Safe Boating Week

Ahoy from Grand Rivers, Green Turtle Bay Marina!

Hello returning virtual crew members and fellow adventurers!

The crew of Compass Rose has joined our adventure. Our crew spoke with Compass Rose a week ago as Still Waters II approached the Pickwick Lock. We will highlight a story Compass Rose told in a Guest Spotlight below. Welcome aboard!

Ann Marie jumped on board at Paris Landing State Park. Glad to have you along for the ride and the recommendation for David McCullough’s, The Pioneers, where he tells the early story of settlers making way to the Ohio River Valley. Also check out the Boat Name of the Week, it just happens to be owned by our newest virtual crew member.

Summary of the Week

As expected, the crew had two easy travel days to find a slip at Green Turtle Bay. The hardest part was finding a marina that had an open slip through the upcoming Memorial Day weekend. The intermediate stop was at Paris Island State Park where the crew grilled burgers in the park.

Click on the link Still Waters II Travel Map to see detailed Voyage Logs.

The voyage of discovery did answer the following questions this week:
  1. What anniversary is being celebrated for the Federal Safe Boating Act of 1971 this year?
  2. When is National Safe Boating Week?
  3. What is the number one cause of death in boating accidents?
Started the week at Pebble Isle Marina

The week before Memorial Day Weekend is usually designated National Safe Boating Week. The week is peppered with news stories about safe boating just before the unofficial kickoff to the boating season. While most boating trips are enjoyable, many trips still end in tragedy. Since 2000, there have been 13,000 boating related deaths and over 64,000 boating related injuries. Many of these deaths and injuries could have been prevented. With a bunch of newbies on the water this weekend, our crew has wisely chosen to sit in a marina. But if you watch the video below, a marina may not be the safest place to be however. The guy in the video hits four boats while floating around the marina. But before the video, let’s hear a rescue story from the crew of Compass Rose.

Guest Spotlight –

The crew of Compass Rose, Jacque and Tsali, plan to launch their Great Loop Adventure from Goose Pond Marina on the Tennessee River this fall. While they patiently wait for their launch date, they joined a small flotilla of five boats for a multi day cruise down the Tennessee River. In honor of Safe Boating Week, May 22-28, I thought I would share their Day 3 shenanigans on the water to remind everyone to maintain situational awareness at all times while on the water, you just never know what you might see.

They planned for a long ten hour cruise (80 miles) from Guntersville to Joe Wheeler State Park. They were hoping for better favor with the Guntersville Lock than the day before when they waited three hours for the lock master to fix some “incident” before they could enter the lock. They eventually gave up on the lock and returned to the marina in Guntersville to live to lock another day. Their patience paid off as the fleet of five boats were locked through without a hitch on the second day.

After the Lock, they overtook a tow pushing four barges, nothing unusual about that, but wait, there seems to be something unusual going on up ahead. They could not completely make out what was going on at this distance, but as they drew closer it looked like lots of people waist deep in the water. The two crew members looked at each with wonderment when they witnessed a couple of people dunk a third person in the water. A baptism? Yes, a baptism right here on the Tennessee River.

Then about halfway through the days journey, the crew was approaching the I65 Bridge. Another strange observation, looks like someone is on the side of the bridge contemplating a plunge 58 feet into the water below. They passed under the bridge and continued on, but did send a few prayers upwards to ask for help for the person on the bridge. No one in the fleet of five saw the person actually jump, so maybe he got the help he needed and was talked back to safety.

Ever notice how strange things seem to come bundled in packages of three? Today would be no exception to the rule. As they approached the inlet to Joe Wheeler State Park, one of the boats they were traveling with declared an emergency of their own, an overheated engine. This is especially a problem for this vessel because they only have one engine. The engine shutdown and smoke filled the boat in distress.

Tsali turned the Compass Rose around and came beside the boat in distress. Then, in true pirate swashbuckling fashion, Tsali leaped aboard the boat in distress. Jacque did remind him to put on his lifejacket, just in case the smoke was from fire, and the boat was burned to the waterline. He might need that lifejacket if he found himself in the water. (Just a side note: 79% of fatal boating accident victims drowned. Of those drowning victims, 86% were not wearing a lifejacket. And another strange number, 8 out of those 10 drownings were using a vessel less than 21 feet in length.)

The swashbuckling pirate created a new dilemma aboard Compass Rose, however. Jacque (who had NEVER been aboard Compass Rose solo) suddenly found herself all alone. She assumed the role of helmsmen and carefully got distance between the two vessels and then just floated along with the current while the people on the boat in distress figured out what was going on.

After much troubleshooting, they finally figured out that the water pump was seized causing the overheating issue. But knowing the cause is only half the battle, how to get the boat in distress safely docked without an engine became the next problem. They decided to have Jacque bring Compass Rose back along side the boat in distress. Easier said than done, but Jacque piloted Compass Rose like a champ and had both boats side by side without incident. They tied both vessels together and Compass Rose towed the boat in distress about a half mile to the marina.

The marina assigned them a double slip so they just pulled bow into the slip while tied together and both got secured to the dock. Well that is what boating is all about, boaters helping boaters. Great job to Jacque and Tsali.

