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How do you tie up near the beach?

Posted: Mon Jul 18, 2016 11:25 am
by bobbob
There's probably a number of us that like to bring the Mac right close to shore for a day at the beach. I'm wondering what your technique is for doing so?

What I did this past weekend was the following:
- pull up to around 6 ft depth (stern facing the shore)
- drop anchor, raise motor and let the anchor line out until depth was 3 ft at the stern
- use both aft docking lines and a pair of 48" long earth augers in the water to pin the rear facing the shore (rather than left the boat drift around the anchor).

This worked well except it needed three people (one at the wheel, one at the bow letting out anchor line, one in the water to hold the aft docking line) and we also ran out of anchor line before getting the boat as close to shore as we would have liked....

The next time I'm going to try the following:
- get close to shore (3-4ft depth as measured from the stern) but with bow pointing towards shore (bow depth is shallower that way)
- one person stay at wheel, but shut off and raise motor to clear water
- second person jump in the water, grab the bow docking line
- let the boat naturally pivot around the bow until stern is facing shore (or close to it)
- pin the boat using bow docking line and 2 stern docking lines with 3 earth augers, and do not use the anchor at all.

Dunno how well that pivot maneuver will work but I did find it pretty easy to manipulate the boat standing in the water (even with the ballast full)

Any other ideas? Also, does anyone actually beach the bow of the boat? My concern (other than getting trapped on shore :) ) is the wave break action that close to shore makes for a less pleasant experience than if you are a little bit further out (say 10-15 feet from shore)


Re: How do you tie up near the beach?

Posted: Mon Jul 18, 2016 12:42 pm
by NiceAft
Are you attempting this on a river, lake, or a back bay off of the ocean :?:


Re: How do you tie up near the beach?

Posted: Mon Jul 18, 2016 12:52 pm
by bobbob
Lake Ontario beach - but I expect this would be applicable for any sandy beach where the surf is typically minimal (ie. not wide open ocean beach, and not river)

Re: How do you tie up near the beach?

Posted: Mon Jul 18, 2016 1:56 pm
by Sea Wind
We do it with two people and always go stern first, mostly on the Chesapeake Bay. Wife goes forward and drops anchor at my signal while I am backing up at the wheel (fins up). Main anchor is a Bruce with 25 feet of chain, rode is already cleated at 30 feet. I am at the wheel raising the engine as I back up until I turn it off, raise it a little more and go on the water with the stern anchor. It is also cleated at 30 feet, rest of rode is in a bag secured to the starboard stern rail. I walked it to the beach, set it and then play with the rodes to desired location/depth. Consider tides so that you can pull the boat forward if needed.

Re: How do you tie up near the beach?

Posted: Mon Jul 18, 2016 3:34 pm
by sailboatmike
This video by Boat US may help

Re: How do you tie up near the beach?

Posted: Mon Jul 18, 2016 6:31 pm
by bobbob
Great video, I like that technique a lot. Bringing the anchor back to the stern makes a lot of sense - makes it very easy to turn the boat around.

Re: How do you tie up near the beach?

Posted: Mon Jul 18, 2016 6:56 pm
by Retcoastie
I normally single hand so I have worked out a procedure that allows stern beach access with out getting wet above my knees, generally. I have two bow anchors on. The beaching anchor is a claw with 6-7 ft of very heavy chain, 1/2 inch or larger. While approaching the target area but still out in the open water, I open the anchor locker and run the rode back to and around the starboard winch tightly. Next, I lower the claw into the water and let it hang off the roller with the chain down about a foot or so, on the winch rode. I return to the cockpit and the wheel and commence my approach, kind of a letter C track, slowly. At some distance, depending on depth, I release the anchor rode, but keep it around the winch and allow the anchor to drop. After playing out about as much rode as I think will leave me about two boat lengths from shore I snug the rode around the winch again and let forward motion set the anchor behind me. If it fails to set, I'm near the bottom of my letter C figure so I just keep going around and make another pass. If the anchor grabs it will tend to try to stop the bow causing the boat to yaw severely. This action allows the boat stern to continue around toward the beach. I quickly kill the engine and raise it. If I have judged my anchor rode length properly, the stern will come to rest just as the swim ladder touches the beach as it is lowered. (Rarely, but more often then you might think). If I'm long on the rode the stern will actually hit the beach and I can just step right off onto the beach, (Generally). If I'm short on the rode I have to step off into deeper water than I desire. (Rarely and then mostly less than knee deep). I take a danforth beach anchor with me and plant it securely and tightly to hold the stern to the beach. After I have removed what I will need, I reset the danforth and allow slack rode to swing her away from the shore. If necessary, I readjust the rodes so she rides off the beach but very close. The C approach has never fouled the rode in the engine.

Re: How do you tie up near the beach?

Posted: Mon Jul 18, 2016 7:52 pm
by Starscream
I used to be overly careful on beach approaches. I was worried about getting stuck, or hitting the prop, and a bunch of other things. After a few years with the boat I have a much better appreciation for how flexible the boat is, and how easy it is to beach.

Now if there is little wave action, I drop a stern anchor on 100 ft. of rode while about 50 ft from the beach with the boards up and coasting slowly in. Then I just let the beach stop the boat. You should know your beach, of course.

