How to Anchor your Boat

Anchors have several uses:

  • In the event of a breakdown
  • During severe weather conditions
  • An anchor is also useful in non-emergency situations (such as when swimming from the stern or securing for an overnight stay)

Step 1) Ensure the inboard end of the anchor line is securely attached to the pleasure craft. Ensure the outboard end of the anchor line is securely fastened to the anchor.

Step 2) Slowly lower the anchor over the bow or side of the craft until it reaches bottom. Note the distance to the bottom or note the length of rope used for the anchor to reach bottom and never throw the anchor over the side of the boat.

Step 3) Let the boat drift rearward or operate the engine astern (in reverse). Let out an additional 5-10 times more anchor line than the depth of the water and securely fasten the desired length to the boat.

Step 4) At only 2x and 4x depth, the anchor can dig in but there is too much upward pull on the anchor line (rode). At a length of 5 to 10 times the water’s depth, the rope lies flat on the bottom and pulls the anchor in deeper.

Anchoring Tips

Anchoring a boat based on the water depth

Choosing landmarks: Once the anchor is set choose two fixed landmarks on the horizon and occasionally check your relative position, to ensure that you are not drifting.

Swing: Never secure the anchor to the stern of the craft. If the wind changes direction, your boat will swing with the stern into the wind. Smaller boats can be easily swamped by waves crashing over the transom.

Right of swing: If you are preparing to set anchor in an anchorage among other boats, remember that the first craft into anchorage has the ‘right of swing’. Other boats may ‘swing’ with changes in wind direction. Always allow for another craft’s right of swing and anchor well clear.

Retrieving the anchor: To retrieve the anchor, slowly pull on the anchor line, move the boat forward until the anchor frees itself from the bottom, bring the anchor onto the craft and fasten securely.