What should you do if you run your boat aground? Although this might seem like a “novice” boater mistake, the truth is that even boaters with years and years of boating experience can get run aground by accident and often without warning. It helps every boater, regardless of experience, to review what to do when the boat is run aground.
Steps to take after your boat is run aground are:
- Check on everyone: First things first, check on everyone in your boat to ensure they have not been injured by the sudden impact or stop. Prepare to administer first aid if someone has been hurt. If there is a serious injury, then you should immediately call for emergency assistance, which can be done using your onboard radio or a smartphone if you have service.
- Look for a leak: After you’ve verified that everyone is okay, you need to verify that your boat is okay. Check for leaks on the bottom decks or holds. If there is a leak, then you have an entirely different situation on your hand, and you need to start following your emergency plan for bailing out water, plugging leaks, etc.
- Lift the outdrive: If no leak has been detected, then you should have plenty of time to get your boat loose from whatever you hit, be it a rock, sand, shoal, coral, flotsam, and so on. Start by turning off the engine and lifting the outdrive motor. Do not put the boat in reverse because this could make it worse or damage the motor.
- Shift your weight: Determine the point of your boat that is the most lodged into the obstruction. You need to get that point loose. Shifting as much weight away from that point can help, so instruct everyone to move to the opposite side. Move any equipment and gear that you can, too. Even a fully-loaded water cooler can make enough of a difference to keep your boat aground.
- Shove off: Use a paddle, boathook, or another pole to shove off from the obstruction if you can. Smaller vessels will be easier to loosen this way, so don’t overexert and hurt yourself if you have a larger boat that you cannot reasonably move manually. Sometimes the current will help you come loose as you maneuver the pole, so don’t give up right away, either.
- Call for help: If you are still run aground after following these steps, then you should call for assistance. Inform the coast guard or local responders if you are on a lake or river about your situation and be as specific as possible. Remain calm and await assistance, which might come in the form of a tugboat towing your vessel away from the obstruction.
Was your boat run aground in a boat accident that was not your fault? If you were on Lake Erie or another body of water in Ohio, then Murray & Murray can help you create a claim. Contact our firm today.