Monday, March 17, 2008

Small Boat Anchoring

Here are some basic things to keep in mind when anchoring small boats:
Make sure you have the proper type of anchor such as a danforth, etc.
A three to six foot length of galvanized chain should be attached 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.
A suitable length of nylon anchor line should be attached to the end of the chain (this combination is called the "Rode"). The nylon will stretch under heavy strain cushioning the impact of the waves or wind on the boat and the anchor.
Select an area that offers maximum shelter from wind, current and boat traffic.
Determine depth of water and type of bottom (preferably sand or mud).
Calculate amount of anchor line you will need. General rule: 5 to 7 times as much anchor line as the depth of water plus the distance from the water to where the anchor will attach to the bow. For example, if the water depth is 8 feet and it is 2 feet from the top of the water to your bow cleat, you would multiply 10 feet by 5 to 7 to get the amount of anchor line to put out.
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 current.
When you get to the spot you want to anchor, place the engine in neutral.
When the boat comes to a stop, slowly lower the anchor. Do not throw the anchor over, as it will tend to foul the anchor.
When all anchor line has been let out, back down on the anchor with engine in idle reverse to help set the anchor.
When anchor is firmly set, use landmarks in relation to the boat to make sure you are not drifting. Check these points often.
Do not anchor by the Stern
Anchoring a small boat by the stern has caused them to capsize and sink. The transom is usually squared off and has less freeboard than the bow. In a current, the force of the water can pull the stern under. The boat is also vulnerable to swamping by wave action. The weight of a motor, fuel tank, or other gear in the stern increases the risk.