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-   -   OK for keel to stick in mud at low tide? (

LarryLinda 02-15-2007 03:25 PM

OK for keel to stick in mud at low tide?
We were considering berthing our boat at a marina that has only 3 ft of water at the opening at low tide.

The Harbor Master told me that it would not harm a 27 ft sail boat with 4 ft of draft.

I find that a little hard to believe!

Any feedback would be appreciated.

cardiacpaul 02-15-2007 03:34 PM

ask him for the name of HIS insurance carrier, 'cuz you want to be listed.

Sailormon6 02-15-2007 04:51 PM

I wouldn't do it with my boat. It wouldn't necessarily damage your boat structurally, but it might. But one thing it probably would do over a period of time is that the abrasive, sandy or muddy bottom would rub the antifouling paint off your keel, especially if you use an ablative paint.

Freesail99 02-15-2007 04:59 PM

I could not find a slip last year. So the place by boat is at I can only leave and return at high tide. My draft is also 4 ft. Also this past summer to large power boats hit bottom hard at low tide causing massive damage. I am moving to deeper waters.

hellosailor 02-15-2007 05:07 PM

If there's a bar at the entrance, so the problem is getting in/out of the marina, that's no problem as long as you come and go at higher tides. If there's only 3' at low tide in your slip, that's a problem. Especially if that means your boat might rock back and put the rudder in the mud. That's easier to damage than the keel.

k1vsk 02-15-2007 05:11 PM

Boats hauled out for whatever reason safely sit on their keel, sometimes for years without damage, so the static weight is irrelevent. When the keel is submerged in mud, the dynamic stresses from a moving water column or waves can induce stresses for which the hull/keel joint is not designed. If, by chance it is an Ericson 27 or something similar with an integral keel, it's much less of a issue. It is conceivable that the keel joint could suffer over time from such stresses but it's unlikely if the marina is sheltered.
Regarding abrasion, it obviously depends on the bottom composition but the bright side is the barnacles won't be happy...

Cruisingdad 02-15-2007 05:27 PM

I guess I am not following this thread correctly, but why stick your boat in a slip where you will sit on the bottom half (or more) of the time??? GO find another marina. Where are you based? Ask around sailnet to get some other reccomendations.

- CD

tdw 02-15-2007 05:48 PM

Depends a bit on what was meant by three feet at low tide. If it's official chart reading low water springs then under most circumstances you will have more than three feet depending of course on how much variation there are in the tides for your area.

(late edit) I based the above on you having plenty of water in the slip itself and on the presumption that the three foot depth is only at the entrance to the marina itself. If the three feet is in the slip itself then you have problems.

CLucas 02-15-2007 06:07 PM

Find another place or get a mooring
As asked by another poster, why do you want to be in a place where you're going to be aground at least half the time? Equally important, you're going to be limited as far as when you'll be able to use your boat. How much are you paying for this?

How about a mooring in a deeper water with launch service? Usually a lot cheaper, btw... Slips near me run as high as $165/ft, cheapo marinas run as low as $85/ft but there's a long waiting list. The town marina is at the end of a loooong , skinny and shallow harbor for $54/ft -- not worth the inconvenience (location, location, location...).

If this is the least expensive option of several, you might regret saving a few clams at the 'cost' of risking damage and sailing a lot less. BTW, think about your hull when a storm comes in and she's rocking back and forth a lot more on her keel. Ouch.

Bill Mc 02-16-2007 06:53 AM

My Boat has a 4'-6" draft and when the wind blows from the North it blows all the water out of the creek and my vessel sits on its keel in its slip. The bottom is soft mud and the area where the keel is has been wollowed out from the keel by the natural rocking of the boat in the slip. The bottom line I guess is that it depends a lot on the make up of the bottom of the slip. We bottom out regularly with no consequence. Our only down side is that we can't get out when this occurs :( :(

Fair Winds,


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