On the WaterPublished: Fall 2013
Time And Tide
The Rule of Twelfths can give you an idea of how much tidal range or current to expect during a given portion of the tide cycle. Fishermen love this because current and the bite go hand in hand. For semi-diurnal tides (six hours between high and low) the pattern is 1-2-3-3-2-1. That is, 1/12 of the total tidal range occurs in the first hour, 2/12 in the second and so on. In general, the strongest currents coincide with the largest water flow, which means the third and fourth hour after the tide turns. So if you had a 16-foot tide and it was the end of hour four, the current would be slowing and 9/12 of the water will have flowed. The water is now 12 feet above low, and high tide will be four feet above the current water level.
In The Weeds
If you get into shallow weed-infested water, your prop can get jumbled up with seaweed and limit your boat's handling performance. With the boat's forward motion stopped, engage the transmission into a power reverse, move back into forward, then back to reverse again. This helps release the vegetation from your prop.
Out Of Your Depth
If you have a spare depth sounder, put it to use. I have my second sounder's transducer mounted at the bow. The aft sounder is set to alarm at 10 to 25 feet depending on speed and waters. The forward sounder is set to alarm at 3 feet. The deep one signals a warning, and to slow down. The shallow one signals danger and reads 20 feet in front of my transom, alerting me before I drag my outdrive. Having two sounders saves the need to reset the alarm going from deep to shallow water.
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It's as simple as 1, 2, 3, 4. But there's a knack and order to getting it right.
You're putt-putting along pretty as you please, when suddenly your outboard dies. Major bummer!
After a great day on the water, now's not the time to mess things up.