Lake Cumberland
One of the largest lakes in the U.S., Lake Cumberland in Somerset, Ky. has more than 40 boating ramps for optimal water access. Contact any of Lake Cumberland’s three marinas for more information.

Burnside Marina: (606) 561-4223 or (800) 844-8862
Omega Park Marina: (606) 382-5542
Lee’s Ford Marina Resort: (606) 636-6426 or (877) LEES FORD

Lake Erie
It’s no surprise that Lake Erie is a great location for boating. With free public launches, many marinas and plenty of docks, it is also a great spot for fishing or water skiing. Reservations are recommended for docks and marinas. For more information, contact the Ottawa County Visitors Bureau: (800) 441-1271.

Cowan Lake
Cowan Lake, located within Cowan Lake State Park in Wilmington, features numerous rental facilities for boaters, including launch ramps, dock, canoe and boat rental. You can also enjoy fishing and swimming. There is a 10-horsepower limit for all boats on the lake. For more information, contact the park marina: (937) 289-2656.

Taylorsville Lake
Taylorsville Lake outside Louisville, Ky. features plentiful fishing and designated zones for water skiing, including a buoy slalom course. The 3,050-acre lake has four ramps for public use as well as a full-service marina, and it adjoins with 1,700-acre Taylorsville Lake State Park. For more information, call Settlers Trace Boat Ramp and Marina (Taylorsville Lake Dock): (502) 477-8766.

—Stephanie Metz

What’s Up, Dock?
If you’ve thought about buying a boat or a personal watercraft, you have myriad options, but now might be an opportune time to buy used. “Whenever the economy dips a little bit, the used market improves,” says Rick Rosenberger, co-owner of Captain’s Cove Marine on Kellogg Avenue. Unlike other dealerships, half of Rosenberger’s business is in the pre-owned category. “The used boat market right now is just going crazy,” he adds. Whether you go new or late-model used, you will find that today’s boats are quieter, easier to handle and more fuel efficient than their predecessors. Below are the hottest watercraft and features available locally.

New features and technology lure more Cincinnatians to watercraft.

By P.F. Wilson


In this category, The Meridian 391 is the recommendation of Ed Alf of Sea Ray Cincinnati. “It’s a 40-foot yacht with a bridge,” he says. “(You) drive from up top, (it has) nice big windows, nice open feel, bottom room on board.” Though not the very top-of-the-line, it is one of the bestsellers. It’s not hard to figure out why, as it boasts two large staterooms, a bathroom, a shower and a fully appointed galley. There‘s also a large salon area below deck, which is finished in cherry-wood and complete with entertainment center.

The Meridian 391: Available at Sea Ray of Cincinnati, $400,000.

New Technology

Axius, from Mercury Marine’s MerCruiser division, is a so-called “joystick docking system” that’s actually part of a boat’s propulsion mechanism. It allows for much easier maneuvering, and gives even novice boaters greater confidence in handling their craft. The joystick lets one almost effortlessly move the boat back and forth, side to side, or even to turn the craft within its own length. This device is particularly handy for docking, as the name implies. It’s also perfect for a generation raised on video games. “The children of many of these boat owners can probably drive these (Axius-equipped) boats better than they can,” laughs Ed Alf, president of Sea Ray of Cincinnati.

Axius Joystick Docking System: available as an option on many new boat models.

Cruiser Bow Riders are the most popular type of boat in the cruiser class. These boats feature seats in the bow section where passengers can fully enjoy the ride, and are commonly used for waterskiing and wakeboarding. If you’re looking for more amenities, Sea Ray of Cincinnati’s Ed Alf recommends the Sea Ray Sundancer 330. “(Many) cruisers have the new joystick docking,” he adds. Seasoned boaters can purchase the craft without the joystick docking system, of course. “Somebody might say ‘Hey, I don’t need joystick docking, I can dock the boat just fine.” While smaller cruisers can be trailered, the bigger craft are typically kept at a marina.

Sea Ray Sundancer 330: available at Sea Ray of Cincinnati, MRSP starting $250,000.

Muscle Boat

These craft go by many names including “muscle,” “cigarette,” “dance” and “go-fast” boats. You may recall seeing them in old episodes of Miami Vice: the boat of choice for law enforcement trying to catch criminals on the open water. Though you see them from time to time on the Ohio River, their popularity with retailers has waned somewhat over the years and it’s difficult to find a local dealer. The Baja brand, however, is available locally through Captain’s Cove, where Rosenberger claims they’re doing well with both new and used versions. New models include the 35-foot, twin-engine Outlaw. “It’s a sweet ride,” says Captain’s Cove co-owner Kevin Dick.

Baja Outlaw: available at Captain’s Cove, MSRP $216,000.

Manhattan Harbour

This new DCI Properties development in Dayton, Ky. is under new management and is undergoing a complete renovation. The marina’s popular poolside restaurant, The Reef, will still be open for business. Manhattan Harbour, formerly Watertown Yacht Club, features a swimming pool, banquet room and bar and is finishing a new boater’s lounge with internet access and flat screen TVs. Manhattan Harbour also hosts dock parties throughout the summer. A two-building, four-story condo development, Waterfront East, is planned for the site.

Fishing Boat

Mention this class of boat, and many people think of a simple aluminum craft with perhaps two bench seats across its hull. However, these boats are just as modern as their larger counterparts. The Tracker Team 190 TX, a bigger version of the top-selling 175 TXW model, is replete with amenities. Experienced anglers will appreciate the built-in storage boxes and circulated bait wells. There’s even a Lowrance brand fish finder located next to the control panel.

Tracker Pro Team 190 TX: available at Hern Marine in Fairfield, Florence and Cincinnati, MSRP $16,500.

Personal Watercraft

They’re more commonly known by the trademarked names Jet-Ski (from Kawasaki) or WaveRunner (Yamaha). Another popular make is Sea-Doo, which offers the powerful RXP-X. This two-seat personal watercraft (PWC) goes from 0 to 50 mph in 60 seconds. “Phenomenal,” says Beechmont Motorsports’ Joel Ridgeway. “You’re going to plane instantly, as soon as you hit the gas.” While it may sound a little intimidating, Ridgeway says most riders can learn to handle the craft in about two hours, versus say 20 minutes for a smaller PWC.

Sea-Doo RXP-X: available at Beechmont Motorsports, MSRP $13,000.


Custom built in the houseboat capital of the world, Monticello, Ky., Horizon is one of the top brands in this category. Sizes range from 55 to 130 feet, and boats are equipped to individual buyer specifications. These craft were once very popular in this area. “Back in the ’70s there used to be a lot more houseboats (here),” says Four Seasons’ Marina Manager Dennis Schalk. “But I think the cruisers came around and people started buying (them).” They are still popular on large inland bodies of water such as Lake Cumberland, where vacationers often rent them, says Hern Marine’s Wayne Stewart.