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Old 02-03-2022, 08:39 AM   #1
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Grounding Event

While leaving the boatyard where i had my 1000 hour service done,, I ran into very shallow water. Around 2 feet in depth. I powered through the mud bottom while trying to make a change in direction. I wasn't able to easily alter course. My guess is that the rudder was in mud and not responding. I finally got through the mud and continued on safer course. During the remaining ride back to my home port the steering seemed to feel bumpy as I turned the helm. I also feel a vibration at rpms above 2000. The drive shift seems to be vibrating. What would you recommend? Should I pull the boat out of the water and have the cutlass bearing checked and have the rudder and prop checked? Let me know what you think. Thanks!
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Old 02-03-2022, 08:45 AM   #2
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Yes.
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Old 02-03-2022, 08:45 AM   #3
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If I had gone through the situation you just described, I would have prop & rudder checked -- even if it meant pulling the boat. I would feel uncomfortable not knowing. Furthermore, I would want the steering to feel normal again...and I would want to make the vibration go away. If you have a diver buddy, it might be cheap enough to take a first look to see if it's simply rope or weed from the encounter wrapped around the shaft / rudder.
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Old 02-03-2022, 08:47 AM   #4
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Could be as simple as something around the shaft or prop.

But ya gotta look and see... underwater camera or diver or haul..... your choice.
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Old 02-03-2022, 09:01 AM   #5
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Great idea!
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Old 02-03-2022, 09:09 AM   #6
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As a backwater assistance tower and former slip dredger....I have fouled a prop hundreds of times as a result of having to go places, and do things with a boat a recreational boater would never dream of.....
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Old 02-03-2022, 09:25 AM   #7
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Probably mud on prop and rudder. Entire cooling system should be checked.
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Old 02-03-2022, 09:28 AM   #8
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Choices, I did monitor the engine temperature for 3 hours following this event.. It ran 170゚ which was normal. I felt that this was a sign that the cooling system had not been compromised. Your thoughts?
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Old 02-03-2022, 09:48 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Byekurman View Post
Choices, I did monitor the engine temperature for 3 hours following this event.. It ran 170゚ which was normal. I felt that this was a sign that the cooling system had not been compromised. Your thoughts?

The suggestion to check the cooling system was a good one. Even if your temp looks normal now, it might be a good idea to check the condition of the water pump impellers. Hopefully, they're in an easy spot for you to access!
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Old 02-03-2022, 09:49 AM   #10
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Should still check the strainers but if normal temps for 3 hours probably OK, might have self flushed...but may not be OK for full throttle ops.

You can check your impellers but i have never had an issue after one grounding.

One year, after a week of noticing more water in the bilge of the towboat than normal...I checked the water pump area (hard to see normally) ... it turned out all the sand after years has worn a 3/8 inch hole through the side of the bronze pump.

Granted it was a gasser but the impellor was fine as well as operating temps.
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Old 02-03-2022, 10:15 AM   #11
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Whenever there is a grounding, whether it is soft or hard, the boat should be pulled and inspected. I'll share with you two 'soft-grounding' stories.

1) A friend of mine is end running a marked sand bar. On the backside, it's a narrow unforgiving channel. Boats get impatient and start to run 2 -3 wide and push traffic out of the channel. You also need to follow the greens. If you follow the reds you cut a corner. My buddy softly goes aground in sand. Since it's a steep bank, he is able to reverse off of the bank and continue on his way. Since it was a soft "hissss" and no bangs or clunks, he thinks nothing of it. He has an Ipland Gypsy with a full protected prop and rudder with a sand shoe.

Leter that fall he hauls the boat. There was a rock or block (there used to be an old bridge in the area that was blown out in the hurricane of 1938. He ground his keel into the rock. This caused his keel to start absorbing water for the rest of the season. By the time he hauled it was too late. That winter he ended with massive reconstruction of his keel.

2) I was going down a river that has a narrow channel and also unforgiving (same river as the story above in a different spot). The area I'm in is full of rocks. The day mark is missing and I'm not paying attention. I go on the wrong side of where the day mark used to be. I hear a weird 'knock'. Just as I say "What was that noise", I slide to a stop. Prop is still spinning at 1,000 rpm, but I'm not moving. I kissed a rock on the way in, then found the only bit of sand/mud in that section of the river.

A marina neighbor passes by and gives me a soft tug. I proceed to the marina and have the boat hauled. There is a 1/2" knick in the Bronze prop. Shaft looks good when spen. No damage. I re-launch and spend the rest of the summer blissfully unaware.

That fall when the boat is hauled, I decide to have the knick in the prop fixed and the prop trued. While we're at it, I need a new dripless and I need to replace the cutlass bearing. Might as well send the shaft to be checked while we're at it.

Come to find out...The cutless bearing is trash, the shaft isn't true. It's borderline straightenable, but then they find the shaft key almost completely destroyed, the keyway wallowed out. To fix it, someone drilled and inserted two studs which were now acting like the 'new' shaft key.

Coupler, shaft, cutlass bearing and dripless all needed to be replaced. Now much of this was NOT a result of the soft grounding, however it did come to light as the result of it.

My opinion. ALWAYS haul and inspect after any grounding.
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Old 02-03-2022, 10:29 AM   #12
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Some cases of grounding damage are extreme and undetected...in my experience of grounding hundreds of times and pulling boats off all sorts of shallows.... most slow speed grounding in mud or soft sand result in slight damage or none at all...certainly nothing to panic over. Single screw protected props and rudders especially.

But yes..anything unusual in the grounding....speeds over slow cruise, sounds, sudden stop or lurching, or vibration...absolutely inspect....

As I posted before, if someone can get a look first before hauling and check for loose fittings (an important one is the prop nut cotter pin...have had that broken off by line entanglement)..... you may not need a haul till a scheduled one.
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Old 02-03-2022, 12:11 PM   #13
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My comment was directed at

1) clay mud impacted on prop blades or rudder. This stuff seldom falls off.

2) sand and small debris blocking cooling passages in coolant cooler, oil cooler, and tranny cooler. Usually won't show up under normal operation.

Where I am now we experience high impeller wear from sand in the intercoastal. Almost all is from push boats.
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