Accidental grounding, familiarity breeds complacency

Ben Stein

Ben Stein

Publisher of, passionate marine electronics enthusiast, 100-ton USCG master.

4 Responses

  1. Jim says:

    Thanks Ben for your interesting article. I’d be interested to know from other readers if they have experience with the Panoptic. I’m in the process of ordering a boat and it is on my bucket list. I agree that it’s not a cruising aid (even at 9 knts) but I’m hoping that it will be valuable while setting the hook in unfamiliar waters (or to your point, even in familiar waters).

  2. Ray says:

    Simrad ForwardScan is a good idea. Also, Genesis Live on a smaller Simrad Go or Lowrance Ti would be a great tool on the dinghy. You can take the genesis live files off the card on the dinghy unit and pop it into the chart on board the big boat. You can use safety shading on the realtime contour map. This blog is helpful to explain Genesis Live –

  3. Evan Effa says:

    I’ve been looking at these charts and think I would have made the same assumptions….

    These charts are pretty awful in that they are not particularly obvious or intuitive or detailed enough for such an urban approach. In addition, they are not up to date or accurate.

    Unless I’m reading this incorrectly, you had ~3 ft of water above datum and the soundings for this shallow area are for ~ 4 feet of dredged depth. My elementary school arithmetic would tell me that you had 7 feet of water to work with and should have been fine to transit this area.

    My wife and I recently completed a 3 month trip to Alaska and were horrified to see some of the uncharted rocks in popular anchorages like Foggy Bay etc. It gave me new respect for how deficient the NOAA charts can be. One could certainly make a case for forward looking sonar when exploring unfamiliar waters – however ‘well charted’.


    • Ben Stein Ben Stein says:


      My arithmetic got me to the same conclusion. Unfortunately, the reality was different from the arithmetic. And this brings up the question of how to make the best of the situation. We cruise a lot, we want to be able to explore places cruise ships can’t go, and we have a 5′ draft with props low. I spend a lot of time trying to consult the resources available (charts, ActiveCaptain, Waterway Guide, and marina employees) but this time caught me off guard.

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