July 25, 2019

AnchoringA reader suggested we take a look at anchors. Anchoring seems simple enough. A weighted hook with a line attached is dropped into the water. When the hook hits the bottom, the line is tied to a cleat, and the proud sailor signals the helm that the vessel is secure.

By definition, this is true. However, there are a few more complexities – especially with respect to design and function – but also in technique, that every boater should familiarize themselves with.

Transport Canada sets regulations that specify the requirements to have anchors onboard pleasure craft

Vessels up to 9m (29’6”) in length require at least 15 m (49’3”) of cable, rope or chain in any combination (including Personal Water Craft (PWC’s)

Vessels from 9m – 12m (29’6” – 39’4”) in length require at least 30 m (98’5”) of cable, rope or chain in any combination

Vessels from 12m (39’4”) – 24m (78’9”) in length require at least 50 m (164’1”) of cable, rope or chain in any combination

There is no requirement for human powered vessels (canoes. Kayaks) and paddle-boats and sailboards to have an anchor aboard.

Note: when at anchor, Transport Canada requires that lights, day-shapes and sound signals are used in various circumstances to allow other boater to know and be aware that your vessel is at anchor (both to know that your vessel is stationary, but also to avoid your anchor rode, which may be some distance from the boat itself).

An anchor is considered to be a safety device by Transport Canada, which is why it is required aboard. It’s used as a safety device in a variety of ways:

a) If propulsion or steering (engine or sails) are lost, damaged, or inoperable, an anchor can allow the vessel can be kept in one location while the problem is sorted out
b) In a storm, dense fog, or rough conditions, it may be safer to stay in one location, than to move
c) To allow rest for the crew – anchoring will allow crewmembers the opportunity to sleep without making way through the water

A few other reasons boaters may choose to anchor (beyond mere safety):
1) To enjoy the day – swimming, BBQ-ing or fishing are on the agenda, and staying in one spot is ideal
2) To spend the night ‘on the hook’ – rather than docking at a marina or yacht club, you may choose to anchor in open water to enjoy an evening’s rest
3) When it’s too shallow to dock ashore, you may choose to anchor offshore, and use a dinghy to move between the boat and shore

When/where not to anchor – charts will indicate areas where anchoring is prohibited (typically in busy harbours, on ferry routes and shipping lanes).

Beyond the ‘prohibited’, also the ‘practical’ – avoid anchoring in areas with heavy traffic (as a courtesy), and set up the anchor and rode so that ‘swinging’ wont interfere with other boats, shallow water, buoys/markers or heavy traffic.

Method – how to anchor

Common Anchorsfour common anchors: 1) fisherman 2) Danforth 3) CQR/plough 4) grapnel

Step One: Use the right type of anchor for your application. There are a number of types of anchors available, each with different properties, designed for different types of sea beds:
Fisherman: The traditional design – and holds well in all bottoms (holding 7-10 times it’s own weight), however its own weight is often the negative factor in carrying aboard modern boats

Danforth/Fluke: The danforth or fluke anchor uses a stock at the crown to which two large flat triangular flukes are attached. The stock is hinged so the flukes can orient toward the bottom (on some designs they may be adjusted for an optimal angle, depending on the type of bed). The fluke anchor has difficulty penetrating kelp and weed-covered bottoms, as well as rocky and particularly hard sand or clay bottoms

CQR/Plough: Plough anchors are popular with cruising sailors and other private boaters. They generally work well in all bottoms, but are not exceptional in any of them

Mushroom: ideal for silt or fine sand. It is shaped like an inverted mushroom, the head becoming buried in the silt. Mushroom anchors work great at holding boats in place on muddy bottoms but not all that well on rocky or sandy bottoms.

Grapnel: a traditional design for small boats. The grapnel is simply a shank with four or more tines. It has a benefit in that no matter how it reaches the bottom, one or more tines will be positioned to set. In coral it can often set quickly by hooking into the structure, but may be more difficult to retrieve


Having the right anchor and cable for your boat is important. If you don’t, rough winds and water can cause it to drag, leaving your boat to drift. This is especially dangerous if you are asleep or swimming nearby. Make sure that your boat is well anchored and that the swivel is properly locked, and keep watch to detect signs of dragging


Step two: Plan to lower the anchor from the bow. Many modern boats have an anchor roller (a built in device at the bow, specifically for storing and manoevering the awkward and heavy anchor), and modern electrical systems allow electric windlasses and foot pedals to control the movement of the anchor up and down). In certain conditions, it may be advisable to anchor at both bow and stern (using two anchors) – never anchor from the stern alone, as this could case the boat to swamp or capsize.

