Anchoring a boat properly ensures the safety of the boat and anyone on board. You must consider a number of factors including water depth and tide, the anchoring bed, weather conditions, boats and hazards nearby and rules and regulations. Anchoring properly requires you understand the anchor length-to-depth ratio as well, which is called "scope."
Pull into the bay and position your boat's bow windward, i.e., into the wind. If the bay has a current stronger than the wind, point your bow upstream. If there are other boats in the bay, it is simple to see which direction the wind or current is moving. Every anchored boat will face in the same direction.
Anchor with a 5-to-1 scope ratio in calm weather or 7-to-1 in heavy weather. The scope ratio is the length of chain in relation to depth. For example, if the water is 20 feet deep, you need 100 feet of chain in calm weather and 140 feet in heavy weather.
Anchor away from any other boat by a distance equal to 20 feet, plus your chain length, plus the length of your boat, plus the length of your painter, which is the rope attaching your dinghy to your boat. Do the same in relation to rocks, the shore, shallow spots and other hazards.
Drop the anchor and allow the chain to feed to the proper scope ratio, and then put the boat in reverse. If the boat moves backwards, the anchor is dragging. Add more scope length, put the boat in reverse and check the set of the anchor. If the boat still drags the anchor, cycle in the anchor chain and reset the anchor. When the anchor sets, kill the engine and turn on your mast light.
Tips & Warnings
- Make sure you are anchored in a permitted area. Avoid fines by anchoring away from reef and protected areas.
- Photo Credit Hemera Technologies/Photos.com/Getty Images
What Size Anchor Do I Need for My Boat?
Knowing what size anchor to buy for your boat is a responsible way to ensure safety for you and your guests while...
How to Anchor a Boat
When you anchor a boat, you use an anchor rope, connected to an anchor, to attach the boat to the seabed or...
How to Anchor a Boat in the River
A successful river anchorage can happen without some of the drama of anchoring in open water, but anchoring in a river offers...
How to Size an Anchor Chain
An all-chain anchor rode -- the flexible connection between boat and anchor -- won't part because of abrasion, such as that which...
How to Calculate Chain Length
When you're anchoring your boat, you know that you should let out anchor chain equal to four to seven times the depth...
Anchor Line Requirements for the Size of a Boat
At some point in your boating life, you will want to stay put in one place. Whether relaxing in the sun, swimming,...