Drop it Like it’s Hot! – Anchoring Tips Every Boater Should Know

You’ve reached your destination and are ready to take it all in. Dropping anchor can lead to anxiety for some boaters, but if you only travel from marina to marina because you are unsure or nervous about anchoring, you may be missing out on some of the best experiences boating has to offer.


Follow these few tips to safely use your boats anchor:

  1. Safety first! Know your boat and how it works. Not all anchors were created equal.
  2. Know your ground tackle. Be aware of what type of floor your anchor is suited for. Some anchors penetrate grass easily while others are better for rocks. Know your most frequented areas.
  3. Like a car, carry a spare. You never know when you might get into a jam. Be prepared.
  4. Know your SCOPE. That’s how much line you need to let out. At a minimum a 3:1 ratio (3ft rode to 1 ft of water) can keep you secure. However 5:1 and 7:1 ratio is ideal for most common conditions and depths.
  5. Be aware of your rode markers. They can help you to know how much rope you’ve let out or not.
  6. Pick a suitable “line”. Chains are good for low angle holds, while Nylon Snubbers allow for a bit of stretch and elasticity. One big drawback is the nylon rope though durable doesn’t help the anchor shank to align parallel to the floor as it should at times. Some boaters overcome this hurdle by attaching a bit of chain to the anchor and rope to compensate.
  7. If you use a chain/nylon combo, remember to use correctly sized and seized shackles to bind them together.  Some boaters also use swivel shackles to compensate for twisting.
  8. Have a plan and know your conditions. If you are unfamiliar with you surroundings, ask for advice before you set out.
  9. Know your tides. This can be critical to how your boat is oriented after anchoring.
  10. Keep a keen eye on the weather.
  11. Avoid ship wrecks and other unnatural floor conditions.
  12. Avoid choral reefs. They are indeed living creatures that can be permanently damaged or even killed by poor anchorage.
  13. Don’t anchor in tight, crowded areas.
  14. Maneuver your boat to face the wind before setting anchor. Otherwise your boat could come free because ot twisting and reorientation.
  15. Keep your eye on the shore or any non moving object. This is a clear indicator to if an anchor has set correctly or not.
  16. If at first you don’t succeed try, try again. Made a bad set? Keep trying. Some times a takes a few throws to achieve a good set. Also, allowing some slack upon throwing your anchor can help a lot.
  17. When removing your anchor from it’s set position, communicate with your captain and remove you anchor snubber. Then proceed to use your snubber in tandem . with you captain. Slowly move the vessel towards the anchor point and release the anchor from its underwater grounding.
  18. Finally always secure your anchor after use. An unsecured anchor can be dangerous on a boat. Especially under bad weather conditions. Secure your anchor appropriately before setting off to your next destination.

Don’t forget, practice makes perfect. Safe boating!

For more on anchoring from Soundings Online, click here.

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