This may sound obvious but it's not always obvious to captains with shallower draft
boats. What's marked as the depth
on a chart, particularly in shallower areas, is of variable accuracy. For example, much of the east coast
, outside of main shipping
channels and very high traffic areas, has not been surveyed since before WWII. Here in the Chesapeake, it's not at all unusual to run aground in a 6' draft boat in water
charted to be 10-12'. Sometimes it's just a "hump" and other times it's just flat out erroneous information. The same issue can be worse in sandy ocean areas where shoaling is accelerated.
So, if you're going with deeper draft boats, leave a comfortable margin for error for them, particularly around shoals and reef areas. I would not venture into water
under @15' at cruising speed unless you have prior experience with it, local info, or some other confirmation that it's accurate/passable. Thinking you're good to go in anything marked as 8' could lead to problems. Of course in the Bahamas
, with so much skinny water, you have to live with the risk if you want to get into many places.