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March, 2014

As this goes to print, the lawn is turning green and we're only days, if not hours, from ripping the shrink wrap off the boat. Just when I was about to freeze solid from our brutal winter, I had a chance to escape south and catch a day at the Miami International Boat Show and the Miami Yacht and Brokerage Show.

March was a busy month for Port KY, including an event for our boaters organized on the Port KY River Forum by Chris Morris. We also had a new group of captains attend the 2014 OUPV and Master Class by TrueCourse Captain's school.

Easter this year is two weeks before Derby weekend, which caused the Thunder planners to move the event ahead a week this year. We'll keep our fingers crossed that the light accumulation of snow to the northeast will make for less water down this way.

In the meantime, keep reading for more on Thunder and some other pre-season activites:

Miami Boats


Above, a picture of a Volvo IPS drive from the Miami Yacht and Brokerage Show. The tall person is there for perspective. You will note a unique Vovlo feature in that there are three blades on the forward propeller and four on the next one. Talking to sales reps and picking up little tidbits like that made the show that much more interesting!

For more pictures, please check out the rest of the collection on the Featured Articles page: link

Port KY River Forum Gathering

I would like to thank Port KY River Forum member Chris Morris and his wife Michelle for organizing the March 8th event at Captain's Quarters. Chris put together the event to bring our forum members together after a long winter, and to thank your editor and his wife for the time spent working on the site. With almost forty in attendance, we were honored to be surrounded by such a great group of boaters.

Above, Michelle and Chris Morris

TrueCourse Captain's Class and Field Trip

We're happy to report that the 2014 OUPV and Master course for captains is a wrap, with some seven new captains completing their training to get their USCG credentials. As in years past, this class was brought to Louisville by the TrueCourse Captain's School and sponsored by Port KY.

Something new this year was a field trip for the new captains. Captain Mark Doty, Master of the Belle of Louisville, was kind enough to give us a tour of the Belle as it was being prepared for the 2014 season. With USCG inspections underway, the floor plates and boilers were opened for access, providing a great opportunity to see parts of the vessel that are normally hidden from view. Capt. Doty not only showed us the entire boat, but also described its history. The new master candidates were also shown the different duty stations, where Capt. Doty explained each crew members' duties and explained how the crew works together to operate the Belle safely.


The Belle had many features worth seeing. Interestingly, she is powered by two steam "engines," which consist of two pistons, one to each side of the boat. New pistons were installed this year, each measuring 16 3/8" in diameter and having a six foot stroke. These engines were forged with the city of "Pittsburg" in the casting, pointing to a timeframe in the late 1800s when Pittsburgh didn't have the population to earn the "h" at the end of its name.

The "throttle" consists of a man turning a crank to meter the amount of steam flowing to the pistons, and the selection of forward and reverse gears is accomplished by sequencing a dual set of valves to reverse the travel of the steam pistons.


For more pictures and details of the inner workings of the Belle, check out next month's newsletter!

The Captains:

Each OUPV class has an interesting mix of students, and this year was no exception. The class consisted of two brokers, a marine mechanic, two sailors and two members of the LMPD River Patrol. Funding was provided through the Dept. of Homeland Security to have those River Patrol officers attend the course, which will add to the level of knowledge and safety of those serving to protect our waterways.

At the completion of the 2nd weekend of class, Port KY hosted a reception and swearing of the oath at the Captains Quarters Riverside Grill, with Capt. Allen Gailor officiating. Also welcome were spouses and previous graduates.


Safe Boating Classes from the LSPS:

America's Boating Course

A fun, in-depth boating safety course. The United States Power Squadrons' ABC course meets Kentucky and Indiana boating license requirements. Many boat insurance companies will offer discounts for boaters who complete this course.

Details: Price includes 244 page textbook, student CD, digital charting DVD including all US charts, and a 6 month USPS membership in the United States Power Squadron.
Price: $50. Families may share materials

To enroll: Contact 502-228-7227; or visit our web site at www.louisvillepowersquadron.com Public Boating Class; or www.USPS.org America's Boating Course- Classroom Course

Weekends: Two Saturdays in March 22 & 29. 9 AM- 1 PM

Additional Note: We are adding a 2 hour on-water content to the ABC Class. The on-water section will be held on May for interested ABC members from this winters courses.

Engine Maintenance

Course covers the operating principles and beginning care and maintenance of inboards, out boards and diesels. Course will help you to "Know Your Boat".

Where: Middletown Christian Church, 500 Watterson Trail, Louisville, 40243
Price: $50 Members $80 non-members

To enroll: Contact 502-228-7227; or visit our web site at www.louisvillepowersquadron.com or www.USPS.org | Locate Things | Advanced Courses

When: Eight sessions on Tuesday nights 7-9 PM March and April (underway)


Covers basic deck seamanship, marlinspike, anchoring, rafting, basic boat care and maintenance, and nautical and USPS etiquette.

