When a vessel is grounded intentionally she is said to be beached. If she is grounded accidentally she is stranded. A vessel is usually beached when she is damaged to such an extent that the pumps are unable to cope with the rate of flooding. There is therefore always an interval of time, however short, during which the action of beaching can be considered. Even if an emergency exists, the beaching can still often be controlled, and hence the problem of re-floating the ship may resolve itself more easily than in the case of a stranded vessel. This is provided the person executing the manoeuvre selects his beach, and method of approach, with a view to subsequent re-floating. The wise seaman, however, will waste little time in considering such problems if danger of foundering is imminent.
A vessel which has stranded may be in contact with the ground at her bow, her stem, her mid-length, her entire length; or even all along one side, with the other side in deep water. Other shoals or rocks may exist close by, hampering the re-floating; currents and weather may be adverse and there may be unfavorable silting-up as a result of these elements; adverse weather may cause her to drive farther aground, and she may also be damaged. All these problems may cause the re-floating to be an extremely complicated operation calling for the use of ground tackle, or tugs, or dredging craft, or even lighters into which to discharge cargo, or perhaps the hauling power of large vessels. Any combination, or perhaps all, of these forms of assistance may be required.
Read More: SHIP HANDLING