Friday, February 15, 2008


When anchoring and weighing anchor, The exact procedure may vary for making the anchor ready for letting go, but the following should be done. The windlass is tested, the anchor in the hawse is freed, the anchor is walked out if anchoring is in deep water or if the bottom is rocky, the brake is set and the wildcat is disengaged. All but one stopper is taken off and the anchor buoy line is shackled to the chafing chain or pendant. The chain locker is checked for loose gear that may become wedged in the chain pipes or come flying

out. An order then is given to stand clear of the chain. For obvious reasons. At the command “STAND BY” the brake is released and two Seamen-one with a sledgehammer or maul-take stations at the stopper outboard side of the chain.

When the command “LET GO” is given, one Seaman pulls the pin from the stopper tongue.The Seaman with the maul knocks the bail off the tongue of the pelican hook and steps clear. As soon as the Seaman is clear, the brake is fully released. If for some reason the stopper does not fall clear, the chain can still be controlled by the brake.The Seaman tending the anchor buoy tosses it over the side. On the bridge, the anchor ball is hoisted. The anchor buoy indicates the actual position of the anchor to which it is attached by floating above it. If an anchor buoy floats on the surface, it is said to be “watching.” An anchor buoy may fail to watch because its line is too short or the line is fouled in the chain. Before anchoring, the line attaching the buoy to the anchor should be adjusted to a length that is a couple of fathoms greater than the depth of the water at anchorage. This extra length allows for slight fouling, tide variations, or the sinking of the anchor in mud, which might cause the actual depth to be greater than that shown on the navigational chart being used.

The anchor buoy and line must be laid up along, and outboard of, the lifelines. It should be put overboard, well clear of the ship the instant the anchor is let go. An anchor buoy is a time-saver in locating an anchor lost in weighing or one that is slipped in an emergency. Slipping an anchor happens when unexpected circumstances do not permit time to weigh anchor. As soon as the anchor hits bottom the brake is set so the chain will not pile on it. As the ship gains sternway, the brake is released to lay the chain out evenly on the bottom and to control any running movement of the chain. As each chain marking passes the wildcat, the report “(Number) FATHOM ON DECK’ is made to the bridge.

The direction the chain is tending is indicated by pointing the arm and/or reporting “CHAIN TENDING (number) O'CLOCK.”
If the chain tends around the stem, the situation is reported to the bridge. The chain must be allowed to run freely or the sharp bend around the stem may damage a link. Detachable links are particularly susceptible to damage.