Sunday, March 16, 2008

How to anchor a boat

Anchoring a boat is not quite as simple as chucking the anchor over the side of the boat and tying it off, but with some simple tips to remember it doesn't have to be a nightmare either.

1. Choose the correct type of anchor
It is very important to select the correct anchor for the conditions and bottom structure you plan on anchoring in. There are many types of anchors and each is used in different conditions.

Danforth anchor

Danforth anchors have a very good holding power in very soft mud, conditions. Not suitable for reef anchoring.

Grapnel (reef) anchor
This anchors are used for reef, rock and wreck bottoms. They are designed to hook onto the coral and rock. It is quite possible for this anchor to find such a good hook that it is impossible to retrieve.

Mushroom Anchor
Designed to bury in the soft bottom and provide very strong holding power. Not suitable for strong current or reef anchoring.

CQR / Plough Anchor
A solid all round anchor that is suitable for almost all bottom types, but should not replace a specific bottom anchor.

There are many other types of anchors available and you should research this area further before deciding on an anchor type.

2. Chain
A 1-2 meter length of chain should be attached to the anchor. This provides abrasion resistance and extra weight for holding power.

3. Secure the anchor
Make sure that anchor is tied to the boat you can see my earlier post for instructions on this here - how to attach a boat anchor

How to anchor a boat

  • Determine the depth and type of bottom you are anchoring on.
  • Put your bow into the wind or current (whichever is having the greatest affect on your boat), motor slowly to just beyond where you want your anchor to lie.
  • Don't just throw the anchor, but gently release it and let the rope feed through your hands (gloves are recommended for this) until you feel the slack in the line.
  • Once it hits the bottom let the rope out about 7 times the depth of the water (eg. if the water is 10 feet deep let out 70 feet of rope.).
  • Tie the anchor off securely and slowly reverse the boat to help set the anchor in the bottom.
  • Pick some landmarks and watch these carefully to ensure you are not drifting (most modern chartplotters have an alarm for this very event.)
Never anchor a boat by the stern as it has caused many boats to capsize and sink.


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