Top 60 Boating Tips by Boating Magazine

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


If Johnny Cash was asking that question, he'd reply "Six feet high and risin'". Your concern, most likely, is that the water depth is several feet deeper than the lowest portion of your vessel that extends below the surface of the water.

Like Murphy, there are a number of SafetyDoc's personal laws of physics that pertain to underwater objects:

1. Boat parts, such as keels and propellers, tend to gravitate toward underwater objects that hold great destructive power.

2. The damage caused by an underwater object is inversely proportional to the value of the part struck, times the difficulty of replacement. I can guarantee that if you had a five dollar plastic propeller, removable in thirty seconds or less, it would survive every grounding and last forever. However, your four hundred dollar propeller and eight hundred dollar stainless shaft, removable at great expense, won't survive the smallest sandbar unscathed.

3. Objects in the water have a destruction ratio equal to a sum of their mass times hull speed. Meaning, that the harder you strike the object, the greater the damage, unless you actually intended to sink your boat, in which case there will not even be a scratch on the running gear or the hull.

4. Sand bars only shift when you approach. They lie dormant until the moment your vessel approaches, and insidiously change position to snag your keel or running gear as you pass over.

5. Buoys marking shoals don't. The shoal is always located somewhere off the buoy, and their location authenticated by the crunching sound of fiberglass, or the metallic grinding of what was your propulsion gear.

Speaking of depths, some folks don't realize their depth finder transducer is located at the transom, stern, or at best, midships in the hull. Since the "sonar" signal basically radiates straight down in a cone shape, you're already over the obstacle when the depth finder reads too shallow for operation. I've heard that familiar depth alarm many times. Strangely, it sounds like Oh, S---!

Seriously, many groundings are simply embarrassing, while others can have tragic consequences. You've all heard the warnings not to dive into unknown waters. Same for boats, look before you go.

Safe Boating.

No comments: