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Old 05-07-2011, 19:33   #16
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Re: Lessons Learned after Running Aground ...

Cant count the number of times Ive run aground in the last 25 yrs.Ive never been towed off . The worst grounding took 3 anchors on 3 winches but was able to literally drag off during a falling high tide. My motto is have those kedges ready for quick deployment. Only way Id call for help is if I was on a lee shore, but I avoid those at all costs like any prudent sailor should.
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Old 05-07-2011, 23:15   #17
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Re: Lessons Learned after Running Aground ...

Just wondering do folks ever use their tender or such to check uncertain depths beforehand? Eg before entering an anchorage...
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Old 06-07-2011, 06:16   #18
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Laughing with you. You will make a fine instructor some day. Been there done that. Keep your posts for your future book.
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Old 06-07-2011, 06:25   #19
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For future groundings:
Stock extra drinking water on the boat
(you may be there for awhile)
As long as it is not high tide
( just have to wait)
Boat wakes can help set you free
(you can bounce your way off)
Raise sail and pull the main in as tight as possible to heel it over
(you don't draw as much water)
Patience because you may have to wait for the tide.
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Old 06-07-2011, 07:06   #20
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Re: Lessons Learned after Running Aground ...

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Just wondering do folks ever use their tender or such to check uncertain depths beforehand? Eg before entering an anchorage...
With good charts, as up to date as possible, guide books with good sketch charts, and an experienced eye to discern the relationship of water color versus depth - it is rarely necessary to actually take the dinghy out and "stick" the area.
- - But in areas where there is a lot of doubt and/or the depths on the charts, etc., do not match very closely your depth sounder readings (corrected for instrument position) then "sticking" the area using the dinghy is proof positive of what the depths are currently. I keep the collapsible or extendable 12ft or 14 ft boat hooks on board and have marked them at 1 foot increments with a laundry marker. The boat hook make a great solid "stick" to read the real water depths.
- - For instance, the channel from Marigot, St Martin inside the Lagoon south from the bridge has been reported to be silted in and although it was rumored to have been dredged, nobody knew for sure. What with the huge variations in boats draft relying on previous boat's success is not all that reassuring. So I anchored in Marigot Bay and took the dinghy under the bridge and down the channel with my boat hook "stick" and measured the actual depths and where the deepest parts of the channel were in relationship to the channel markers.
- - Additionally, I noticed boats anchoring south of the channel in an area on the chart where the depth was shown as less than 5 feet. "Sticking" the area showed an actual depth of 8 to 10 feet so I had a good uncrowded area to anchor as others avoided the area due to the charted depths.
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Old 06-07-2011, 08:22   #21
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Re: Lessons Learned after Running Aground ...

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Danforth anchor. Was quite surprised how well it held.

I also think running the prop in reverse blew some of the sand away. The water was pretty turbulent when in gear.

Never really noticed before, but boats are never completely still when in the water. When everything is suddenly still you know something's wrong.

Be careful running the engine when aground. As you noticed the prop wash stirs things up quite a bit and sand in your engine cooling intake can do more harm than the grounding...
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Old 06-07-2011, 10:12   #22
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Re: Lessons Learned after Running Aground ...

Would not use a dink for checking depth. I guess you could though. If you go SLOW when you are unsure of the depyh then you have a much better chance of bumping but being able to back off. Use charts and depth sounder.
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Old 06-07-2011, 10:18   #23
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Re: Lessons Learned after Running Aground ...

The best grounding I ever had happened in the middle of a spinnaker jibe, precisely at the moment the boat was vertical. We completed the jibe, the boat heeled back over, and off we went.
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Old 06-07-2011, 10:23   #24
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Re: Lessons Learned after Running Aground ...

Bash -
That's superb, wish I had been there.
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Old 06-07-2011, 10:44   #25
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Re: Lessons Learned after Running Aground ...

If one sails in Florida--particularly on the West Coast--one will go aground sooner or later and sometimes in places where one has previously passed without difficulty as channels do move around. While the tides are usually small enough that one could sit-out the tide change without difficulty, in some places where there is a lot of traffic--and particuarly power-boat traffic--there may be wakes capable of lifting one's yacht and then dropping her back down hard on the bottom risking damage to keel or rudder or driving her further onto the shoals.

