What Should You Do When Your Boat Goes Aground?

Last Updated on March 9, 2021

There are difficult situations you might find yourself in when you are out in the water. Among those situations, one is your boat going aground.

That means your boat might get stuck in rocks, sand, or even mud. These situations are sticky and hard to get out of, so you will need a few tips and tricks which will help you get out without much problem.

And this guide can help you with that; for in this post, we are going to tell you what you should do when your boat goes aground.

What You Need to Do

Here’s what you need to do if your boat goes aground.

Step 1: Assess the Situation

First of all, if your boat is aground, then you should not be wasting any time. The longer you’re there, the more difficult it might become to get out of the mess.

So, you have to think and work fast to make the whole process a lot quicker and painless.

Therefore, when people tend to get aground, and they use the motor, the chances are that a lot of sand and silt will be sucked in.

This might be a bit of a problem. You have to make an account for all the cracks and nooks to make sure no real damage has been done to the boat in the situation. The engine might heat up.

Sometimes the silts might get trapped, and they clog the passes or even the heat exchanger. You will have to clean those up if the situation arises.

While you are making assessments, you have to check the bottom of the boat to make sure there are no rocks at the bottom as that might cause some severe damage to the boat. If for some reason you are unable to see what is underneath, try using the boat anchor to scoop out the content and check it.

Step 2: Make an Account of the Damages

Afterward, you have to make an account of all the damage that your boat has gone through. See if the hull of the boat is intact or not; check specifically for any leaks, as that will get you under the water very fast.

The weather is also something that has to be kept in mind, as it determines a lot of things, and it can also make or break the situation depending on how it is. Weather is something you have to keep in mind, as it will determine how much time you have to get out of this situation.


If there is a storm coming in, then you will have even less time to get the boat out of the rocks, sand, or mud. The weather will also have an impact on the condition of the water, and therefore the current as well.

While we are still on the topic of assessment, the tide is also something you have to be on the lookout for because a rising tide is what will help you escape the situation you are in. Sometimes getting the update on the tide is not possible from the weather channel as the local conditions might differ.

Step 3: Weigh the Risks

Weighing your risk is a very important task here, as this will help you determine the route you will have to take to maneuver yourself out of the mess.

There are some tactics and methods you can employ, which will help get the boat out on the ground But you also have to consider which of these options will have the least risk. You will be able to choose the option based on the risk.

The depth of the water is something to think of when weighing your options, as the depth will have a significant impact on your situation. It will also help to analyze the situation and pick the route out for you.

Methods You Can Employ To Get the Boat Out

Here are the methods you can apply to get out of the tricky situation.

Wiggle the Boat Out

One way for you to get the boat out would be to wiggle the boat. This might sound a bit funny, but in many circumstances, we can wiggle our way out when we are stuck. If your boat has two engines, then there is a much higher chance of this method working out.

Power surging the engine one by one will help with the wiggling action; this will help get a release from any suction from the sand. In case you have a boat with one engine, the rubber has to be moved back and forth to replicate the same motion.

Shut Down the Power

At times powering off the engines may help you out of the situation faster than any other method would be able to. If you can forward the rubber hard in the deep water, then your engine will have to turn the bow, which will stop the boat.

Shut Down the Power

The sudden power surge might be just what you need to get out. However, there is a chance that the situation might become worse if the boat somehow falls to the side. So, you have to weigh the probability of the bad happening.

Drop the Added Weight

Another tactic you could use if the other methods don’t work is – shedding the weight. You could tell the people to get off the boat where it is safe to stand. You could also take off the water tanks and the bags if they add more weight to the boat.

By doing so, there will be some elevation which might be just what you need to get the boat out.

Drop the Heavy Anchor

Dropping the anchor might be something you will be forced to do if you see you are approaching even shallower water. The anchor weighs a lot, and that might be something that needs to be released to get the elevation you need to navigate through this.

At times this method might prove to be counterproductive, but the situation might be such where you wouldn’t have much of a choice.


Based on the condition of you and the people in the situation with you, a decision has to be made. All the tactics mentioned can be of good use, but you have to see which would be the best for you to employ.

We have published a lot of guides on the site, all of them are about boats. Here are some of them: