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It’s the economy, stupid.” James Carville coined this very famous and often quoted remark in 1992 when he pointed out during an election year that it was the economy that was most important to voters. Here again we find ourselves in an election year and here again – it is the economy. More specifically in our industry, the current marine economy for operators and lenders.

I have built a fascination about future technology in the marine industry and its acceleration where technical and economic obsolescence will be replacing physical depreciation as a major factor in the valuation of marine assets.

As of now I tend to agree with the “experts” that say the greater marine industry may happily be part of a V recession. That is, the recovery can be as swift as the fall. In appraisal lingo this opinion is called an extraordinary assumption.

There will be exceptions. I have no idea where the offshore service industry is going to go with oil at a near give away price. Some of it will have to move to renewables such as wind farm or tidal power use. Oil was easing out and with the actions of the Saudis and the blast of COVID-19, oil’s demise is nearer.

Some corporate budgets and investor’s monies are already moving into renewables including the cleaner fuels of hydrogen, LNG, ammonia and battery electrical power. Ergo, technical and economic obsolescence.

Under the present conditions only the oil majors have the deep pockets to survive and many have already opened subsidiaries in the renewables. With low oil prices only the easy pickin’s will come out of the ground and the Saudis have most of that.

Another maritime section left behind with tough future prospects, at least in the shorter 6-12 month view, will be the passenger vessel operators. Disposable income may be short for many families on top of the fear headlines have created on cruise ship sickness and death. Some smaller areas like whale watch, harbor tours and charter fishing may have a spark of life from families ready to spend a bit of money as a “reward” for weeks or months of confinement – if they can get past the fear of being around people.

Of course all of this is dependent on the mysterious actions of the virus. If it acts as past viruses have acted, a preventative serum dose will be discovered and approved. If it continues to spread through a longer than expected life cycle or the resumption of a swiftly growing infection rate, there is no telling what a future world’s economy will look like and not just for certain sectors of the industry.

The crash of the oil industry is going to impact a number of countries whose budget is based on oil revenues. This is a troublesome time for lenders, putting out the fires that today’s economy has caused and trying to guess which way the wind will blow so that they can try to plan for where the fire might flare up next.

DLS Marine has always worked hard to make sure we are up with the technological and regulatory changes in the marine industry in order to better serve our customers.  As for today’s economic situation, we are being re-educated day by day like everyone else.

Future writings will try to keep abreast of significant moves in vessel fuel research and design as regulations and economics are forcing these changes. I am in the process of updating a presentation I gave at the 2019 International Conference for the Valuation of Plant, Machinery and Equipment in Auckland New Zealand.  Its title was Thoughts on How Technology and Regulations May Affect Future Vessel Values. Changes in just the past year call for an update and the revised version will be printed in the American Society of Appraisers Machinery & Technical Specialties Journal and will be available through a DLS Marine website link.

Norman Laskay

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Matt McDaniel DLS Marine Survey and Appraisal

Matt McDaniel

Hull & Machinery Surveyor

Areas of Expertise:

  • Hull and Machinery
  • Damage Assessment and Repairs
  • Condition
  • Inspections
  • Project Management

Memberships / Professional Certification:



Matt began marine surveying in 2014 and has experience with damage causation, reviewing transit plans, new construction, cargo transfers, salvage operations, on/off charters, and general condition surveys. He joined the Hull & Machinery department at DLS in 2019.
Charles Sterling - DLS - UAV Supervisor | Digital Inspection Manager

Charles Sterling

UAV Supervisor | Digital Inspection Manager

Areas of Expertise:

  • Uncrewed Aerial Vehicles & ROV’s
  • Digital Inspections
  • Computer Technology

Professional Certifications:

  • AS, Computer Information Systems
  • BS, Information Technology
  • FLIR Infrared Training Institute

Certified Specialist in Caterpillar diesel engines to include:

  • CFR Part 107
  • Level 1 sUAS Thermographer
  • Microsoft Certified System Engineer


Charles joined the firm in 2024, after managing an enterprise drone service provider based in New Orleans. He also teaches basic and advanced UAV class at Delgado Community College. Charles has extensive experience planning, flying complex missions in the Industrial, Chemical and Oil & Gas industries.

