Grounded...Plan B

Melvyn Brown
Mon 18 Oct 2010 00:32
40:06.4N 74:03.1W

Only moments after leaving Bay Head marina it became apparent the depth of the channel was going to be a real problem. The depth gauge was showing very little water beneath the boat - even though we were taking extreme care to navigate between the buoys indicating the approved channel. I had already abidcated responsibility for steering - and a good job too because soon after we ran aground on the sandy bottom. Melv checked the satellite navigation and - as he expected - we were in the channel, there just wasn't the expected depth. He tried everything to get the boat off the bottom and at one point he suggested I went to the bow (Kate Winslet style) to better distribute the weight (good job I'm not a sensitive soul isn't it?). When nothing else worked he opted to pump out the fresh water tank and that did it. We very gingerly turned the boat around and returned to the Bay Head marina where the owner, seeing Melv with the ropes, asked if we were heading off and we said, no, heading back actually.

It was apparent travelling further down this section of the ICW was out of the question and we would have to return to the Atlantic. The Marina owner suggested we waited for the tide and returned to the mouth of the inlet ready for an early start the next day, and that's what we did. We phoned ahead to the marina and the Manager started to give directions coming in from the sea, when I said we were actually coming the other way she said "but oh you can't be, you said the draft was 6ft.....". When we got there she told us her recommendation had always been not to attempt it if the boat needed more than 4ft - charts and buoys notwithstanding.