With conservation foremost in your mind, avoiding reed beds, underwater grasses and shell beds is always suggested, but there are instances when you will need to go shallow.
Minimising the boat’s draft is one way of more easily negotiating shallow areas. Is this possible you ask, without throwing your girlfriend overboard? Let’s find out.
Knowledge is key
Having a good local knowledge of the area you are navigating is one way to ensure do don’t get stuck high and dry.
If you are negotiating a new shallow spot, cove, secluded beach or inlet, choose a day when the tide is running away from the shallow area you intend to try and reach. That way, if your hull does get caught up in shallow water, the movement of the tide will be inclined to push you back into deeper water.
You might lose some hull paint and sand down your prop slightly, but at least you’ll be able to free up the boat reasonably easily.
Simply lifting the motors will often free up the boat to drift into deeper water.
Check your angle
All boats operate differently in the water and how flat they lie in the water is important when negotiating shallow water. Sometimes, at a higher speed, the stern sits lower in the water and consequently this part of the boat, including the propellers are moved closer to any protuberances or sand banks underwater.
Case the joint
When you have visited your shallow area enough, you will be well versed in the layout of the sand banks and other shallow spots.
If you feel confident enough, you can put the boat on the plane (always consider safety first) as this is when the boat’s draft is the shallowest – on the plane.
Another option, if you recognise that the prop is hitting the sand, is to put the boat into a long even turn while on the plane.
The angle of the turn will bring the prop closer to the surface and often stop it striking the sand.