How To Beach Your Boat
And Leave Again

By Michael Vatalaro
Published: Summer 2013

Beaching, rather than anchoring, to swim or go ashore can be a great way to temporarily secure your boat, if you do it the right way.

In many parts of the country, boaters gather on beaches and sandbars to swim and socialize. Beaching your boat to take part seems simple enough to do, but in order to make sure your boat is A) still there when you're ready to go, and B) still able to float at that time, it's important to take a few precautions.

Know Your Bottom

While most of the popular spots have sandy bottoms because it's comfortable for swimming, some places have soft mud or muck bottoms that can trap a boat in place, particularly on a falling tide. Which brings us to Step 2.

Tip iconRemember every beach is different, and just because you've done this 100 times at your local sandy shore, it doesn't mean the one three miles downwind is the same. Stay alert to the terrain, waves, and weather, and act appropriately, including abandoning the plan and putting out an anchor, or moving on somewhere else if your gut and the elements say it's not safe.

Know Thy Tide Chart

There is no surer way to meet your local TowBoatUS captain than by running up on a beach at high tide. By the same token, an incoming tide can lift a securely beached boat and carry it off, if you're not paying attention. And just because you boat on a lake or river system, don't think you're off the hook. Sudden changes in wind direction can push water away from a shore, or pile it up with the same result. Pop-up thunderstorms strand boats every year on both tidal and non-tidal waters by quickly building up wind and wave action that drive boats ashore before their owners can move them to deeper water.

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