The best way to minimize damage from a grounding is, of course, NOT TO GROUND YOUR BOAT. Here are a few tips to help make the topic of grounding not apply to you....
- Know where you are - Sounds easy enough, but things happen. A weather front or fog comes through making it difficult to see. You decide to travel to new places. Many things can put your boat where it doesn't belong. Having an UP TO DATE chart and compass, a navigation system such as a GPS, and a good dose of common sense will help you avoid putting your boat on the ground.
- Be observant - Part of knowing where you are is to observe the waters that you are on. Do the buoys you just passed match the ones on the chart? Is the tide high or low? Does your crew know what to look for and what to avoid?
- Be smart - The key to avoiding any unpleasant situation in life is to be careful and to be prepared. When you are on your boat, always operate in a manner that is safe for the conditions you are encountering. If you are in a new area, slow down--it will give you time to orient yourself, and it will give you time to react. Best of all, hitting something at low speed is usually less painful than hitting something at high speed. Get as much information as you can about where you are going. What's the weather like? What are the water conditions? Will there be many boats on the water with you? Knowledge is power - and safety.