when pod drives run aground, their repair
costs are higher than any other type.
In many cases, pods are simply torn off
(they’re designed to break away, leaving
the boat sealed from the water to prevent
it from sinking after a major strike), but
they’re much more expensive to replace
than other types of propulsion.
So where do most of the groundings
occur? Michigan has the dubious honor
of coming in first place. There are a lot
of hard bottoms in Lake Michigan, and
boaters seem to run aground on them
regularly. This probably has a lot to do
with lake levels. Our study goes back
five years, when both Lake Michigan
and Lake Huron were 2 feet below
average, which of course meant that the
rocky bottom was 2 feet closer to a
It pays to check the water level in large
and small lakes before going out. That
goes for boaters in New York, too, who
have the second highest grounding rate.
Most New York groundings happen in
the ocean, which means a simple check
of the tide chart will let you know when
water levels are low.
Summertime is when boaters need to
be most wary, according to the statistics.
But spring (May) and fall (September)
are also busy months for groundings. In
spring, navigation skills may be a little
rusty, and in fall, complacency begins to
settle in. In the summer, obviously more
boaters are on the water, but also the sun
is high in the sky and can hide shallows
and ledges (and even some onboard displays), so be extra vigilant and slow down
if the sun is obscuring your view.
Analyzing statistics is helpful for
understanding how grounding claims
happen. The takeaway, though, is how
to avoid them. Knowing the waters (and
depths) you boat on, being vigilant with
depth sounders and other electronic aids,
and simply paying attention to where
you are – and slowing down if you don’t
know – is the best way to avoid a grounding and prevent yourself from becoming
There are many similarities between grounding and striking
submerged objects (SSO) when it comes to the damage they
cause. Visit BoatUS.com/Magazine to read about SSOs and find
out what to do if you hit something underwater.
SOURCE: BOATU.S. MARINE INSURANCE CLAIMS
Running aground by state
MI NY NJ FL MD
Running aground by month
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Running aground by drive type