Know before you go how to put your boat up for a day of fun in the sun
by Capt. Ted Lund
Boating season is on the way, and what better way to kick things off then enjoying a day at the beach, on a sandbar or several nights camping on your vessel? Think you’ve got what it takes to safely put your boat within reach of the party zone? Knowing your boat as well as the area you’ll be playing in are key to making sure you have plenty of fun in the sun and don’t damage your vessel.
Know your surroundings
If you are planning on hauling the boat up, there are a couple of things you’ll want to consider. First, you need to check your local regulations and make sure that anchoring or beaching on a sandbar or island is legal in your area. You’ll also want to brush up on your tide tables. You don’t want to pull the nose out at high tide, only to leave you high and dry, waiting for the next tide eight hours later. You’ll also want to consider the wind and current direction when planning how you are going to anchor out or beach; you can use that to your advantage and get closer to your intended target.
To Beach or not to Beach
One of the best methods of securing your boat for a day on the sandbar or beach is with either a two- or three-point anchoring system; one of the best setups is to anchor with your bow facing out, then back your vessel in towards the beach or sandbar and secure a second and (optional) third anchor or line; this stern-too setup allows easy access to and from the beach as the stern is located in shallow water near shore. You also avoid the problem of marooning your boat when the tide falls out.
Sometimes, though Its not practical for you to anchor in a two or three point manner off the shore, so you decide to nose your bow up to the beach. You’ll want to look for a good hard sand bottom to gently nose your bow up on. Oyster shells can damage Gelcoat and fiberglass; soft mud can often present a problem as the hull and machinery can get sucked down into it. Seagrass beds are highly-sensitive environmental areas and beaching or grounding should be avoided at all cost.
Get the Word Out
If you’re going on an extended boating trip or camping outing, its a good idea to file a float plan. You’ll want to leave it with a friend or relative and include information such as when and where you are leaving from, a description of the boat, your final destination and expected route as well as when you are returning home. And don’t forget to call them to give them the all’s well! If you are unfamiliar with how to file one, visit http://www.uscgboating.org/safety/float_planning.aspx to download a pre-printed form from the U.S. Coast Guard.
Original Source: Sportsmans Lifestyle.com