Betwixt the U.S. Grant Bridge and the Carl Perkins Bridge, is the Anchor Pad Boat Club (APBC), located on the bank of the Ohio River in Portsmouth which rents dock space. APBC has served as a friendly, recreational feature of Southern Ohio since 1990.
Joe Canter oversees the APBC, and said he immensely enjoys being a part of it.
“I think it originally started back in about 1990, Roger Miller and some other people got together and got the lease from the city and started this club,” Canter said. “I came in about 10 years ago when other people moved on, and I took it over. We currently have about 10 to 12 members of the Anchor Club that rent dock space, which provides the money for maintenance and to keep it going. We do not make any money off of this at all, it all goes to the utilities and the upkeep up the place. I really enjoy being a part of the Boat Club.”
Long-time APBC member, Tom Blackburn, said APBC is a family oriented club.
“We are more of a family-oriented boat club. We have several families that come down and water ski on the river. There is a lot of entertainment. Almost everyone enjoys going out and boating and a lot of times just boat up the river, and come back down,” Blackburn said. “A lot of guests from places like Manchester, and Aberdeen come up in their boats, walk up to the restaurants and eat, and come to see the murals on the flood wall.”
The APBC is under surveillance 24 hours a day, seven days a week, according to Blackburn.
“We have a caretaker here 24 hours a day, seven days a week, so nothing is ever bothered,” Blackburn said. “Also, if the water gets up, there is someone here to look after the boats, and make sure the boats don’t get loose, and this is all done on a voluntary basis.”
Canter said he and Blackburn devote a tremendous amount of time for maintenance at the APBC.
“We are down here every day. I retired March 1st, but I am down here every day to do some work,” Canter said. “Sometimes we are here for eight, 10 hours in a day to work on something, so it is an ongoing maintenance project, but it is a labor of love, because I enjoy doing it, and having this place on the Ohio River.”
Donations come in that help a great deal in the APBC upkeep efforts.
“This year we put in new concrete, new pipe rail, the docks and everything came out of Shawnee Marina,” Blackburn said. “When they upgraded down there we were fortunate to buy their box off of the contractor down there which we custom fit to meet our needs up here which really helped up us greatly. The pipe was donated, the labor was all donated, and machinery like the Bobcat to get things done, were all donated.”
Seasonal preparation is performed for the APBC to serve it’s membership each year.
“We come here every year at the beginning of the season and set up, and then at the end of the season in October everything has to be moved and put away, and then taken back up the river where we store it by above the dam,” Canter said. “Then next year, we come back and set up and do it all over again,” Canter said. “Then we lease spots out to outside people, whoever wants to come here and rent a spot from us. So we are really helping out the recreation on the Ohio River. The city doesn’t have to have boat docks down here, because we have them, which helps.”
The Fourth of July holiday and The Portsmouth River Days Festival is a time that the APBC really comes alive.
“On the July 4th we had a deejay to come down and played music, and we had a cook out for the members, and every one just brings a covered dish. The Boat Club furnished the hot dogs, hamburgers and buns, those types of things,” Blackburn said. “The members really enjoyed it, they danced, and there were several young people here, and of course they watched the fireworks. I think everyone enjoyed the Fourth, although it was a week late.”
Canter said The Portsmouth River Days attracts an even larger crowd to the Ohio River, and therefore the APBC.
“The River Days Festival is over a series of days, so it usually brings in an even bigger crowd,” Canter said. “During that time this place is really crowded. People come in here and park, and there is a lot of traffic coming in and out through here each day, all day long. We just look forward to people coming in, having a good time and sitting and relaxing.”
The estimated season cost for the upkeep of APBC this year is nearly $10,000, according to Canter.
“If we have a bad season and it rains a lot around the holidays, and the water comes up then we don’t replace as many boards, or update anything because everything is slowed down,” Canter said. “Of course you have to pay your utilities first. Depending upon how much we have to spend replacing boards. This year we spent almost $10,000, with concrete, and everything else we made a lot of big improvements this year.”
There are currently some vacancies open for dock rental space.
“We have some openings on our dock. We are not completely full,” Canter said. “The renters pay $15 per foot for whatever their boat measures, so it is all going to depend upon the size of their boat, so the smaller their boat, the less they will pay. We really enjoy being a part of the Boat Club, and welcome others to come down and try it out.”
For more information regarding APBC, visit the website: anchorpadboatclub.com, or call 740-285-7931.
Reach Portia Williams at 740-353-3101, ext. 1929, or on Twitter @PortiaWillPDT.