On an unfamiliar beach I'll approach slowly and when I can see the bottom is about 2' deep I'll raise the motor and drift until I can just get off the back. Usually the water is so shallow I can't even put the stern ladder down so sometimes I have to hop off from the other side of the motor. A good pair of water-shoes is important to protect the feet. Once I'm in the water I'll manually place a bow anchor and a stern anchor to keep the boat where I want it. Water has to be in the high 60s or above, and lower than crotch level.

That transition from being ON the boat to being IN the water walking beside the boat is sometimes a psychologically difficult one. Why get OFF a perfectly good boat? Into water? But once you take the plunge it's easy. Don't try this in gusty wind because the boat can take off on you real fast, and it cn be very hard to stop.

Once we were approaching Oka Beach north of Montreal and I was on the lookout for the bottom, as usual, but the water was really murky. The depthfinder was registering about 2' for the last 200 yards or so, but I couldn't bring myself to get off because I couldn't SEE the bottom. After many minutes of trying to make visual contact with the bottom to confirm depth, I looked up into the eyes of an older couple who were standing in knee deep water about 15 feet to starboard. They had walked over to have a look at the boat and I didn't notice them coming because they actually came from the rear quarter, walking back towards the beach to catch up to us. I jumped off right away and walked the boat in to the shore. They didn't laugh, at least not on the outside.

Beaching is easier without ballast. It's easier to get the boat unstuck if it grounds. We have been pretty hard aground a few times, but have always been able to push or pull it off with ease. Once we had the ballast in, and the boat was pushed hard aground by the wind. That was a bit of a challenge, and we had to wrap the stern anchor rode around the winch to get of off the bottom and into deeper water. By deeper, I mean over 12" :D


In this photo, the boat is nose up on the beach. I don't think we even had a stern anchor out.

Re: How do you tie up near the beach?

Posted: Mon Jul 18, 2016 8:39 pm
by bobbob
Thanks guys. I do like the idea of dropping and setting the bow anchor while moving in a forward direction toward the beach, then letting the momentum of the boat set the anchor and turn the boat around. Once it's stopped turning, jump out, grab a stern line and pull into place.

It's basically the boat equivalent of an emergency brake "drift", which is probably insanely satisfying when you hit it just right! :D

Re: How do you tie up near the beach?

Posted: Tue Jul 19, 2016 4:17 pm
Anchors are strange. If you just throw out the anchor it will bite sooner or later, but at the beach you sort of want to make sure it's set before you back into the beach (in my opinion).

I toss it off the bow about 50 feet from shore (that's pretty close) and I continue to idle forward. If the hook bites the boat will start turning all by itself.

Once I have a bite i release the anchor so it can pay out and I idle backwards to the beach. - I raise the motor a few inches, lower the ladder, and have my long pole out because I try to get as shallow as I can. If I do it right I can walk right over the transom into knee high water with my stern line and tie off. Then I just cinch up the bow anchor line.

Sometimes (and I mean that: SOMETIMES), it is easier to beach bow first if there is surf. BUT NOT ALWAYS - it depends on the bottom conditions

I have beached in 2 foot waves many times and I can tell you it's a very very very scary thing to do. Closest ever got to getting killed on a sailboat was beaching in two foot surf bow first. The boat came right down on top of me and pinned me to the bottom.

Stern to beach is dangerous for the boat - bow to beach is dangerous for the people beaching the boat!

Re: How do you tie up near the beach?

Posted: Tue Jul 19, 2016 6:29 pm
by Erik Hardtle
Like this:


click for more pics...

Re: How do you tie up near the beach?

Posted: Tue Jul 19, 2016 7:23 pm
by bobbob
BOAT, I hear what your saying, but for me if there was significant wave action I just wouldn't be trying to anchor near shore. Too much hassle and too little fun. Luckily our beach is shallow for quite a ways out.

Re: How do you tie up near the beach?

Posted: Tue Jul 19, 2016 9:12 pm
by Sumner
If the beach is good and I'm on a lake (no tides) I beach the boat every chance I get. On our recent trip to Flaming Gorge we anchored the first 3 nights, but the second night the boat floated around and the rode got wrapped around some underwater bushes and it was a real mess getting the rode untangled. Anchored out the next night also.....


... but every night after that we beached the boat (9 nights). Some times like above the shallow water prohibited getting the bow of the boat to the shoreline completely, but still it was better than swinging around on anchor and having the rode tangle on underwater bushes that were prevalent on the lake.


We would tie the bow off if possible to a tree or rock and if that wasn't available we would set one of the two anchors ashore in the ground. That worked good and is what we did above. I also like to be able to tie the stern off with two lines, one on each side, so that the boat doesn't get blown around on wind shifts. We have two 200 foot 3/8 inch 3 twist and one 200 foot 1/2 inch anchor line that we keep in 'stuff bags' and use when doing this.... ... 50_001_506

We have a lot invested in shore lines, anchors and anchor rodes but feel they are one of the most important items we have for safety and all together they probably are about the same as a dozen nights staying in a marina.


I found on the last trip that both of us were able to get on and off the boat using the 25# Manson Supreme as a step. Still a couple times I used it on shore so want to make a bow ladder that can be hung on the anchor rollers.

By tying off bow to the shore there has always been enough water to run the outboard to back off, but usually have to wait a bit before getting the rudder down. I just love how versatile the Mac is. Not many boats can do all they can do,


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