How Much CableHow much cable should be veered? the scope based on the type and combination of anchor rode used

Step three: Determine the water depth (using a chart, tide tables, and/or depth sounder, conditions, and swing room to calculate the amount of rode to put out (Quick tip: If you’re in the habit of anchoring, its nice to put markings on the rode at common intervals – say every 10 feet – so that the amount of rode put out is easy to determine). Lay the amount of rode you plan to use, on deck

A vertical line from the boat to the anchor, won’t allow the anchor to dig in. A horizontal line will allow the anchor to dig in hard (but isn’t practicable), so a 7:1 ratio is used, and this is called ‘scope’. Ie. The rode let out should be 7 times the depth of the seabed

Step four: cleat the anchor rode at the depth you want it to stop, allowing for sufficient scope (if you don’t, you could lose the anchor and rode completely!

Step five: lower the anchor, until it rests on sea-bottom, then slowly back off until the rode is let out with sufficient scope, and the anchor is set. If the anchor doesn’t set, re-position and try again

Step six: note vessels, land, and landmarks nearby and set an anchor watch – the vessel’s position and anchor hold should be checked regularly (even overnight) to ensure that the vessel doesn’t accidently drift!

Step seven: conserve your power. As you’ve been motoring, you’re likely using your starter battery in order to start and run the engine to set the anchor. Now that you’re anchored and the engines are off, use the boat’s battery selector switch to use the house batteries (saving the starter battery from draining). Be conscious of your power consumption at anchor, and use engine alternator, or onboard generators to power the batteries.

If you find this article helpful, I’d love to hear back from you. If readers have interest, Id be happy to include similar how-to articles on mooring, docking and other boater skills.

Andrew McDonaldAndrew McDonald is the owner of Lakeside Marine Services – a boat repair/maintenance firm based in Toronto. Andrew has worked in the marine industry for 12 years and is a graduate of the Georgian College ‘Mechanical Techniques - Marine Engine Mechanic’ program.

Questions or comments for Andrew? Email him directly via: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Related Articles

Wednesday, 09 August 2017 02:52

The moment we all dread. It’s a warm sunny day and you’re out for a cruise. Suddenly the boat shudders beneath you, pings, dings and clangs are heard and you realize that you’ve hit something...

Wednesday, 11 October 2017 05:00

If you walk the aisles at a boat show, visit a marine store, or stop in at a repair shop, you’ll likely be inundated with digital displays, vivid touch-screens, NMEA compatible devices, and...

Wednesday, 08 November 2017 04:38

Water has a funny way of making its way into a boat: through through-hulls, stuffing boxes, leaks, hatches, windows and portholes 

Tuesday, 12 September 2017 06:10

The moment we all dread. It’s a warm sunny day and you’re out for a cruise. Suddenly the boat shudders beneath you, pings, dings and clangs are heard and you realize that you’ve hit something...

Wednesday, 10 May 2017 00:43

Question: Can I buy generic automotive parts or products for my boat, or should they specify ‘marine’?

Tuesday, 11 July 2017 07:16

For most of us – this is the time to make the most of the boating season – launch and set up are done. Systems have been recommissioned. Let the fun begin!

Boat Reviews

  • Prev
Once again, Cruisers Yachts is leading the market for day boats with their new 42 GLS model that ...
Optimized sailing performance and comfortable living – a sweet ride. The expression that came to ...
This is such an exciting time in boating! While we feel very sorry for people whose health and ...
For many, the 2020 sailing year will be one to go down into the books as “different”. With delayed ...
What perfect timing! Beneteau is has just announced their new Antares 11 model for North America ...
Commodore’s Boats is a full-service shipyard with over 50 years of generational history and ...
The Oceanis Yacht 54, younger sister of the Oceanis 62, embodies the innovation that has always ...
Beneteau announces the launch of the latest addition to the Antares range! With a length overall of ...
I had been looking forward to a sea trial aboard the Greenline 33 because I was hoping it would ...
New at the end of 2019, the 58 Salon Express design features large windows to flood the living ...

