If all efforts to float the boat fail, and it’s clear it is firmly aground and will not break free with a rising tide, more aggressive action is called for. If the tide will fall to a level that leaves the boat heeled over on its side, carefully survey the bottom with the boat hook to ensure that no outcroppings will damage the hull. If you discover rocks or reefs, dunnage must be set in place for the bilge to rest upon. When it comes to protecting the hull, fender boards, life jackets, settee cushions and mattresses are all expendable. Sail bags filled with these items work well to cushion the boat. As the tide drops, make sure the boat isn’t balancing in an upright but precarious position; once the tide’s out, it could suddenly fall over, inflicting considerable damage and possibly injuring the crew. If aground with a steep drop-off to one side, ensure that the boat is positioned away from deep water. If, when the tide falls, the keel is left higher than the deck, the next incoming tide will down-fill the boat (Figure 4).