Running aground in NY Harbor - Statue of Liberty - SailNet Community

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Old 08-10-2009
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Running aground in NY Harbor - Statue of Liberty

Hi all,

well, we've gone and joined 'the first of the two kinds of sailors' - those that have already run aground. We're not too proud of it, but we'd love to get some advice from anyone here who's had a similar experience. We were in the NY harbor, south of the Statue of Liberty. It felt pretty soft-ish, like sand (and muck). But it took several tries to free ourselves(using our engine), so it felt like we may have scraped our keel pretty hard in the process. So the question is, do you think we should pull it out of the water to inspect, and possibly repair, the keel?
As far as we can tell, from the inside, there's no structural damage. But if there's a crack in the keel, it could be slowly taking on water and leading to a more expensive repair down the line. The boat is a Catalina 27, with a fin keel.

Any advice??
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Old 08-10-2009
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Most of the damage from groundings happens when you first hit and that damage depends on how fast you're going and the nature of the bottom. If you managed to get off with your engine it's not a real hard grounding. I would not worry too much about it. Usually a hard grounding with a fin keel will result in pulling the front of the keel down and pushing the back up. This can damage the boat, pulling the bolts down at the front and compressing and weakening the fiberglass at the back. Check to see if waters coming in at the keel bolts. I wouldn't think that it is. Check for keel damage next time you haul.
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Old 08-10-2009
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Is your water clear enuf to inspect it in the water? I'd suggest snorkeling under to inspect the keel. If you can't, you probably ought to pull it, if only for a half hour.

Hope everything is unharmed!
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Old 08-10-2009
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I would agree with Vasco. If it was a "soft" grounding (No hard thumps; just a deceleration as the stern rises slightly) there should be no problem, especially as you were able to power off. As Vasco advised, check for leaks at the keelbolts; if they're OK you should be fine.
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Old 08-11-2009
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How far south were you of the liberty island ferry channel? I'm kind of amazed you ran aground there with that boat, given a relatively shallow draft. That's a common area for barges to anchor.

I'd start making marks in the bilge. Pump the bilge then with a sharpie or paint marker, mark an inch (measure it) above the bilge water for your mark. The idea is that as you sit there you can confirm whether you're losing your mind or not. Measure it as often as you need to make yourself feel better. No water indicates nothing critical. You almost certainly just rubbed the paint off the bottom.

You're unlikely to have caused any damage given where you stuck it. It's all mud and silt, which is nearly impossible to rip anything loose unless you were moving at pace.
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Old 08-11-2009
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On the Chesapeake we call that being "disgraced again." With the emphasis on "again." Can't imagine you took any damage if it was just muck.
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Old 08-11-2009
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After using your engine to free yourself from a grounding, you should probably change your water pump impeller. Chances are excellent that you stirred up a lot of sediment, which then ran through the cooling system.
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Old 08-11-2009
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If you do not have water inside do not worry. The keel is much more stronger than the boat. If you do not have damage on the boat at the back side of the keel, that means the impact was not too big and nothing happened neither to the boat nor to the keel.
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Old 08-11-2009
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I wouldn't worry about it either, just be thankful it was muck/sand. Going down with a mask might make you rest easier. You'll probably feel easier after you ground a few times too I did do a little damage to the FG on the bottom of an encapsulated keel grounding on gravel but the metal keel would laugh at a little muck. Structuarally I cannot see sand/muck doing any damage.

Rocks I have less experience hitting but I am sure others can report on that unfortunate situation. The speed of impact is a factor.

Now rudders, they are less resistant to banging into hard objects ...luckily you stayed clear of your rudder!
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Old 08-11-2009
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I ran aground in San Diego harbor in muck. Tide was going out. Missed the channel to Chula Vista. By the time Vessel Assist got to us we were a few inches below the water line. They attached a strong rope to the bow and dragged us off the muck at a 35 degree angle. Must have pulled us about 15 yards into deeper water. I have a full keel and ballast is encapsulated so we didn't haul out since there was no water in the bilge. Had the boat bottom painted 2 years later, and saw no damage what so ever. My boat is built differently from yours, since it has a full keel, but hopefully this helps you make a decision that is right for you.

We couldn't motor off, and the boat broker who was helping us move her from Dana Point picked up the $600 Vessel Assist fee. We became members the next week.
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