Ave P. Boudreaux

Marine Surveyor

Areas of Expertise:

  • Hull and Machinery
  • Project Management Supervisor (QC) – overseen numerous construction and delivery schedules for vessels
  • Extensive knowledge of U.S. Coast Guard and ABS rules and regulations for vessel construction and repair


  • Rolls-Royce Z-Drive Failure Analysis Seminar
  • Flex-Core and Aluminum Welding Course
  • Extensive training in engine, gear, and shaft alignment
  • Extensive training in vessel repair and new construction

Memberships / Professional Certification:



Mr. Boudreaux has 15 years experience with offshore supply vessels, crewboats, and anchor handling tugs. During this time, he served 8 years in vessel repair and new construction, 3 years in vessel operation and logistics, and 4 years as a vessel port captain.

Mr. Boudreaux served over 3 years as a marine surveyor performing numerous types of surveys in the marine industry prior to joining DLS.

Norm Laskay - DLS Marine Valuation

Norman F. Laskay

Of Counsel

Mr. Laskay joined Stickney, Dufour & Associates, Inc. in 1988 as a partner. He is now of Counsel. He became a Marine Surveyor in 1974, having gained prior experience in steamship agency, bulk cargo handling and vessel operations. He has been involved in many aspects of marine surveying including hull, machinery and cargo, both inland and ocean. Since becoming an Accredited Senior Appraiser of commercial marine equipment, he has been active with the American Society of Appraisers’ International Machinery and Technical Specialties Committee. He has written a comprehensive exam for the Commercial Marine Appraisal specialty and has written a 30-hour course for the American Society of Appraisers on appraising commercial marine vessels and yachts and is the lead instructor.

Areas of Expertise:

  • Commercial Marine Appraisal
  • Hull Damage and Repair
  • Cargo Loading, Securing and Trip in Tow Preparation


  • Maine Maritime Academy Graduate
    B.S. in Marine Transportation
  • Continuing education credits in Law, Appraisal, Marine Survey, and Diesel Repair.

Professional Certification/Memberships:

  • NAMS Regional Board of Directors Member 1989-1994
  • American Society of Appraisers – Chapter Treasurer 1991-1994
  • American Society of Appraisers – Chapter President 1994-1995
  • Mark Twain Club (Charter Member)
  • Machinery and Technical Specialties International Committee 1995-Present


  • The Journal of the International Machinery & Technical Specialties Committee of the American Society of Appraisers “TUGBOAT DESIGN 101” Vol 13 No. 2 Fall 1996
  • The Journal of the International Machinery & Technical Specialties Committee of the American Society of Appraisers “KEEPING AN EYE ON YOUR MARINE ASSET” Vol 13 No. 3 Winter 1996
  • Marine Money, The Ship Finance Publication of Record “ASSET BASED APPRAISAL:, Vol. 21, No. 3, May/June 2006 Wrote the chapter on Marine Asset Appraisal for the American Society of Appraisers text book: “VALUING MACHINERY AND EQUIPMENT: THE FUNDAMENTALS OF APPRAISING MACHINERY AND TECHNICAL ASSETS” Second Edition. In 2008, revised the chapter for the future Third Edition and wrote an accompanying Work Book section.



Harry Ward President DLS Marine

Harry Ward


Harry Ward is the President of Dufour, Laskay & Strouse, Inc. Harry is a US Navy veteran and has spent much of the past decade in the maritime industry in sales, finance and general management. He has extensive experience in asset and business valuation and is working to maintain DLS leadership in marine appraisal and survey for another 50 years. Harry is a graduate of the US Naval Academy and served as a helicopter pilot and survival instructor through multiple tours of duty. He has an MBA from San Diego State University.

Areas of Expertise:

  • Fleet and Vessel Appraisals
  • Marine Business Valuation
  • Transaction Support – Due Diligence
  • Transaction Support – Marine M&A Advisory
  • Digital Inspection – Marine and Offshore Wind


  • U. S. Naval Academy, Annapolis, MD – 1991, Bachelor of Science
  • San Diego State University, San Diego, CA – 1999, MBA with emphasis in Finance

Licenses and Professional Associations

  • FINRA Licenses, Series 63 and 79 (Investment Banking)
  • American Society of Appraisers, AM
  • Certified Exit Planning Advisor, CEPA (Business value assessment and strategy development