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July, 2012

So far, this summer's been a whirlwind! We spent the first half of the season visiting friends and family in far-flung places. On my days off work, I had to choose between eating lobster off a local fishing boat, or coming home to do chores. Needless to say, I enjoyed my fair share of seafood!

Our travels are behind us, and I'm glad to have more time to spend in Louisville with our local boating friends.

The Bullfrog

When you look at your boating activities today, how often do you think back and remember where you first became hooked?

When I was a teenager mowing lawns and shoveling snow from driveways for spending money, I spent $85 on an O'Brien "Bullfrong." It was a flat-bottomed kneeboard that featured a tunnel groove down the middle for stability. Over the years, it has been replaced by fancier models sporting names like the "Magma" and "Viper." I recovered the Bullfrog from my parents' basement a few years ago, where it had been preserved in time-capsule condition. It's been the favorite water toy for our oldest, who doesn't necessarily enjoy skiing, but will ride the Bullfrog for miles.

Years ago, we formed the "Bullfrog Club," where memberships are an honor bestowed upon those who have met the challenge of getting up, securing the knee-strap, then riding for an arbitrary distance. Induction formally occurs at a Dairy Queen location. I'm proud to report that as of last week, all of our children are now members of the "Bullfrog Club!"

Along with the membership comes the bragging rights that go with dinner-time conversations, "Dad, how about the time..."


Above, a young deckhand gets last-minute kneeboard tips before he tries getting up behind the tow boat.

Boat Steps SOLD

The steps advertised previously have been sold. Thank you for the inquiries.

July 4th Fireworks at the Waterfront

We returned just in time to take the boat down to the 4th of July fireworks display at the Louisville Waterfront. While it was pretty hot during the day, it cooled nicely after sunset, making for a great evening out. Here is a picture we took approaching the waterfront area:


Tour of the AEP Legacy

Our summer visit to Pittsburgh, PA just happened to coincide with the 35th Annual Pittsburgh Regatta. AEP, formerly American Electric Power, the Texas Transportation Institute and the US Army Corps of Engineers used the regatta as an opportunity to increase the public awareness of our lock and dam system on the inland waterways, and to broadcast their message that they deperately need additional Federal funding to keep the system up and running.

To put the efficiency of a 15-barge tow into perspective, it was explained to us that it would take six locomotives pulling 216 rail cars, or 1,050 semi tractor-trailers, to match the barge configuration. Some 20% of the coal used in power generation is delivered by barge, which is by far the most efficient means.

At Pittsburgh's North Shore, we were honored to get a lengthy tour of the M/V AEP Legacy, one of AEP's newest towboats, which measured 156' long and 46' in breadth. Capt. Terry Reavis greeted us as we came aboard, then passed us off to the rest of his crew, who gave us tours of the smaller areas of the ship on our way to the pilothouse at the top.


There is so much to tell you about from the tour, from the engine room to the pilothouse, and from the crew schedules and working conditions to employment opportunities. For more infomation, please visit our newest Featured Article on the site: link


One of the AEP Legacy's 3000 hp. V-12 diesels. For more information, see the link above.

Summer Thunderstorm Conditions

What do you use to monitor severe weather on the river? While we're tempted to upgrade to a new chartplotter system with XM weather, today's smart phones provide an amazing amount of information and provide what we need locally. Disclaimer--the following is not an official endorsement:

We enjoy an iPhone app called "RadarScope." While it was pricey at $10, it has come in very handy for watching the progress of cells and watch boxes. We frequently use it for our go/no-go decision making on the water, and often find ourselves staying out when others are heading in or vice-versa. Compared to other free apps, it provides a high resolution image of a selected station, versus a composite image combined from multiple sources.

Recent weather exhibited conditions ripe for the formation of storms. Here are a few screenshots we used in our planning as an example.

pic pic pic

At 10:44 a.m. on that particular day, we were already on the water in our runabout and saw one dark area over southern Indiana (1st image). We stayed out, knowing that the only major cell was tracking to the NNE and missing the Prospect area and the south.

By noon, cells were popping-up all over the place, so we decided to call it a day and enjoy lunch secured at the marina. We got a little wet as we tied-off, but it was much better than staying out and getting surprised on the water.

By 12:55 (middle image), the sun was coming out again, but we checked the radar app again and didn't like what we saw. We stayed put at the marina while others headed out, lured by a brief bit of sunshine. By mid-afternoon, it was still raining, by now in a more wide-spread fashion, and we were glad we stayed in.


Above, a view from the Louisville Waterfront during a pop-up thunderstorm. Photo courtesy of Capt. David Mann

There are several variables associated with determining when it is safe to go out, and having an animated picture of a local radar station can go a long way toward providing the big picture and keeping your crew dry and content.


The folks at HCBOA wanted me to pass along that the 2012 Ohio River POKER RUN, hosted by the Harrods Creek Boat Owners Association (HCBOA) will be held on Saturday, July 28. This year's event will end at the new Riverpark Place Marina, near Tow Head island and River Road, and will be a great time.

"Capt. Patrick" has informed us that the August 4th Venetian Boat Parade has been been cancelled for this summer. We commend his efforts for trying to bring something new to our boating community.

Paradigm Yacht Sales will be offering an "In-the-Water Boat Show" on August 4th at Riverpark Place Marina from 11 a.m. until 6 p.m. Admission is free.

There's More! Check out the Port KY Events Page for specifics, and note that more information will be added as it becomes available: link

Port KY River Cards

It's that time of year again! Stop by Marine Sales and Service, River's Edge Marina or Sea Ray of Louisville to pick up a "River Card." These 8"x5" cards are available for free and provide a handy reference for you while you're out on the river.

Included on the cards are mileages, landmarks, a list of required equipment and other tidbits of information to keep you more situationally-aware on the water.

Slips for Sale

As the weather heats up, so does demand for boat slips. Here's a link to our page of current listings: link

Have a slip of your own to sell? See the page listed above for information on how to list yours!

Future Newsletters

Have anything you'd like to see in future newsletters? Feel free to send in your suggestions!


The forest fires in the west have led to more particulates in the atmosphere. What that means in general is more spectacular sunsets. Pictured below is one we captured an hour before the July 4th fireworks at the Louisville waterfont.

It can be debated whether there are enough natural aerosols to add to the effects of smog produced locally by a city. Either way we've had some great sunsets lately.


That's it for now--Stay safe, and we'll see you on the water!

Eric Grubb
USCG Licensed Master
Webmaster, PortKY.com

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