Your Boat’s Aground – What Now?

Ian Fortey by Ian Fortey Updated on April 20, 2021. In

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What do you do when you find yourself aground with the potential of being set further aground as the tide rises?

We had lots of good responses to last week’s question. Many of you had good, logical ideas that I have put together here.

  1. Shut off engine to prevent sucking in mud.
  2. If in a sailboat, lower sails, and raise centerboard and rudder.
  3. Check for any damage and make sure you are not taking on water.
  4. If the hull is damaged and water is leaking in, stay put. Getting the boat into deeper water may allow the boat to sink, compounding your problems.
  5. If there is damage, deal with that first. Use a plug, rag, PFD, or other means to plug the hole.
  6. Good idea to request that everyone put on PFD’s.
  7. Put out a kedge anchor to windward. A kedge anchor is a small anchor set out a distance from your boat to windward and in deeper water. Kedging is the act of moving the boat by pulling on the anchor line usually with the help of a winch.
  8. Raise outboard or I/O stern drive.
  9. If you are not too hard aground you may be able to “kedge” yourself off.
  10. If you are hard aground and tide is still going down try to protect the hull with cushions and extra PFD’s.
  11. At this point you have two solutions; call for towing assistance or wait for high tide to float you.


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