As any boater knows, shallow waters are a recipe for disaster. If your boat gets stuck, you could experience damages to the vessel or even injuries to you and your passengers. We’ve compiled some tips to help you avoid the pitfalls of boating in shallow waters.
Inspect the Water Depth
A simple way to get an idea of the water depth is to perform a visual inspection while wearing polarized sunglasses. The water’s surface will appear to be different shades of blue. Darker colors often signify deeper waters. However, this is not a 100 percent accurate method, so keep a depth finder on board. You can also consult charts of the surrounding areas to check for water depth, allowing you to avoid shallow areas.
Check the Tides
As tides change, you may find that certain areas are sometimes significantly shallower than they were a few days ago—or even yesterday. These depth differences can extend up to a few feet, which could be the difference between safe traveling and getting stuck. The risk of getting stuck while the tide is low is even greater as you shove off. Ensure that you’re familiar with tidal patterns in the areas you frequent.
Study Your Boat’s Draft
A boat’s draft is the portion that rides underwater, measured in inches from the lowest part of the vessel up to the waterline. This information is found in the owner manual, but you can also calculate a rough estimate by dividing the length of the boat (from bow to stern at the waterline) by two. Knowing the draft of your boat helps you determine depths in which your boat can safely travel.
Consider the Planing Hull
A planing hull is one that rises up out of the water when your boat reaches “on-plane” speed. This may give you some more shallow water clearance. However, you could find yourself in trouble if you slow down in a shallow area. Once the hull drops back down, there’s a chance of getting stuck. Be aware of shallow areas if your boat has a significant planing hull.
If you do find trouble in shallow waters, you boat insurance policy can come in handy!
Are you covered? Call Voyager Insurance Services at (800) 342-4444 for more information on Dallas boat insurance.