Where: Harrods Creek Fire Department 8905 US Hwy 42 in Prospect.
Price: $65 Members $95 non-members

To enroll: Contact 502-228-7227; or visit our web site at www.louisvillepowersquadron.com or www.USPS.org | Locate Things | Advanced Courses

When: Eight sessions on Tuesday nights 7-9 PM April and May

Season Opener Event on April 5th:

The Louisville Sail and Power Squadron and Marine Sales and Service are hosting an event for boaters to kick off the season and educate boaters on Vessel Safety Checks. Come learn about what you need to do to get your boat ready, sign up for a check and enjoy some snacks and fun with your fellow boaters!

*Free Raffle Tickets for Pro-Shop Merchandise
*20% off on select Pro-Shop Items
*Snacks and Soft Drinks provided

Schedule of Events:
12:00-2:00 Vessel Safety Check Demo
2:00-4:00 Party, BYOB!

See you there!

Thunder Over Louisville

Thunder Over Louisville will be held a little early this year on Saturday, April 12th. This year's airshow should be as spectacular as ever, with the Blue Angels making a return.

As in years past, we'd like to re-post previous year's information on how you can get the most out of the event by water.


For starters, you can start watching the river levels to anticipate river conditions. Remember that they are available on the site, and that you can watch what's happening in the Markland Pool to give you an idea about the current: link

Additionally, things change quickly in the Spring, so it is also a good idea to keep track of the weather. That, too, is available on the Port KY site: link

What's the safest place to anchor? My attorney once joked, "at the dock." This year, some are doing just that at the newer RiverPark Place Marina. The downtown waterfront is another option, so mark your calendars for next February to bid for yours.

As you evaluate conditions and make your own safe judgement call concerning the event, following are links to some information we've assembled over the years to help you, our boaters, stay safer for the event:

Thunder Over Louisville Tips: link

Tips on Anchoring in a Current: link

Operating at Night (2 parts): link



Picket Line Boaters for Thunder

Speaking of Thunder, Kevin Roppel asked me to post the following information regarding the need for picket line boats. We have served in this capacity in years past, and found it to be rewarding with a great view of the fireworks. If you're the kind of boater who's willing to get there a little early in exchange for a great view, this could be for you:

"Have the Best Seat in the House"

Saturday April 12th

Thunder Over Louisville is fast approaching "Coast Guard Picket Line Boats" are needed.

What is a Picket Line? It is the lowest down river line of pleasure boats formed across the width of the Ohio river that the Coast Guard uses as a reference line for other pleasure boats to keep other pleasure boaters up river from. Basically if you want to be a Picket line Boater you will have the benefits and requirements.

-Be the closest line of pleasure boats to the fireworks and the downtown air show events.

-Have a "Picket Line" banner affixed to your boat to gain access to the front line.

-Meet with the Coast Guard in the "Marine River Briefing" on Friday night before the day of Thunder.

-Must be in position before the river closes, usually by 2pm.

-Need to stay until the fireworks are over at 10pm.

-Boat is to be 25ft or larger

-Boat name must be legible.

-Please call or email(kroppel@roppelrad.com) Kevin Roppel at 502-905-1567 to get on the list. There are a limited number of spaces so please call now. If weather or river conditions become bad, you can elect to stay at your marina.


McAlpine Lock Closure (reprint)

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.

Site Sponsors

As the new year began, I reminded our followers that this site, while it has some advertisers, remains viable due to the contribution of our sponsors. I would like to thank the following people who have contributed toward the expenses of the Port KY site for 2014:

Bill Andriot
Christopher Boone
David Boyles
Tom Christensen
Dick & Bert Coomes
Bob Coomes
Gary Cummings
Tony Deye
Martin Doll
William & Jennifer Glass

Dr. Stewart Jeffries
Keith & Ruth Leitner
David Mann
Sean McPherson
Chris Morris
Josh Nagel
"Ole Sea Ray Guy"
Robert Ring
Robert Schindler
Terry Shellhamer

Once again, I would like to extend a huge "Thank You" to these boaters!

What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

Now that you've attended a safe boating course, researched all there is to know about Thunder, then checked the weather and reviewed the river conditions, you should be all set for Thunder, right? What could possibly go wrong?

Here is a link to our last year's Thunder adventure. While there are a few embarrassing details, I share the story of our day-gone-wrong as a reminder that even the best of plans can face trouble. See what went wrong, what went right, and what we learned from the experience: link


Above, the LMPD River Patrol and dive team come to the rescue of our partially disabled boatload of children.

Coming Next Month!

Summer Events

Recent Legislation

Upcoming Site Improvements

Summer Trip Planning

Job Opportunities

Bob Conrad at River's Edge Towing is still looking for part-time, on-call captains. Call (502) 396-5491 for more information.

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

Slips for Sale

Still our most popular link! We added 22 listings in 2013, and have 9 new ones so far for 2014, with several already leased or sold.

You can check them out here: link

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

Eric Grubb
USCG Licensed Master
Webmaster, PortKY.com

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