Friday, January 14, 2011

Driving on the Beach

Driving on the beach can be a great way to find new fishing grounds and enjoy quiet stretches of beach not frequented by others. There are several things you need to do before hitting the sand in pursuit of fish.

Unfortunately beach driving is a politically charged activity in many areas now. It's always a good idea to check local laws for restricted areas , speed limits and times of day when you are allowed to drive on the beach. In North Carolina one of the best resources for information about beach closures and regulations is IslandFreePress.org



It is generally not recommended to drive on the beach with 2 wheel drive vehicles or all wheel drive vehicles with low ground clearance. Trucks and SUV's with 4 wheel drive and adequate ground clearance are more suitable for driving in the sand. Taking a vehicle out on the beach that isn't capable of handling the sand is a good way to rack up an expensive towing bill.

The most important thing to remember is to let some air out of your tires. Airing all four tires on your vehicle down to 18-20 psi helps maintain traction in the sand. I recommend keeping a high quality tire gauge in your vehicle when you are headed to the beach. Another handy item to have is a 12 volt air compressor. This will allow you to inflate your tires after you are done driving on the beach.

Once you've let some air out of your tires it's time to hit the sand. It's a good idea to put your vehicle in four wheel drive before you go out onto the sand. Most of the time there will be tracks from other vehicles that you can follow , but if there aren't any drive on the packed sand close to the water. Avoid getting your vehicle in the water because saltwater is very corrosive. When you've reached your destination park in the middle of the beach , leaving enough room for others to get around you.

It's worth mentioning that driving in sand can cause a vehicle's transmission to overheat. For this reason it's always a good idea to check your transmission fluid and coolant before you go. Many people who regularly drive on the beach prefer vehicles with a towing package from the factory or an aftermarket transmission cooler.

When you drive on the beach pay close attention to any signs marking restricted areas and follow the posted speed limits , but most of all have fun.

Have a great weekend!

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