RUNNING AGROUND IS A COMMON OCCURRENCE AMONG BOATERS, THOUGH IT DOES NOT HAVE TO BE. THE BEST WAY TO PREVENT RUNNING AGROUND IS TO FOLLOW GENERAL SAFE BOATING GUIDELINES:
Obtain a nautical chart for new or unfamiliar waterways, or seek advice and knowledge from local marinas and boaters before heading out.
Keep a proper lookout; this includes keeping your eye out for shoals and sandbars.
Maintain a safe speed - a speed at which you can take necessary action to avoid grounding.
If you have no major structural damage, you may be able to pry yourself loose. Try shifting some weight to the opposite end of the boat, stop the engine, lift the outdrive, and try pushing off with paddles or oars.
IF YOU HAVE A DEPTH FINDER: SET YOUR FINDER TO SHALLOW-ALARM ALERT. CONTINUE TO MONITOR THE BOTTOM VISUALLY AND WITH THE DEPTH FINDER. LOOK FOR ANY MARKER BUOYS INDICATING SHALLOW WATERS.
SHOULD YOU GROUND YOUR BOAT, FOLLOW THESE TIPS:
Survey and assess the situation: Is anyone hurt?(Your passengers are your first priority.)
Is there damage to the hull? Look for leakage.
If you have serious damage or injuries, use distress signals to alert other boaters of your situation.
If you have suffered serious damage to the hull, then you should STAY put rather than venturing to deeper water. Flag down a fellow boater and secure a tow, if practical.
Back off; If you are not grounded too deeply, you may be able to reverse the vessel off the rocks, mud or sand. Shift weight away from the point of impact and push off.
If you are aground on a sandbar, you may be able to get on the bar, lift the bow or raise the motor and push the boat to deeper water.
Surprisingly, most accidents occur during calm, clear weather with light winds.