Riding through mud and water is awesome and your OHV is designed to do this (within it’s limits). Your owner’s manual will tell you exactly how deep your machine can go. If you approach a river and suspect that it may be too deep to cross, keep moving until you find a shallow spot and NEVER risk sinking your machine. It’s just not worth the mechanical damage. Amplify the thrill of riding by following these safety tips:
- Always look for a ford in streams and rivers (a shallow crossing area).
- Operate slowly and carefully to prevent spinning your tires and disturbing the waterway bottom.
- Look out for submerged rocks or other obstacles that may be in your path.
- Does it look deep? Then it probably is. Look for a shallower spot.
- Mud and water = slippery footrests. Careful.
- Avoid riding through streambeds, fish spawning grounds or areas where your machine may erode the banks. Do your best to leave no trace!
- Test your brakes when you get across to make sure they’re still working and that they weren’t damaged by the water.
- Avoid crossing frozen waterways at all costs. It’s way too risky. There’s no way to guarantee that the ice will be thick enough to support the weight of you and your machine.
RIDER SAFETY TIP: NO SCUBA
Waterway bottoms can change quickly and machines can easily become stuck in the mud. If you find you’re in too deep, don’t try to power through to get out. Instead, shut the machine down right away to prevent flooding it- unless your exhaust pipe is under water. If the exhaust is submerged, shutting down the machine can cause water to get sucked through the pipe and into the engine.
Haul your machine out of the water with the help of your friends (or use a winch). If the exhaust pipe is submerged, and the machine is still running, keep it in drive while you haul it out.
Don’t try to start it up again until the machine is on dry land, but remember- if the machine is off and the engine is flooded, don’t try to start it. At this point you’ll have to have it towed out, and taken in for service. Trying to start a flooded engine will make your engine completely unusable, and will likely destroy the engine. Don’t do it.