Boating Tips

Boating Tips: Negotiating Shallow Water

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After a short 15 minute trip from the slipway to the nearby lagoon, we negotiated the turbulent mouth of the lagoon and headed for our favourite fishing spot. We anchored just off a sand
bar and were doing some light fishing while standing ankle deep in water on the sand bar.

Within a few minutes, we saw another boat heading our way and we all expected it to slow down. No such luck. The boat continued at speed and promptly hit the sand bar with a thud, well and truly beaching itself and its occupants. It would be an hour or two before the tide came back in and the boat was lifted free from its sandy prison.

Surely there were visual clues, such as four guys fishing ankle deep on a sand bar? Being able to read the water is imperative for boating safety, Leisure Boating finds out why.


Every boater worth his salt should be hyper vigilant at all times. It’s the only way to stay out of trouble and be alert for rocky outcrops, large objects floating in the water and sandbanks.

Reading the water is a skill that develops over time, but there are certain aspects that are quite obvious such as wind ripples over very shallow waters, small waves breaking in uncommon spots, current flows and colour changes in the water.


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