Having vehicle access to some of our beaches is one of the great privileges we are lucky enjoy to enjoy around the coast of Australia. But, as with any beach driving, the risk of become bogged is a very real possibility, but not one that should deter you from getting out there and enjoying the outdoors. The very first port of call is making sure you have deflated your tyres a sufficient amount to increase the surface area and engaged 4x4. If you find yourself stuck, here’s a couple of methods for performing a beach recovery, both solo and with a support vehicle.
Solo vehicle recovery
- Remove shovel from vehicle and begin shovelling sand from behind each of the 4 tyres being sure to pile the material out each side not behind the car. You want to make a long gradual slope out from the holes so the wheels are less likely to spin and dig in again.
- Check beneath the vehicle to see if the chassis is resting on the sand, if so dig away the sand until it is no longer touching.
- Remove any tools or bystanders from behind the vehicle.
- Jump back in the Vehicle, engage ‘low range’ if not already selected and put in first gear.
- Steadily accelerate while your passengers push, if you gain momentum, continue to accelerate out of the bog, don’t stop until you have reached a more compact area.
- If your wheels continued to spin and you didn’t get out of the bog, chances are the weight of the vehicle is still being supported by the sand on the chassis. Check once again and remove more sand where required.
- Remove recovery tracks from the vehicle and use the smooth scalloped end as a shovel to clear the mounded sand away from all the tyres in the direction you are wishing to travel. Try to move as much material as possible to decrease the slope angle out of the bog.
- Insert either 2 or 4 tracks depending on the severity of the bog. If using 2, place the tracks in front of the 2 wheels in the direction of travel with the teeth side facing up. Ensure the tracks are pushed as far under the wheel as possible and that any unsupported areas under the tracks are filled with sand to avoid them being damaged or distorted by the weight of the vehicle.
- Place recovery track leashes out to the side so they don’t become buried by the vehicle and so the tracks are easily located, and recovered, once the vehicle is freed. If your tracks don’t have leashes some brightly coloured rope or straps will do the job.
- Clear bystanders from the immediate area.
- Engage low range 4x4, and very slowly accelerate in the direction you have placed the tracks. Once the tyres gain traction, the vehicle should begin to slowly drive out from the bog. The driver can then smoothly increase their acceleration once they have gained some momentum.
- Continue to drive the vehicle out of the hazardous area until you have reached a stable surface.
- Return to the bog and retrieve the recovery tracks by following the leashes into the sand if they have been are buried.
- Wash or dust off the tracks before returning to their storage location.
Note: Unless you’re lucky enough to get bogged close to a tree you going to have to make your own anchor point to hook up to the winch. You can products such as a ‘winch sand anchor’ or use your spare tyre. Keep in mind using a spare tyre is worst case scenario. Using spare tyre can damage the structural integrity of the wheel, particularly those without steel rims, so ensure it is inspected by a professional before it goes on the road.
Here is the correct method for using your spare tyre as an anchor point.
- Removing the spare tyre and take to in front of the vehicle about ¾ of your winch cables length away ensure you are directly in line with the vehicle.
- With a long-handled shovel dig a hole roughly 1.5 times bigger that of the tyre standing in an upright position both in width, height and length.
- Using a tree trunk protector strap thread one end through the centre of the rim and loop it around the bottom of the tyre.
- Place tyre in a standing position in the hole making sure the strap is still positioned around the bottom.
- Placing the two strap ends to the side, dig a ramped channel in line to the vehicle down to the half way between the centre of the rim and the bottom of the tyre. This is to take the angle off the strap once tension is made.
- Run your winch cable out and connect it to both end of the strap before laying them in the channel.
- Backfill and compact the whole area until it level with the surrounding area.
- Attach cable dampener to the centre of cable and remove all bystanders from the immediate area.
- Start the vehicle and tension the winch cable.
- Instead of letting the winch do all the work, engage low-range 4X4 if not already selected and slowly idle forward to take some of the strain off.
- Once free of the bog, disconnect the winch cable, dig up the spare tyre and strap, back you’re your hole, repack the vehicle and be on your way.
Support Vehicle Recovery
- Remove snatch straps from their storage location and attach to a rated towing point on the bogged vehicle. Run the strap out ensuring there is no kinks or twists in the strap.
- Reverse the recovery vehicle up to the other end of the strap and attach to a rated tow point or inside the tow hitch using the locking pin to secure it in place. DO NOT under any circumstances loop over a towball or use an unrated shackle to attach the strap.
- Attach a cable dampener to the middle of the snatch strap and move away all bystanders.
- Ensure recovery vehicle and bogged vehicle have direct communication.
- Engage both vehicles in low range 4x4 in not already, and allow 3-4m of slack strap for the recovery vehicle to gain some momentum before coming tight.
- The recovery driver should drive off in a steady and controlled fashion.
- As the strap springs tight, the bogged vehicle should steadily accelerate to assist being towed out of the bog
- Once both vehicles are clear of the hazard, stop and remove the strap, inspect for damage, clean and return to its stored area.