Anchoring is done for two principal reasons: first, to
stop for fishing, swimming, lunch, or an overnight stay and secondly, to
keep you from running aground in bad weather or as a result of engine
failure. Anchoring can be a simple task if you follow these guidelines:
Make sure you have the proper type of anchor (danforth/plow/mushroom).
A three to six foot length of galvanized chain
should be attached to the anchor. The chain will stand up to the
abrasion of sand, rock or mud on the bottom much better than a fiber
A suitable length of nylon anchor line should
be attached to the end of the chain (this combination is called the
"Rode"). The nylon will stretch under heavy strain cushioning the impact
of the waves or wind on the boat and the anchor.
Select an area that offers maximum shelter
from wind, current and boat traffic.
Determine depth of water and type of bottom
(preferably sand or mud).
Calculate amount of anchor line you will need.
General rule: 5 to 7 times as much anchor line as the depth of water
plus the distance from the water to where the anchor will attach to the
bow. For example, if the water depth is 8 feet and it is 2 feet from the
top of the water to your bow cleat, you would multiply 10 feet by 5 to 7
to get the amount of anchor line to put out (See diagram below)
Secure the anchor line to the bow cleat at the
point you want it to stop.
Bring the bow of the vessel into the wind or
When you get to the spot you want to anchor,
place the engine in neutral.
When the boat comes to a stop, slowly lower
the anchor. Do not throw the anchor over, as it will tend to foul the
When all anchor line has been let out, back
down on the anchor with engine in idle reverse to help set the anchor.
When anchor is firmly set, use reference
points (landmarks) in relation to the boat to make sure you are not
drifting. Check these points frequently.
Do not anchor by the Stern!!
Anchoring a small boat by the stern has caused many to
capsize and sink. The transom is usually squared off and has less
freeboard than the bow. In a current, the force of the water can pull the
stern under. The boat is also vulnerable to swamping by wave action. The
weight of a motor, fuel tank, or other gear in the stern increases the