January 2012

Kedging off

Stuck? An anchor can set you free

When you go aground, first ensure your crew and boat are sound. Then determine what’s underneath the boat. If you’re on rocks and didn’t hole your boat, you might if you try to move it. Calling a professional may be your best bet. On a soft bottom, however, you can try to free your boat by kedging off.

Kedging means setting an anchor in deeper water and pulling the boat toward it, either mechanically or by hand. A winch or windlass makes this maneuver easier.

The anchor may be floated out on life preservers, carried out by wading or taken in a dinghy. When using a dinghy, wear PFDs, make the bitter end fast to the stranded vessel and put the rode in the dinghy. Pay out the rode while moving into deeper water to set the anchor.

Before kedging, determine which part of the boat would be easiest to free and where the deeper water lies. If the bow is grounded on the edge of a shoal, kedging to the opposite side of the bow can swing the bow around and free it from the bottom.

If the bow is grounded head on, kedging off the stern while attempting to back the boat by applying slow, steady power might help as long as you’re sure your propeller and rudder can move freely. Try applying power and rocking the boat while pulling on the rode. Just make sure the rode doesn’t foul the prop.

On a sailboat, you can rig a line from high on the mast to an anchor set off the beam. (A spinnaker halyard’s swivel fitting works well for this.) Pulling from a high spot may tip the boat enough to free it from the bottom. Just don’t put too much strain on the line; you don’t want to damage the rigging or jam the block at the masthead.

If all else fails, call for professional help to free your boat safely.

To learn more about boat handling and dealing with adverse conditions, take the Powerboat Handling seminar or the Seamanship course at a squadron near you.



Keep your windshield clear with this USPS ice scraper!

Mastering Marlinespike

Short splice

Splicing is an art, and the final appearance is your reward. Done correctly, the short splice is aesthetically pleasing and strong.


Archive | USPS | The Ensign | Privacy Policy | Subscribe to USPS Compass

Facebook badge  Find us on Facebook | Twitter badge  Follow us on Twitter | WordPress logo  Read the USPS Stargazer blog

ISSN 1946-1313 © 2013 United States Power Squadrons. All rights reserved.

1504 Blue Ridge Road • Raleigh, NC 27607 • 888-367-8777

Boating is fun ... we’ll show you how!

Visit USPS Compass Online Visit United States Power Squadrons online