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January, 2014

With the record-breaking cold snap behind us, boating still seems so far away. Every year, we look forward to the boat show, where the smell of new fiberglass helps keep us going through just a few more weeks of cold weather.

This is a great time of year to take some classes, do some projects and plan for the spring, so here are some ideas to keep you engaged while the boat is winterized:

Photo Project

If you're like our family, you probably have some great pictures sitting around your hard drive from the past boating season. This is a great time of year to go back and look at the photos to remind yourself how much fun you had.

A great winter project is to organize some of those photos into a calendar or photo book using one of the online publishing services. For example, we use iPhoto on our iMac, and it's a snap to drag our favorites into a template then hit the "Buy Book" icon.



Above, a few intrepid thrill seekers! Photo by Capt. Eric

Safe Boating Classes

It's that time of the year again! We are pleased to announce that the USCG Auxiliary and the Louisville Sail and Power Squadron are gearing up for their Spring boating courses. These are a great place to learn the rules of the road, and the certificate of completion is required in KY for boaters under the age of 18.

For information on the Louisville Sail and Power Squadron courses, please check their booth at the boat show for the dates and to register.

Here's the news from the USCG Auxiliary:

BOATING SAFELY COURSE, Offered by United States Coast Guard Auxiliary

TOPICS INCLUDE: Boating Law, Boating Safety Equipment, Safe Boating, Navigation and Trailering

LOCATION: Harrod's Creek Fire Department
8905 Highway 42, Prospect, KY

WHEN: (Two courses to choose from)

Session 1 – February 12 and 19, from 6 to 9 p.m.

Session 2 – February 26 and March 5, 6 to 9 p.m.

COST: $30 for materials which can be shared

REGISTRATION: At the Coast Guard Auxiliary Booth at the Louisville Boat Show January 22–26 or by e-mail to Bill Deane at wsdeane@bellsouth.net

Note: A person 12 to 17 years old must possess a Safe Boating
Certificate to operate a motorboat or personal watercraft
in Kentucky.

Additionally, we'll have more information in the February newsletter.

Planning a Trip South?

Please note that per Navigation Notice 2013-035, the McAlpine Locks and Dam, Ohio River mile 606.8, North Chamber (Old) will have intermittent closures of up to 10 hrs. for maintenance between January 14, 2014 and April 18, 2014 from 7:00 a.m. thru 5:30 p.m. This closure is necessary to repair the lock culvert valves.

Speaking of Heading South

Our very own Capt. Richard Smith sent another photo recently from his adventures in his Grand Banks. Last summer, he navigated from Florida to Wilmington, NC. and beyond. One of his favorite stops is the Dismal Swamp area of the Intercoastal Waterway, located between Norfolk, VA and Elizabeth, NC. Richard has since returned the boat to the Florida Keys, and is talking about bringing her back to our neck of the woods sometime during the 2014 boating season.

Richard wanted to remind everybody that there is indeed life past the McAlpine pool, and his travels serve as an inspiration for all of us. He makes a good case not to winterize, considering the warm weather is only a few hours away by air travel.


Above, a night at anchor near Myrtle Beach in the late fall. Photo submitted by Capt. Richard Smith of Prospect

Site Finances and Sponsorships

As we head into 2014, we are taking renewals for "Gold Sponsors" for the Port KY site and the Port KY River Forum. As in the past, there is just enough revenue coming in to support the site expenses and to leave a little extra to help support the boating community with programs such as the Port KY River Cards, which are available for free in marine stores such as Admiral's Anchor, Marine Sales & Service and Sea Ray of Louisville. General site expenses cover everything from hosting and site security fees to LLC taxation and postage expenses.

Our Gold Sponsors ($20 or more per year) will be recognized on the site's "Sponsor"s page and in this newsletter. They will also have a "Gold Sponsor" star next to their avatars on the forum to indicate their contribution to the site.

Anybody wishing to contribute to the site can do so via the PayPal link on the PortKY.com homepage, or via regular mail to the address at the bottom of this newletter. As always, your sponsorships are greatly appreciated, and help keep the site going.

As in the past, I have committed to our boaters that I will gladly keep the site growing, provided the revenue comes from the boating community. I'd like to thank the following individuals who recently made "Gold Sponsor" level contributions to support the site:

Tom Christensen
Dick & Bert Coomes

HDTV Project

Here's a project I completed some two years ago, but was hesitant to share because of complexities. Fortunately, technology is becoming easier, parts are cheaper and there are easy solutions to some of the issues I faced. My goal was to create an entertainment system that would bring the content from my computer to the TV. I used the "Apple TV" because first, I've been an ardent Apple fan since growing up with an Apple II+, and second, it was able to bridge the computer to the TV. If you are unfamiliar, it is a small box with an AC power adapter and an HMDI connector that runs as a media center for your TV. A Roku would be another alternative.


Above, a bench-test at home prior to installation on a vessel. An Apple TV unit can be purchased for under $100 and a nice flat panel can be had for under $350.

