Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Running Aground by Sail

Sailboats hit bottom, too. What can you do about it?

Yesterday we ran a very informative guest blog post from Vincent Pica (a District Captain with the USCG Auxiliary) about what to do when your boat runs aground. To paraphrase Vin, it's not a matter of if you'll run aground someday, but when.

Waiting for the tide to come in?
However, as our sailboat correspondent Sean McQuilken pointed out via a Facebook comment, Vin's tips were mostly powerboat-centric. Sailboats get beached, too. So, for those of you with sailboats, Sean offered these suggestions for when you run aground:

Attempt to heel your boat over to reduce its draft while attempting to power/ be towed off. A couple ways to do this are as follows…

1. Attach a halyard to the back end of your boom, have a few crew members with lifejackets on sit on the boom then ease the mainsheet and/or traveler so the boom is over the water.

2. Attempt to pull the mast over using a mast head halyard attached to a dinghy (or other powerboat if you don't have a dinghy with a motor on it). Try attaching an anchor to a masthead halyard and swimming it about a mast length from the boat, dropping it, and then winching the boat over using a halyard winch. Be VERY careful when doing this.

Of course all of these courses should be attempted with the utmost safety in mind, and life jackets should be worn by all, even in shallow water.