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Learning to Set and Retrieve an Anchor Is an Important Safe Boating Skill

Follow these easy tips to avoid common anchoring mistakes.
Boating Safety

boating safety

2. Lower the Anchor Slowly
With the vessel stopped and your life jacket on, lower the anchor slowly into the water from the bow.  Do not throw it over the side as this tends to foul the line. As you lower the anchor, your boat should begin to drift backward with the wind or current, allowing the anchor to move down and away as it enters the water. This backward drift is important. If your boat is stationary when the anchor reaches bottom, the chain piling on top of it can prevent it from digging in. Therefore, if your boat is not drifting backward on its own, put the engine in reverse and move slowly backwards as you pay out the anchor rode. This stretches the chain out from the bow and ensures that the anchor will be lying on the bottom facing in the correct direction.


boating safety

3. Keep Tension in the Anchor Rode
Keep tension on the anchor rode as you pay it out to keep the bow of the boat pointed toward the anchor.  This ensures that your anchor, chain, and rope stay straight and don’t become tangled.  If you’re anchoring in strong winds, you may actually have to put the engine in forward gear to control the speed and direction of backward drift.

boating safety



4. Setting the Anchor
With the anchor rode out and the boat in the intended swing zone, secure the rode and let the anchor dig in and stop the boat. Exercise caution as you do this.  Wrap the rode once or twice around a cleat and keep your hands well clear.  Once you feel the anchor begin to dig in and set, put the engine in idle reverse and back down on the anchor to secure it to the bottom. This is especially important in areas where the bottom has a layer of sand and grass.  Once the anchor is set, take note of any reference points (landmarks) in relation to the boat.  Check these points frequently to make sure you’re not drifting.

Dano (not verified)
Feb 2, 2012

How do people anchor in deep water. Like 100 feet or more? Seems like at the 7 to 10 ratio that would be a lot of rope.

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