Backing off

When you run aground in mud going straight ahead, the first option is to try motoring off directly astern, following the groove you’ve just dug. However, if you’re well stuck, it’s worth knowing that most gearbox-propeller combinations don’t deliver so much oomph astern as they do ahead. If all seems lost, try putting the helm hard over and swivelling the boat by throwing water against the rudder with the engine full ahead. You may persuade her to swing far enough round to thrash off with full power, going the way she likes best.