Toms Tips About Shallow Spots

By Tom Neale, 4/15/2010

1. When you don’t know where the deep water lies in a bad area and there’s no other way to find out, try exploring ahead in the dinghy if it’s safe to do so. (Obviously, don’t do this if weather, currents or other conditions make it unsafe.) Wear a life jacket.

2. Your dinghy should be stored so that it’s easy to launch, and it should have a depth finder. Swinging a sounding line or using a hand held depth finder isn’t practical and can even be dangerous when you’re operating the dinghy, communicating with the mother ship, trying to stay out of the way of other boats in the channel and trying to find deep water.

3. We power our dinghy depth finder with a small group U1 AGM battery which we keep in the dinghy. You can get these from West Marine and other areas and they are very handy in the dinghy and for other applications.

4. The person in the dinghy should know well how to handle it and how to exercise good seamanship, as is also true for the person remaining in the mother ship.

5. The person in the dinghy can communicate with the mother ship using a handheld VHF.

6. The person in the mothership should watch carefully where the dinghy is going and where it finds deep water. Depending on the circumstances, it may be appropriate for the dinghy to return to the mother ship after the exploration (as when the course through the deep water is found to be obvious), or it may be more helpful for the dinghy to lead the mother ship through.

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