Compass Rose towing Wilma Mae


Learning and improving your safe boating skills takes work, but will increase the odds of an enjoyable experience, as noted in our Guest Spotlight above. In the spirit of improving skills, the Admiral decided it was the day to knock the cob webs off and practice piloting the boat after four months ashore. She moved the boat over to the fuel dock, and then piloted Still Waters II out of the narrow and winding one mile channel back to the Tennessee River.

After returning to the main channel, our crew had an easy day on the water. With the waters completely crowded on Saturday, the crew found themselves all alone as they entered the south end of Kentucky Lake. Other than a few fisherman out on the lake, there was very little sign of life.


While safe boating starts with education, and requires practicing the skills out on the water to ensure an enjoyable experience, there is one thing that should be avoided. That one thing would be boating under the influence. In the video below, the guy piloting the boat was arrested and charged with four counts of boating under the influence.

Boat Fails of the Week | Mayhem at the Marina! – YouTube

Depending on what study you read, around 25% of deaths on the water are caused by boating under the influence. Stay safe out there on the water, and enjoy docktails when you are safely tied back on the dock.

Our crew had trouble on the way north from Paris Landing, equipment failure not human performance errors, as the port engine began to overheat. The skipper turned the port engine off and cruised to Green Turtle Bay on just the starboard engine. The crew fell in behind a sailboat and followed the sailboat all the way up Kentucky Lake, through the canal, and into Barkley Lake.

When they approached the dock, the skipper fired the port engine back up and used both engines to guide Still Waters II into her slip. Time to do some boat yoga and figure out what caused the overheating issue.

Wednesday, Thursday

The skipper has been working on the port main engine cooling system, in hopes of finding and fixing the over heating issue. The engine temperature has actually been creeping up since last summer. Initially the engine ran around 175 degrees under a light load. By the end of last summer she was running around 185 degrees, while this year she has been running closer to 190 degrees. The skipper believes the heat exchanger needs to be cleaned after refuting a few other options during troubleshooting.

After removing the end bell from the cooling water heat exchanger, he found about 10% of the tubes blocked and not allowing water flow through the small 1/8th inch tubes. After a run to the hardware store, to buy some dowel rods to clean the tubes, the skipper called it a day late Wednesday.

On Thursday he cleaned all 96 tubes, which will return all tubes to service. Then a bit of a nightmare started. He could not get both end bells back on the heat exchanger. While trying to put the return end bell back on, the whole tube bundle began to shove out the opposite end of the heat exchanger body. Then he could not move the tube bundle back the other direction to its original position.

After taking a lunch break and noodling on how to proceed, the skipper finally decided to remove the one end bell he had reattached, and put the other end on first. This moved the tube bundle back in position and allowed placing the return end back on with no more problems. Would have been nice if the maintenance manual shared this little tid bit of information on the order of reassembly. Time for a pen and ink change to the service manual in case the skipper has to do this job again.

The skipper cleaning the heat exchanger

Complete repairs will be put on hold until Saturday as a new development has come to the crews attention. The grandkids may be in the area on Friday and actually stop by for a while as they pass through the area on their summer vacation.


Sure enough, the rumor of an unscheduled stop of the Lathers vacation came to fruition. The crew of seven swabbies swelled to a crew of ten with an addition of three friends who are stowed away for the vacation extravaganza.

It was an SOS (scoot over some) afternoon

They arrived about noon, so the first order of business was to feed the new hungry crewmates. Afterwards, the gang walked down to the beach and enjoyed an afternoon in the Cumberland River. Well, until a fish swam by the girls and rubbed along one of their legs. They evacuated the water immediately and began telling stories of ‘river monsters.’ Somebody has been watching too much TV.

The resort golf cart shuttle just happened to swing by about the time the gang was packing up to head back to the boat. The crew members jumped aboard the shuttle and got the grand tour of the Green Turtle Bay Resort.

The shuttle driver did a good job of promoting the resort. He made a stop at the Thirsty Turtle Tavern and explained how kid friendly it was, how a band was playing tonight, and how good the food tasted. The crew began their scheme to turn into mutineers by getting the Admiral to call the skipper (who was walking back to the boat with the would be mutineer’s father) and inform the skipper that the would be mutineers were hatching a plan to eat at the Thirsty Turtle Tavern. Dear ole Dad made a command decision and nipped the mutiny in the bud by making it clear that Nathan hot dogs were in their future and not the Thirsty Turtle Tavern.

After fine dinning on Nathan hot dogs, it was time to load up the crew and head to their next destination a couple more hours down the road. When you are traveling with two adults, six teenagers, and four kids, getting the mass to move in the same direction is a chore.

Since the people take up all the interior space in the van, all the other gear is pulled behind in a U-Haul. You can tell it is early in the vacation because the parents are still smiling.

Boat Name of the Week

Next Week –

With all the weekend warriors out on the water this memorial day weekend, our crew will sit in the comfort of the Green Turtle Bay Resort and not leave till Tuesday morning. Then they will begin their travels to Pittsburgh by making the first stop in Paducah, Kentucky on the Ohio River.

Loop On – Where the road ends, the water begins. The water goes on forever, and the adventure never ends.

Eric the Red

2 Comments on “Safe Boating Week

  1. Wow, in addition to all that family on board, we made boat name of the week!!! To explain the name, my husband is a chemist and a chemical that attracts water is a Hydrophilic chemical. The Pioneers is a good read for anyone about how the country moved west in the 1700’s. The answer is by water. Safe travels and we can’t wait to follow your stops.


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