Boat Anchoring: What You Should Know

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Anchoring is done for two primary factors: first, to stop for fishing, swimming, lunch, or an overnight stay and second of all, to keep you from running aground in bad weather or as an outcome of engine failure.

Anchoring can be a basic job if you follow these easy standards:

  • Ensure you have the appropriate kind of anchor, such as danforth, plow or mushroom.
  • A 3- to 6-foot length of galvanized chain ought to be connected to the anchor. The chain will stand up to the abrasion of sand, rock or mud on the bottom much better than a fiber line.
  • An appropriate length of nylon anchor line must be attached to completion of the chain (this combination is called the “rode”). The nylon will extend under heavy strain, cushioning the effect of the waves or wind on the boat and the anchor.
  • Select an area that provides optimum shelter from wind, present and boat traffic.
  • Determine depth of water and type of bottom (preferably sand or mud).
  • Calculate the quantity of anchor line you will need to find. General rule: 5 to 7 times as much anchor line as the depth of water plus the range from the water to where the anchor will attach to the bow. For instance, if the water depth is 8 feet and it is 2 feet from the top of the water to your bow cleat, you would increase 10 feet by 5 to 7 to obtain the quantity of anchor line to put out (see diagram above).
  • Secure the anchor line to the bow cleat at the point you want it to stop.
  • Bring the bow of the vessel into the wind or present.
  • When you get to the spot you want to anchor, position the engine in neutral.
  • When the boat comes to a stop, gradually lower the anchor. Do not toss the anchor over, as it will have the tendency to entangle the anchor.
  • When all the anchor line has actually been discharged, pull back on the anchor with the engine in idle reverse to assist set the anchor.
  • When the anchor is securely set, use reference points (landmarks) in relation to the boat to make sure you are not drifting. Inspect these points regularly.


There are a number of types of anchors, and you need to choose a design based on the bottom attributes in the areas you will anchor frequently. It is essential to select an anchor that fits your boat and the boating conditions. These are the most typical types of anchors:


The plow-style anchor has good holding power and is good for most boats. This kind of anchor gets its holding power by raking into bottom sediment. Great for sand and rocky bottoms, weeds and lawn.


Much like plow-style, however is more light-weight. This type of anchor is good for a lot of boats, and it gets its holding power from pointed flukes digging into bottom sediment. Best in hard sand or mud, where flukes can quickly dig into the bottom.


The mushroom-style anchor gets its holding power by sinking into bottom sediment. This sort of anchor ought to not be used for boats larger than a little canoe, rowboat or inflatable boat, considering that it holding power is weak.

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