By Capt. Katherine RedmondIn my opinion, anchoring out is one of the greatest pleasures of boating. Whether relaxing near the beach, rafting up with friends, or hiding out in one of the little coves that can only be reached by water, anchoring out is awesome.
However, to avoid problems while anchoring out, you need to keep several points in mind:
- Be sure the anchor is holding now, and check it again when the tide changes, that threatening storm with increased winds arrives, or anything else alters the anchoring process. You can set an anchor alarm to warn you if the anchor is dragging, mark your position on a GPS and check to see if the readings change measurably, or do a visual location check so you can tell whether or not the anchor is holding.
- Consider the possibility of your vessel’s circular movement around the anchor. Don’t forget to do the same for any vessels in the anchorage with you.
- Notice the angle of other vessels’ anchor lines. Many people erroneously think the weight of the anchor holds the boat in place, but it’s the horizontal pull on the anchor line that holds your vessel in place. The longer the line from the anchor to your boat, the better the hold. So if you see a boat with the anchor line going straight down in front of the bow, avoid anchoring nearby, since that boat will be first to lose hold and possibly run into you.
- Ensure that your anchor holds sufficiently on the sea bottom into which you are anchoring.
- Use your anchor to offset danger or get your boat out of uncomfortable situations. If your vessel is in danger of running aground, you can stop its motion by deploying an anchor. Likewise, if you are waiting for a bridge opening and you are being squeezed precariously toward the abutment by other boats, you can use an anchor to hold your position.
Capt. Katherine Giampietro Redmond of Palm Beach Sail & Power Squadron/8 is a NASBLA-honored boating safety instructor with a Six-Pack Towing Captain’s License. Author of “The Chartracker Navigation Guides” and “7 Steps to Successful Boat Docking,” she created boatinglady.com to provide boating guidance for women.
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