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ephman 01-11-2008 12:19 PM

Running Aground
A few years ago, during a cold October evening, we were motoring back to Edward's Marina on the Chesapeake to deal with a engine leak when we realized we weren't sure which inlet to enter. After much debate, the boat owner turned into a small creek. It wasn't long before we went aground with a thud. I was selected to take the dinghy and a long oar and paddle around the boat in increasing circles to estimate the depth so that we could determine the best route to deeper water. The tide was going out. Luckily, we were able to throw the anchor and winch ourselves off.

I'd love to hear about your experiences in "touching bottom" and how you dealt with the situation.

erps 01-11-2008 12:40 PM

I've heard there are two kinds of boaters. Those that have gone aground and those that are going to go aground. I'm in the first group, although the groundings weren't really that unexpected, as I was cutting corners in known shallow waters during an incoming tide. Under those circumstances, it's just a matter of waiting a bit for the tide to come in. It does hurt the ego a bit though.

sailingdog 01-11-2008 12:45 PM


There are really three groups... those who have gone aground, those who have gone aground and deny it, and those who never leave the dock.

I've been fortunate in that the groundings I've had have been relatively minor and soft bottom groundings... In the boat I have currently, grounding isn't all that much an issue, and when I have gone aground, I hop off the boat and push her off the spot she's stuck on... generally, with me getting my carcass off the boat, she'll rise just enough for me to walk her free... of course, having a board-up draft of 16" or so helps. :)

sailortjk1 01-11-2008 01:35 PM

Only soft bottom grounds when they were anticipated.
Last year was my wife's first time touching the bottom.
"Something felt wierd," was her initial reaction.
I told her it was the bottom and lets not try that again.
We were getting ready to drop the hook off the beach and within close proximity to my buddies trawler. He lured us in too close, depth went from 8 to 5 with nothing in between.

joeybkcmo 01-11-2008 01:49 PM

hate to say it, but the swing is a good depth sounder, only did it once, but was glad I could pull it up and back it off

sailingdog 01-11-2008 01:50 PM


I'd be just fine in 5' of water. :)

nolatom 01-11-2008 02:19 PM

In the Gulf and the Lake down here, mud and silting channels make it a not infrequent occurrence. Generally "easy on, easy off", get all crew on one side to heel the boat, and back out under motor or sail depending on wind direction.

And try not to do it near a lee shore when it's windy. Duh.. ;-)

cjmcfall 01-11-2008 02:22 PM

While teaching sailing to high school students in the Bay for two summers in an old IOR with over six feet of draft we hit bottom at least once a week. Luckily we always seemed to land in the mud. A few of the marinas should have paid us for all the dredging we did in some of their channels:)

One interesting way to un-stick yourself from the mud, if you have six teenage kids on board, is to have a few of them swing from the bow to the stern on the main halyard while the others hang off the low side. It's amazing how much you can get a boat to heal with this technique.

cruisingdream 01-11-2008 02:22 PM

Every spring & fall I dredge my own channel to & from the travel lift

CharlieCobra 01-11-2008 02:23 PM

My depth finder has epileptic fits on occasion, showing we're in 5' of water when it's over 300'. It only seems to happen when the motor's running at the end of the day. Considering I draw 5'6", I know it's full of &*^%.

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