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August, 2012


We snapped this picture while tubing by Grassy Flats a few weeks ago, and put it up on the Port KY facebook page.


When we first went by the area, there was only one cow standing in the water. We motored over ever so cautiously to get a better look. Next thing you knew, the rest of the herd came down the hill. It was absolutely hysterical to watch.

I'd be remiss if I didn't report that a medical professional wrote in with comments about sharing water with the cows, and the risks associated with waterborne infections. For the record, we stay upriver of the cows, and that's the same reason you won't find us beaching and swimming around the bend. For more information, visit the "Ask the Captains" part of the website: link


Many runabouts come from the factory with only one battery installed. If you spend much time on the river, a second battery is definitely worth considering. With a second battery, for example, you can beach all afternoon with the radio running and not have to worry about being able to start to go home.

Most of the dual battery switches have selectors that read "1-ALL-2-OFF" or "1-BOTH-2-OFF", so the key is to run them separately with the extra battery on reserve. If you drain your battery, for example, by leaving the radio on with the battery switch in the "BOTH" position, you'll have two depleted batteries instead of one.

Our latest project was a 14-year old runabout that spent most of it's time in a garage and was used on lakes, so it came with only one battery. Adding a second one was one of the first things on my list when we purchased the boat.


Above, dual batteries in a 210 Sea Ray. It is worth commenting that covers on the batteries are a recommendation, which would prevent an arc if somebody were to drop a wrench on top of the batteries. Also, tie downs are a good idea, as they prevent the batteries from moving in case of a capsize scenario.

There are many considerations that will vary from boat to boat. For example, some manufacturers warn operators not to switch batteries while running, as it could cause trouble with the electronic ignition system or the brains of the engine. You may have to wire an alternator field to the switch. You may find yourself with a factory wiring harness that has the gauges or key wired to a battery terminal. The latter was the case with my latest project. For simplicity, I added the second battery in such a way that I need to start the boat on "1" or "ALL", but I still have the benefit of a battery on standby.

Capt. George East adds the following:

"Quick comment: If you have two outboards or inboards equiped with electronic engine managment systems i.e. muli port injection systems and some throttle body versions. You must let each engine run on its own battery. DO NOT put either battery on BOTH. The techs say that this allows a link for the two computers to talk to one another while in operation and trigger false error codes which could force a shutdown or degraded performance on one or both engines."

Additionally, a USCG Auxiliary member adds:

In order to pass a Coast Guard Safety Inspection all batteries are required to be securely fastened to the boat.  Batteries may be secured in battery boxes or strapped down to prevent movement or tipping. However, batteries not in battery boxes are required to have the terminals protected with red or black terminal covers such as you have on the battery on the left in your picture.

If you ask anybody who tows boats on the water, you'll find that many of the calls stem from dead battery issues. If you buy a second battery, cables, battery box and other miscellaneous parts, you can expect to pay about $200. To have a professional do the installation, you're most likely looking at another $200 +/- in labor. You will also have to carry the weight of the extra battery. Either way, the extra insurance could save you the cost of a tow someday.


We've described the Distress features available for your boat's VHF radio and in our local area in past newsletters and on the site under "Featured Articles."

You may recall that per the USCG:

"...approximately 90% of VHF DSC distress alerts received by the Coast Guard do not contain position information, and approximately 60% do not contain a registered identity. The Coast Guard cannot effectively respond to a DSC distress alert sent from such a radio."

While many of us have these new radios with the DSC capability, it's a safe bet that most of us do not have experience using those features. Learning how to use these features is a must, and is beyond the scope of this letter.

A key component to tying your boat and radio to the USCG database is the registration of a MMSI number. Since the MMSI number is tied to the boat and not the person, and given that many of the communications will use that number, I would recommend displaying the 9-digit MMSI number in a location that can be easily accessible, such as at the helm or next to your radio.


Here is a placard that we had made at a local trophy shop for under $10. It was easy to install, looks professional and leaves the MMSI number easily accessible for the next time you want to coordinate a DSC chat with a new boat or find yourself talking to the USCG as a result of a distress situation.

In case you missed it, here's a link to some information on installing such a radio on your boat with a GPS feed: link

Also, here is a good place to start to read about DSC features from the USCG Navigation Center: link

Leggett Boat Build

Here's an update from the Leggett's back yard in Oldham County on the progress of their 22' center console wooden boat build:


The hull has been fully glassed, and they are in the process of prepping the surface for the installation of mahogany chine logs then paint. They anticipate that once painted, they'll need a crane to flip the 2,000 pound structure. They are doing what they can when they can, and the project has been impressive to watch.


Boaters always like a destination, so here are a few on the near horizon:

Paradigm Yacht Sales In-the-Water Boat Show*
Riverpark Place Marina
Saturday, August 4th
11 am - 6 pm

Venetian Boat Parade Festival - CANCELLED

Knights of Columbus Corn Roast
August 4th (dinner)-5th (breakfast)

Madison Ribberfest
BBQ & Blues
Madison, IN
August 17th-18th

Madison Chautauqua Festival of Art
Madison, IN
September 29th-30th

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!

Another Fabulous Sunset!

Check out this picture of a late July sunset at the Rose Island Yacht Club:

On this particular evening, there was a massive thunderstorm located approximately 20 miles to the northwest of and overhanging the marina. The sun was setting in clear skies behind the cell, making for some magnificent evening colors.

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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