If a boat is hard aground on the beach, you may have to wait until the tide turns and gets high enough to float you off the beach.
However, if you are only slightly beached, you may be able to push your boat into the water or use your engines to power it off the beach.
It’s easy to get a boat beached that it becomes more challenging to float it again. If you beach your boat at high tide, you may not realize that the water will move from under it until it’s too late.
It’s easy to get preoccupied when you are enjoying the sun and sand, but you need to watch your boat, or your three-hour tour may get very long, indeed.
So the first thing to try when you realize you are beached is to try to push your boat into the water. If that fails, power up your motors, tilt them up, and try to pull your boat into the water with their power.
How to Get a Beached Boat Back in the Water
You can try pushing a beached boat or use your engines by tilting them upward while putting as much weight in the back of the boat as possible. You can also take an anchor offshore. You can also hail another boat and have them try to get your boat floating again by pulling you into the water.
Pushing Your Boat Off the Beach
If you have a small boat, you can push it from the beach. Boats under 18 feet don’t weigh as much as larger boats, and a couple of people should be able to get it from the beach to water deep enough to float it.
If the motor and stern (rear) of the boat is still in the water, adding your weight and that of another, you may be able to get the bow (front) of the boat dislodged.
If your motor is still in the water, using it and the added weight may do the trick.
However, be careful not to add so much weight in the stern that water pours in, or you will have a new problem, and it will make being beached look like the better of two options.
You can use the same method to dislodge larger boats from the beach.
Fire up your engine(s), tilt them slightly upward, and move some weight to the stern. Put the motor in reverse, and you may get lucky.
Pulling your Boat Off the Beach
When all else fails, hail another boater, call Sea Tow or wait for the tide to come in if you are on tidal waters.
If you’re in a lake and get beached, you can hopefully get yourself pried-free before sundown.
Another boat may be able to lend a hand by throwing you a line and pulling you off of the beach. It doesn’t take a big boat to pull a larger one.
However, it may take a combination of techniques to dislodge your boat from the beach.
Kedging your Boat from the Beach
Kedging is the practice of taking an anchor offshore and pulling your boat to it with the anchor line.
If you have a large enough anchor and a bottom into which it can bite, kedging may get you off the beach.
Floating your Boat from the Beach
If your boat is beached because the tide has gone out and you’re hard aground, you may need to wait a while unless you can push or power your way into deep enough water to float your boat.
Proceed with Caution with a Beached Boat!
Not all beaches are the same, as some are gravelly, and others are sandy.
Of course, your boat can get beached as easily on one as the other, but a gravelly or rocky beach can do even more damage to your boat’s finish.
If you have arrived on the beach because the tide has gone out, the best course of action may be to sit tight and wait for its return.
If you have plenty of water and food, that is a viable option. If you don’t, you’ll need urgent help.
It is best to barely nudge the bow onto the beach when beaching a boat on purpose. To hold it in place, set an anchor off the stern and secure the bow to an anchor pulled ashore or a stationary object.
Frequently Asked Questions about How to Get a Beached Boat Back in the Water
How do I get my beached sailboat back in the water?
You can push small boats into the water, or you can use a special dolly or rollers to get them from the beach to the water.
Can beaching a boat damage it?
Sand can scratch your boat’s finish, and a gravel beach can do more than scratch it.
Is there a proper way of beaching a boat?
There sure is, and it is best not to run your boat all the way up on the sand but to keep it barely floating or anchored offshore. It is illegal to beach your boat in some areas.
How to Get a Beached Boat Back in the Water
A boat can end up on the beach for many reasons. Whether on purpose or accidentally is irrelevant when the sun gets close to the horizon.
Knowing how to get your boat off the beach needs to be part of every boater’s knowledge base because it will happen.
Whether you run your boat onto an unmarked sandbar, beach it too hard, or have the tide fall beneath its keel, you need to know how to get it off the beach.
Depending on its level of stuck, it may be a problem, but it may not if you know what to do when it happens.