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September, 2012

As I write this, we've been enjoying phenomenal boating and river conditions lately. The occasional cold front has made for some nice evenings out, with some weekend temperatures lately dropping into the low sixties. Those make for ideal conditions for anchoring out or beaching at your favorite spot. At this point, the holiday weekend looks like it could be impacted by remnants of Isaac.

Last week, I had the pleasure of helping Capt. Richard Smith from Rose Island move his 42' Grand Banks from Drummond Island, Michigan to Chicago. After a rental-car, ground shuttle, then ferry, we eventually arrived at the boat. Drummond Island is located on the Canadian border, not too far east of Mackinaw City and Sault Ste Marie.

While that type of boating is much different from our river boating, it inspired me to mention some things that are relevant to all types of boating.

Cruise Cards

For starters, when we arrived at Drummond Island, we found ourselves surrounded by a half dozen other boats that were also doing "The Great Loop." Our neighbors were a very interesting couple, having sold their house in March to move onto their first big boat, a 45' Californian, with the goal of completing the "Great Loop." When the sun went down and it was time to say our good-byes, they presented us with a "cruise card" that they kept on hand.

The cruise card was a business card with the name of their boat, hailing port, names, e-mail addresses, contact numbers, and MMSI ID. It made it easy to send them pictures of their boat that we snapped as we passed them at the St. Mary's River, and it will be fun to get in touch later to catch up on their trip.


Above, a Silverton Convertible at the Drummond Island Yacht Haven. Canada is in the background to left.

Trip Planning

Whether you're heading out for another 50 miles of the Loop, or heading to Grassy Flats for the weekend, trip planning is another important aspect of your boating preparations.

In case you haven't been to the Port KY site for a while, we've made it easy for you by incorporating "River Conditions" and "Weather" from the NOAA. With a few clicks of the mouse, you can see not only our current conditions, but also the river levels upstream and their forecasts. There's also information there on how to interpret the river level charts from a local boater's perspective. link


Another aspect of a voyage is the way you keep your ship. For example, do you put things away before getting underway, or just leave things laying about? If you encounter wakes on the river or large waves out at sea, you'll be glad that things were neatly and securely stowed. For your not-so-certain passengers, there is also a very psycological difference between a ship that takes each wave and moves on to the next, as compared to the ship that has things flying all over the place. The latter will erode confidence and increase the uncertainty of your guests.

It's also a good idea to keep lines and fenders accessible, but out of the way. If you leave them laying on deck, they could shift and also represent a tripping hazard to your guests. As boaters, we take much of these things for granted, but a few extra steps will make things much better for your Greenhorns.

Two of my favorite features of the Grand Banks during my passage across the Great Lakes were the flat decks and the number of grab handles available. That boat was designed with cruising in mind, and there was a flat place to stand and something to grab on to at every turn. I appreciate that, too, with my own bridge boat, a Silverton, in that I can go from the bridge to the cockpit area to the anchor pulpit and always have my feet planted and something to grab onto as we experience waves or wakes. Those features are definitely something to look for when you are boat shopping.

Ship's Log

Another idea for your boat is to keep a log of some kind. While I was growing up, my parents kept a small notepad, and it is still fun to look back and see who went along and how much we paid for fuel.


While doing his "Great Loop" cruise, Capt. Richard Smith (above) kept a journal, with every day on the water representing another entry. With over 6,000 miles behind him, the log of the M/V Chillin' has quite a story to tell.

Captain's Class

It's that time of the year again--we're promoting next Spring's Port KY-sponsored OUPV and Master Class by True Courses. Since 2009, they have trained 30-some local captains right here at the St. Matthews fire station.

Many ask why it would apply to them. Others picture a snobby boater in a yacht club, wearing a blazer and demanding to be called "captain." Frankly, if you love boating and want to take your education to the next level, this is the course for you. If you've ever thought about cruising beyond McAlpine or Markland, again, this could be the course for you. If you've considered doing "The Great Loop," this is definitely the class for you.

There's another important aspect that many of us in the class don't realize until they attend. That is, you could be surprised by the network of experienced boaters you meet and the opportunities that present themselves. In my case, I have found myself helping with events, bidding on deliveries and taking trips that I would have only dreamed about. The class helped round out the knowledge and connections to help make these things happen. If nothing else, your guests can appreciate that you learned about deck safety, sea-keeping, regulations, navigation, first aid and fire fighting and that you passed a drug test and physical to get the credentials that support it.

Look for posters that will be coming soon for the Louisville March class, or contact Captain Ron Getter of True Courses for more information: link


Above, Chicago as seen from the Chicago Harbor area next to Navy Pier

For more pictures from Eric's 315 mile trip from Drummond Island to Chicgo, viisit here: link

Speaking of Captains

The USCG has begun increased enforcement against those who are running unlicensed operations. Warning letters have been sent to several operators on the Tennessee and Cumberland rivers. A violation of the Passenger Vessel Safety Act of 1993 carries a $27,500 penalty.

Next time you pay a fishing guide on a federal waterway, ask them out of curiosity to see their credentials. That shouldn't be an issue, as they're required to have them on them any time they're operating.

Back to Louisville:

Proposed Fleeting Operation

There is a Public Notice available on the US Army Corps of Engineers site reflecting a fleeting proposal at Mile 587, on the Indiana shore. That would be directly across from where Taylor Creek enters the Ohio River at the Tartans Landing Yacht Club. The proposal depicts 18 barges stored in a 6x3 configuration, taking up approximately 1200' x 140' of frontage. The public comment period ends on September 27th.

For more information, visit the USACE website, and navigate to "Public Notices" and "Indiana," referencing "LRL-2012-235": link



You may recall that last month's newsletter discussed dual battery installations. Capt. George East wanted me to point out that some newer engines are designed to run on split systems, and that the computers could confuse data if they were connected to the same electrical bus. As was mentioned, every installation is different, so consult your manuals and do some planning before you change your wiring.

Also, the picture below serves as a good example for Vessel Inspection recommendations:


Rick Schal, USCG Aux., points out, "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."

New Advertiser

I'd like to take the opportunity to introduce Ryan McHargue, from Splash 'Em Out Mobile Detailing:

"Hello my name is "Ryan McHargue" and I am the owner and professional detailer of Splash 'Em Out Mobile Car Wash & Detailing where "We Come To You" to custom detail your Boats, Cars, RVs, Motorcycles, and Planes.

"My passion for detailing all started when I was 15 years old, I decided to purchase my first car, a Camaro. In 2001, I joined the Marine Corps. I continued to detail and repair vehicles as a hobby throughout my enlistment. Soon after my discharge I moved back to Indiana with my wife. I then decided I wanted to go to Lincoln Technical Institute to study automotive mechanics with a minor in business management. After I graduated college I went back to my career before the Marine Corps which was HVAC, since I could not find a job in the automobile industry in 2006. In May 2012, I decided to leave my career and pursue my dream and passion of cleaning vehicles."

"Today my passion-driven performance has set itself apart from the competition by providing an attention to detail not commonly seen by others. I am certain that you will not be dissappointed with obsessively clean attitude toward detailing your vehicle. I know you will appreciate my outstanding service, professionalism, and passion for detailing."

"Thank you, Ryan McHargue, Owner"

Site Sponsors

I would like to thank Terry Shellhamer for donating to the Port KY site in August. As I've mentioned before, the site has increasing expenses as it continues to grow, and I am grateful for those who contribute and keep it a viable resource.


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

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

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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