There was the issue of getting the computer and iPad to talk to the Apple TV. Just like at home, we set up a wireless router that included WIFI so all the devices could talk to each other. Up to 255 devices can log onto the "Silverton" network, so everybody onboard could fight for control of the Apple TV and ultimately the content displayed on the TV and pumped through the audio system.

The missing part of the equation was the internet. To reach the outside network, we carry a "MIFI" card on our data plan. These are getting pretty common now, and they can bring the internet from your cell carrier to 5 or so devices via a wireless local network (LAN). We installed a 2nd router, whose sole function was to bridge the outside world to the inside. That is, it connects it's Local connection, or "LAN," to the "WAN" port on our internal system, and on it's WAN side reaches out wirelessly to the MIFI card to hit the internet.


Why not just use WIFI with everything to the 4G card? Well, it didn't work that well for me. Configured as above, you have the advantage of having a roaming 4G hotspot, while still allowing for several devices to connect. Everybody hooks up the the "Silverton" network, then there is only one connection required to the outside world.

Right now, I'll bet about half of you are saying, "That's pretty cool, I get it," while another half are saying "What????" For that reason, I'll stop with the technicalities there, and just highlight some of the things it'll do. Anybody who kinda gets it and would like more information can feel free to reach out to me for more information.


So what will it do?

Many of you have a library of music on your computers. You can switch the TV source from the over-the-air antenna to HDMI, and you're watching the Apple TV. From there, you can play all your music from your computer library. You can also rent movies or play your own home library videos. You can stream your photos in the background, or run through your favorite pictures to show your friends what you did in Madison during your last cruise. You can play your favorite podcasts, and there are several new Apple TV channels, to include Disney and Major League Baseball.

How is it better now than two years ago?

First, parts are cheaper. Second, bandwidth is not as hard to come by as before. For example, watching an HD movie uses a lot of bandwidth. In fact, you could burn through your monthly data allotment of 3 GB with one movie. What I used to do is download the movie at home, then use the boat network later when I wanted to watch it. The activation only uses a fraction of your bandwidth. Better yet, many marinas now have WIFI, so if you use theirs, it's a non-issue. In fact, without limits on your data in a marina, you can use the full power of the Apple TV or your favorite smart-TV media device.

What about all those stupid remotes?

With the whole set-up, I wound up with three remote control devices. There is one for the HDTV, another for the Apple TV and yet another for the radio. Logitech, for one, makes several universal remotes that can be programmed to run any combination of things. They require some set-up, but in the end, it's nice to have a single remote. On the boat, I use my iPhone as a remote for the Apple TV. In this case, it uses WIFI, so the Apple TV can be hidden out of sight like the router.

If you've thought about installing such a set-up, my recommendation would be to pick out the required pieces, then get it working at home. Once you've got the system with it's internet connection and routers up and running at home, there's no reason it shouldn't work on the boat.

2014 OUPV and Master Captain Class

Captain Ron Getter of True Course Captains School is pleased to inform us that they have enough enrollees in the March, 2014 OUPV and Master Captain's Course to make it a "go."

This course, hosted annually by Port KY, is a great place for well-seasoned boaters who have an interest in obtaining their captain's license to round-out their knowledge and get the credential that goes with it. Some people get their captain's licenses to help supplement their income, while others enjoy the learning experience.

For more information, see the attached flier and contact Captain Getter for more information: LINK (.pdf, 99 Kb)

Please note the correction to Captain Getter's email: CaptainGetter@TrueCourses.com

2014 Captain Renewals

Speaking of the captain's class, there are now almost 30 captains in Louisville that are up for renewal in the 2014-2015 timeframe. Capt. Ron's renewal class linked above would be the perfect place to attend a renewal course right here in Louisville, in leiu of required sea service time.

Look for more information in the February newsletter about some changes to the process that I've encountered during my recent renewal efforts.

Port KY River Forum

Don't let the winter blues set in! Stop by the Port KY River Forum to keep in touch with your friends and keep up with the latest: LINK

Upcoming Events

The Boat Show!

The Louisvillle Boat, RV & Sportshow
January 22-26th at the Louisville Exposition Center

Bob Conrad from River's Edge Towing will be conducting a seminar about "What to do..." when various emergencies happen on the water. He plans to incorporate some real-life scenarios into his presentation based on things he's seen as a responder on the water. Ask him for one of his new laminated cards that has a flow chart for when things happen out there. Bob will be conducting his seminars in conjunction with the US Army Corps of Engineers, who has a line-up of boating safety and informational presentations.

Chip Jowarski of Sea Ray of Louisville* wanted to pass along that they are excited to be dealer for the new line of Scarab boats. They're also celebrating their second year as a Bayliner dealer.

Slips for Sale

Still our most popular link! There were recently nine slips that sold as a direct result of the Port KY site, and the "Slips" page has been one of the most popular destinations.

There are some new listings, including three large slips at the Louisville Yacht Club, so check it out: link

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

Eric Grubb
USCG Licensed Master
Webmaster, PortKY.com

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