Anchor your boat
Do you know the proper way to anchor your boat? The following procedure for setting an anchor can apply to both power- and sailboats.
Setting your anchor
- Head into the wind or current, whichever is stronger.
- Bring the boat to a dead stop.
- As the boat begins to gather sternway, ease the anchor to the bottom, either hand over hand or with the windlass. Do not let the rode run out uncontrolled.
- Apply a touch of reverse throttle to get the boat moving astern. If it’s windy, this won’t be necessary.
- Pay out the rode as the boat drifts back, keeping a slight tension on the rode so it forms a line across the seabed. The boat will probably lie broadside to the wind.
- When you have paid out half your intended scope, snub the rode until you feel resistance from the anchor and continue easing out the rode.
- Keeping tension on the rode, pay out another quarter of the scope and momentarily snub the rode again.
- With the boat still moving astern, secure the anchor rode when the desired scope has been paid out. The boat’s weight should dig in the anchor solidly; the anchor rode will rise out of the water in a straight line.
- To ensure the anchor is dug in well, back down with the engine at half throttle for 30 seconds. The boat should move forward on the rode when you ease the throttle.
If you don’t get your anchor to set the first time, try again. If it still won’t set, try another spot.
Common mistakes to avoid
- Do not let the chain pile on top of the anchor.
- Do not release the anchor while the boat is still moving forward.
- Do not move astern so quickly that the anchor doesn’t have a chance to dig in.
- Do not anchor too close to other boats.
The most common anchoring mistake is failing to let out enough scope. Ideally, you should follow a 7:1 ratio: For every foot of water depth, let out seven feet of scope.
Feel at home on the water
Learn to boat with confidence by taking the Boat Handling course online from America’s Boating Club.