Don’t Run Aground! How to Maintain Proper Channel Alignment


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Failure to maintain proper channel alignment is one of the primary reasons boaters run aground.

Proper channel alignment requires you to watch the upcoming channel markers lined up with the marker just passed.

Imagine for a moment and think of a channel as a road.

You have red and green channel markers that set the road. There is a white line connecting those markers, just like the white lines that mark the side of the road. Now place an imaginary yellow line down the middle of the red and green channel markers to split the channel.

Let’s just say you are connecting red markers. Look over your right shoulder (behind you). If you see a red marker and when you look forward, you see another red marker and your prop wash is in a nice straight line, then chances are, you are exactly where you should be in the channel.

However, if you cannot see that red mark when looking over your right shoulder … and if you look over your left shoulder and see it, then you are now out of the channel and your prop wash is likely making “S” turns. If that is the scenario, safely maneuver the vessel back into the channel.

Remember:
· Maintain awareness of wind direction and speed.
· The slower the boat speed, the greater the wind effect.
· Always be aware of your surroundings.
· Looking over your right shoulder on a frequent basis will keep you inside the channel.

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