How To Anchor A Boat


Hello, I’m Keith the boating guy. Now given that I’m the boating guy, what I’m about to say might surprise you but here it goes. Anchoring your boat can be almost as much fun as cruising. Okay, let me explain. It’s true that few activities can compare with being out in the water, zipping along, enjoying the sunshine, and watching the waves… well, you get the idea.

Let’s say you want to stop to go swimming or fishing, to relax, or just to hang out in a quiet cove with your friends and family. Now that’s when anchoring can be fun. The truth is that being able to anchor your boat securely is a necessary boating skill. Anchoring can help you control your boat in bad weather or keep your boat secure if the engine has quit or the wind and the current is pushing you around or towards the shore.

Anchors are made to burrow into the bottom and if your anchor is set right, the more your boat pulls in the anchor, the harder the anchor digs into the bottom. Choosing the right anchor has more to do with what’s under the water then what type of boat you have. For instance, some work best in sandy bottoms while others are made for grassy or muddy river beds.

Lets take a look at some popular anchors and see where to use them. Pivoting-steel-fluke anchors are made to work in mud and sand. They are perhaps the most common of all anchors available. The pivoting steel fluke anchor has two steel points that pivot and dig into the bottom.

Now, plow and claw anchors are similar to pivot-steel-fluke anchors, except the pointy part is actually stationary. These are good for holding your boat in rocks and weeds and even sand also.

Grappling anchors, they look like a big grappling hook. They’re used for small boats when the weather conditions are rather mild.

Mushroom anchors don’t have a whole lot of holding power, and they’re generally used in skiffs, canoes, and inflatable boats.

Lastly, we have our land and shoreline anchors. They’re used when we want to secure our boats to the beach.

Of course, to talk about anchoring, we need to learn the lingo. The anchor “road” is the line, line being the nautical term for rope, that attaches the anchor to the boat. Now “scope” is the term for the amount of road you have when you are actually anchoring. An anchor road is made up of a long length of line. I recommend nylon – it’s strong, it stretches under load, and it lasts a long time. You should have several feet of chain and a couple of shackles to fasten the line, the chain and the anchor all together.

How do you know how much road you need? It’s simple math. A good rule of thumb is to have an anchor road equal to five or eight times the depth of the water. Use a 5 to 1 scope for daytime anchoring and an 8 to 1 scope for anchoring at night.

Here’s an example to make it easier. Say you’re in 10 foot of water and you want to anchor a line, you need your line to be between 50 and 80 foot. The 5 to 1 or 8 to 1 ratio. What if you were in 50 foot deep water, you would need a line between 250 feet or 400 foot.

It’s much easier than you think, and when you get out in the water and you’ll try it out and you’ll be fine. I hope to see you out there, good luck and safe boating.

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