In the tidal flats of Charlotte Harbor, as well as the Peace and Myakka Rivers, there are plenty of opportunities to run aground. During these winter low tides, we are particularly vulnerable as the shoals sticking up out of the water clearly show. Fortunately, most of the bottoms are soft sand or muck, so grounding is normally more of a nuisance than a danger. When you do run aground, knowing what to do and acting quickly can reduce your inconvenience to a matter of minutes. Not knowing what to do can leave you stranded for hours, and possibly destroy your water pump.
If you run aground, immediately make sure nobody is injured, and get life jackets on all persons aboard. Then, proceed directly to make certain there is no hull damage. A cracked or punctured hull is bad news. It’s best to remain aground while you make emergency repairs or call for help.
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