CY Virtual Video Boat Tours

Virtual Boat ToursWe all love boats and nothing can break us up! So, what better way to spend our time than looking at interesting boats and going aboard in a virtual ride or tour. We have asked our friends at various dealers and manufacturers to help us assemble a one-stop online resource to experience some of the most interesting boats on the market today. Where the CY Team has done a review, we connect you to that expert viewpoint. If you can’t go boating, you can almost experience the thrill via your screen. Not quite the same, but we hope you enjoy our fine tour collection.

 

Read more about the CY Virtual Boat Tours....................

 

Cruisers Yachts 42 GLSBy Andy Adams

Once again, Cruisers Yachts is leading the market for day boats with their new 42 GLS model that premiered at the Fort Lauderdale Boat Show at the end of October. The concept of a large day boat is now a very well-established trend made possible by the amazing new power and efficiency of the latest four stroke outboards.

Buyers are looking for a different boating experience and we think that the 42 GLS nails it. Fast, handsome and versatile, the 42 GLS is designed for fun and adventure.

Read More

Destinations

  • Prev
In Part I, Sheryl Shard ended the story at June and the start of Hurricane Season when they were ...
You likely aren’t quite ready to travel yet, but we have our fingers crossed that we can all fly ...
Ontario’s best-kept secret, the Trent-Severn Waterway National Historic site holds the key to ...
Located on the sunny south shore of the harbour, the Marina is on pilings over the water, offering ...
The approach to the Chemainus Municipal Dock from Stuart Channel is straightforward and is ...
I leaned my head back into the water and floated easily. Having spent my childhood playing in ...
History: right after gym and just before chemistry class. Fifty minutes of naming the prime ...
On May 19, the New York State Canal Corporation today announced an updated opening schedule for the ...
If you have four hours to enjoy a fine tour of one of Canada’s most interesting waterways (let’s ...
Boom & Batten Restaurant is suspended over the water adjacent to the Songhees Walkway and ...

 

Bahamas - There and Back Again IIIn Part I, Sheryl Shard ended the story at June and the start of Hurricane Season when they were once again joined by friends.

This time it was Noel and Tracey Dinan, whose new shallow-draft Allures 49.5 was in build at the time, we headed north from the Exumas across the expanse of the Great Bahama Bank, dodging coral patches as we sailed to Eleuthera then Marsh Harbour, Great Abaco. Another commercial centre in the islands, we cleared out of the Bahamas here after provisioning for our offshore passage up to the Chesapeake Bay on the US mainland and out of the Hurricane Zone until mid-November...

Read More

Lifestyle

  • Prev
OK, stop the presses. This photo just came in from Beacon Bay. Clearly those folks know how to get ...
Back in the day, the publisher of a magazine would receive a bound copy of the year’s monthly ...
Boaters on BC’s West Coast have heard the story of the garbage pickers of the Marine debris removal ...
Skipper John “Drew” Plominski is hoping that lightning doesn’t strike twice. Plominski, whose boat ...
The Association provides a forum for exchanging information, tips and access an advocate on behalf ...
Kristin Cummings, Operations Manager at Beacon Bay Marina took this shot after the skies broke ...
Our Photo of the Week (two, in fact) comes from New Zealand where the second America’s Cup AC 75 ...
The Marine Debris Recovery Initiative (MDRI), a collaboration with the Clean Coast, Clean Waters ...
The International Joint Commission (IJC) is reviewing Plan 2014 and could use your help. The plan ...
The Council of the Great Lakes Region (CGLR), thanks to funding from Environment and Climate Change ...

Marine Products

  • Prev
On Monday, Volvo Penta announced the availability of their fully integrated assisted docking system ...
Perhaps the ultimate audio solution for boat owners, the JBL by Harman BassPro Go from Prospec ...
It only takes one foggy, disorienting day on the water to make a boat owner understand the value of ...
It’s a voyage everyone wants to undertake, but few get to make. The Whales of Lake Erie is the ...
Over the years I have had a real soft spot for the Jeep Wrangler line of models. Recently I had the ...
Wait no longer, the 2021 Rideau Canal & Lower Ottawa River PORTS Guide has returned! Purchase ...
The Tundra 65 is Yeti's most versatile cooler, just as adept at keeping catches cold as it is ...
Fireball self Extinguisher. It's a revolutionary self-detonating device designed to extinguish a ...
The problem with driving any full-size Pickup Truck or Sport Utility Vehicle is that when you are ...
Wait no longer - the 2021 Rideau Canal & Lower Ottawa River PORTS Guide will be available for ...