When there is insufficient depth of water for a vessel to float, running aground occurs. Sometimes, this happens intentionally, as during a cargo landing, but in most cases, it occurs due to incorrect information about water depths, operator error, or changes in the bottom structure.
Preventing a vessel from running aground is a fundamental operator responsibility. By doing so, ship groundings and accidents will be prevented. Safe boating practices include following these tips to avoid running aground:
In the event of a grounding, following proper procedures can significantly reduce the amount of damage to the boat and the number of fatalities.
First, stop the engine immediately to assess and inspect the situation. Identify any injury or property damage. If injuries are present, contact the authorities to report them. If no one is hurt, check the boat’s hull. Check for structural damage like cracks and leaks.
In cases where the boat’s hull is severely damaged, always remain in shallow water. Going back to deeper areas will only do more harm than good. Returning to the open water might require you to reverse off from where you are grounded.
Another step is to try pushing off. This step is an alternative if reversing the boat does not work. Turn the engine off and lift your outboard engine out of the water. Spare paddles may be used to push off the bottom. A kedge anchor may work wonders if the boat cannot be backed away. It is a small anchor used to haul a grounded boat off from where it has run aground. For best outcomes, PFDs may be used in conjunction with kedge anchors.