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I wanted to create a "harbor" for my boats, and I read that slabs will not damage the boat if I sail onto it. But when I tested it out, I instantly died the minute the boat touched the slab. How do I fix it?

Here is a picture:

enter image description here

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How much health did you have? Could it be you suffocated even just momentarily? Also consider using soul sand instead. – badp Feb 20 '12 at 0:08
Just another reason why I never use boats except when I absolutely have to. – Ender Feb 20 '12 at 5:21
I had full health. – Joe the Person Feb 20 '12 at 5:46

From the Minecraft Wiki page on Boats:

Running aground on slabs will inflict some amount of falling damage. The damage seems to be much worse the longer you've been in the boat. (Perhaps due to the bobbing motion at sea being counted as 'falling' distance, and cashing it all in at once). This bug is also triggered when exiting a boat while on Soul Sand.

So yes, this glitch may kill you, and unfortunately using other blocks like Soul Sand doesn't help the matter. All you can do is hope it gets fixed.

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"Perhaps due to the bobbing motion at sea being counted as 'falling' distance, and cashing it all in at once" -- That was the problem probably. – Joe the Person Feb 20 '12 at 5:46
up vote 2 down vote accepted

In Minecraft 1.7.3, this issue has been resolved MC-881

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