In our case we carry a Fortress in a mesh laundry basket together with 10 feet of chain and 200 feet of plait in a cockpit locker. If needed, two of our fenders can be tied to either side of the basket which keeps it afloat and allows one to swim the anchor out astern, paying out rode as one goes, and finally dropping chain and anchor a suitable distance off. One only need hang on to the rope to haul oneself back to the boat. With this arrangement, I have been able to haul us off--back in the direction from which we came--without much difficulty. (We do carry dive gear and wet-suits aboard that make this prospect a little less daunting when the water is cold.)

I must say I have alway been surprised at the number of people that pass one bye without offering help. In the 19 years we've been cruising Florida I have only been offered help a few times and with only one exception, usually by commercial fishermen working older boats either alone or with one other crew. These guys invariably refuse any payment and simply wish us better luck as the head off.

For our part we usually offer help but with our draft (6.5') and difficulty menauvering in narrow channels, we usually can't get close enough to a stranded boat although we've sometimes managed to get a heaving line over to someone to retrieve a towing line, or stood by until we know help is one the way.

FWIW...
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Old 06-07-2011, 14:38   #26
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Re: Lessons Learned after Running Aground ...

I would double-down agree with rtbates about being very, very careful when using your engine/propeller to try to blow sand/bottom material away from your keel.
- - I got caught in a squall line microburst while anchored in Morgan's Bluff, Andros, Bahamas and was blown almost to the beach. The bottom there is "sugar sand" over slate or hard rock, so holding is marginal. Using two large anchors, a Fortress and a Bruce, and 8 hours of carefully kledging I got my boat back into deep water. However, I had to run the engine to assist in moving the boat as each wave lifted it off the bottom and deposited it back again.
- - When I was again in deep water and safely reanchored, I pulled the raw water impeller that I had just changed a month before and lo and behold - there was no/nada/none of the vanes left, just the round hub.
- - So if you have to use the engine and propeller, be prepared to take the raw water pump apart and inspect it before venturing on your way.

- - As to using a dinghy to check actual depths, if you have a light, small, shallow draft boat it really isn't needed as you can just jump over the side and hand push to boat back into deeper water.
- - But if you have a large, long boat getting stuck in a narrow channel is a nightmare as you cannot turn around very well and getting unstuck can get expensive. So confirming the depths and the actual course of the channel with the dinghy can prevent a rather unpleasant experience.
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Old 06-08-2011, 03:07   #27
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Re: Lessons learned after running aground...

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The first thing to learn is to get towing insurance. It's relatively cheap and gives you a lot of peace of mind. I've had it for about twenty years and luckily did not ever need it until the last few years where I've used it three times. Twice last year!! I like Towboat US.
Careful about salvages. Towing insurance does not cover salvage.
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Old 06-08-2011, 04:23   #28
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Re: Lessons Learned after Running Aground ...

One thing about going aground is that it can confirm that your depth finder is accurate..
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Old 06-08-2011, 06:27   #29
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Re: Lessons Learned after Running Aground ...

BoatUS has good articles in their website about the differences between towing and salvage and how to protect yourself from getting in trouble when all you need is a tow off a grounding. The key is to be very specific when discussing what your boat needs with the tow operator/agency. Scan the agreement to be sure you are not signing for something you did not agree to.
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Old 06-08-2011, 08:03   #30
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Re: Lessons Learned after Running Aground ...

My favorite going aground story is coming into Ft. Myers at 0300, we noticed a bunch of lights with a large commercial barge in front of us. We continued our merry way in the channel and bump- we are stuck. It was only then that we saw the "barge" was a dredging vessel and the channel we had taken 5 days before DIDN'T EXIST. They were dredging a new one and were filling in the old one. They had marked the detour with buoys- unlit plastic types the size of large pop bottles. Of course we flew right by them in the dark. After lots of pain and suffering, and two hours later, the wind blew our boat off and we sheepishly followed the unlit buoys into port.
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