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Navigating Shallow Water by Pete McDonald

No one wants to run aground unexpectedly. Pete McDonald suggests nine tactics in a Boating magazine online article that use your senses or maneuvering techniques when you find yourself in skinny water. Keep these in mind and avoid getting caught or learn to work your way out if aground. Find the tips in full here.
  1. Read the water. Watch for ripples, breaking waves or a change in water color that can signal shallows. Darker water can indicate rocks, grass beds or mud flat.
  2. If you become really grounded, get out of the boat and physically rock it from side to side. Do not gun the engine in reverse.
  3. If you veer out of channel into shallow water, listing the boat to one side may help to kick the angle of the drive up an inch or two from bottom.
  4. Find a pothole or deeper stretch of water and do a “circle start” with trim tabs down and throttle gunned while turning hard over to bring the boat to plane on edge.
  5. Try trimming the engines as far as you can out of the water, to float off. Shift your crew and gear to the bow to offset engine weight.
  6. When in shallow water, try to keep going and stay on plane.
  7. When climbing onto plane, drop trim tabs down to lower the bow to keep the boat on a more level attitude.
  8. In rough conditions, look for an opportunity to ride across a crest to deeper water, using some of the aforementioned tactics.
  9. Learn how to read wind and current to avoid being pushed.