port of New Orleans, will deliver the keynote address during the conference luncheon July 27.

Afternoon sessions July 27 will include two commanders’ panels. The first will feature commanders from the Galveston, New Orleans and Mobile Engineer Districts. The second will highlight Coast Guard captains of the port from Texas (Corpus Christi, Houston and Port Arthur), Louisiana (Houma and New Orleans) and Alabama (Mobile). Attendees will also hear a report on the Morganza to the Gulf Project, a complex system of levees and structures to reduce flood risks in the Houma area. The day will wrap up with a focus on mariner wellness, led by representatives from the Seamen’s Church Institute.

GICA will host an evening reception July 27, also at the Westin.

Day three of the GICA Seminar will begin with a membership business meeting, followed by a session focused on the Louisiana Coastal Protection & Restoration Authority’s proposal to build a freshwater diversion project at Bayou Boeuf Lock near Morgan City, La. After that, a representative from the Rock Island Engineer District’s Inland Navigation Design Center will provide an update on the Brazos River Floodgates project, along with an overview of how industry has been involved with simulations to help inform the final design of the structure.

Finally, as in years past, the seminar will conclude with the towboat operator panel discussion, moderated this year by Haun.

Registration information is available on the GICA website. The event page outlines golf registration, sponsorship and exhibitor details and hotel options. For more information, visit