10 Tips to help if you run aground

Fortunately grounding is usually a minor inconvenience more than a major problem but as always prevention is always better than cure. So ensure that you familiarize yourself with any local hazards before you set off by consulting an up to date chart and ensure you have sufficient provisions.

  1. If you run aground don’t panic as hasty reactions can actually cause more problems and put you and your boat in danger.
  2. Carefully assess what you’re grounded on and check your chart for bottom characteristics and how deeply the boat has embedded. Check if the hull has been compromised.
  3. Soft grounding is one from which you will be able to free your own boat using the tide, wind and wave action and rarely results in significant damage or a leak.
  4. Hard grounding can be far more serious and potentially lead to damage or even loss of the boat. Ensure everyone on board is wearing a lifejacket, call for help and stay with your boat.
  5. Set your anchor to prevent the boat being drawn further aground.
  6. If the hull has sustained serious damage you are better to stay aground that re-entering deep water.
  7. If hull damage appears to be minimal you may be able to free yourself. Waiting for high tide is the safest although a slow option.
  8. Backing off is possible if you’re grounded lightly, but remember the reverse prop may wash sand and mud towards the bow grounding you more firmly. Only back off very slowly.
  9. When backing off monitor temperature gauges carefully. The raw water intake may suck up dirt and debris clogging the cooling system.
  10. Be insured for such an event as rescue and salvage can prove very costly if uninsured.