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
Without the optional bow thruster, getting the new Dufour 430 out of the impossibly crowded docks ...
Last September, we had our first encounter with a World Cat 280 DC – X and it was quite impressive! ...
In the February 2020 issue of Canadian Yachting magazine, we featured our review of the Neptunus ...
A luxury sport cruiser like the all new Prestige 420S has it all—lines that are easy on the eyes, a ...
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 ...

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....................

 

 

 

World Cat 280 DC-XBy Andy Adams

Last September, we had our first encounter with a World Cat 280 DC – X and it was quite impressive!

We know of no other comparable Performance Offshore Luxury Catamaran in the Ontario market, but we expect to see more World Cats in the coming seasons. The test boat was supplied by Central Marine Midland, in Midland, Ontario and they report that they are doing quite well with the World Cat line. Built with vacuum-infused hull construction in North Carolina, the World Cat was designed as a big water boat.

Read More

 

 

 

Dufour 430 Grand LargeBy Peter A. Robson

Without the optional bow thruster, getting the new Dufour 430 out of the impossibly crowded docks at Vancouver’s Granville Island was a challenge, but long-time broker Richard Hargreaves got us out without mishap.

Also aboard was Richard Carrier from One4 Yachts. We’d been watching the Windy app for weeks, waiting for enough wind to put the new Dufour 430 through its paces. Finally, today’s winds were forecast at 15 to 20 knots.

 

Read More

Destinations

  • Prev
On Friday, April 2 at 7 pm ET on TVO and streaming anytime after that on tvo.org and the TVO ...
Salt Spring Island, the largest among the Gulf Islands, has a certain mystique—much of it having to ...
Located in Lake Huron, the internationally significant Manitoulin Island is the largest freshwater ...
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 ...

View of Ganges HarbourText and Photos by Marianne Scott

Salt Spring Island, the largest among the Gulf Islands, has a certain mystique—much of it having to do with locally produced food. It started thousands of years ago when the Coast Salish First Nations used the Island as a summer camp, collecting wild foods while also processing the abundant sea food for winter sustenance.

In the 19th century, five main groups settled here and began farming: Northern Europeans—some of whom had abandoned gold rush dreams; Hawaiians brought here by Vancouver Island’s second governor, James Douglas...

Read More

Lifestyle

  • Prev
Stuart Hendrie, a pro photographer sent along this photo of the pirate ship in Jordan Ontario. Many ...
In my lifetime I have been a member of 5 yacht clubs. There were big differences. The one that I ...
Our photo of the week comes from Europe where Ali ten Hove and Mariah Millen are warming up their ...
Last issue we reported that Theodore Tugboat is moving up to Ontario but HelmBoy of Bedford NS sent ...
Heading to Tokyo soon, our 49erFX team of Ali ten Hove and Mariah Millen are up against it; the ...
As anyone who has been near a familiar - to them - part of the lakeshore can attest, water levels ...
As a life-long marine journalist, it has often occurred to me, that it’s a big ...
Here’s a dramatic photo of the Week from Jansin Ozkur. “Walking along the lake Ontario, noticed the ...
At the end of summer 2020, amid all the restrictions, we were able to shoot our film, Generations ...
Last issue, Mike Wheatstone, our Boat Nerd started a conversation about solar power. While many of ...

National Invasive Species Awareness WeekThis week, Feb. 22-26, is National Invasive Species Awareness Week and the American Boat and Yacht Council (ABYC) released an animated video to raise awareness about the threat Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) pose to the boating industry and what manufacturers can do to limit the spread.

AIS can damage ecosystems and negatively impact fishing and the future of the boating lifestyle. Boat access to many aquatic resources has been limited due to AIS concerns and AIS infestation can result in serious damage to boats and their components. Invasive plant life can foul propellers,

Read More

A Freedom Boat Club StafferAs a life-long marine journalist, it has often occurred to me, that it’s a big leap to lay out the cash, (especially for those with no previous boating experience), to try it out. How does someone even know that they will like boating it if they haven’t tried it? 

Well, joining a boat club, or a yacht club that has boats available for members to use, can get you started without the big financial commitment and with the support of the club’s education and resources. Try before you buy.


Read More

Marine Products

  • Prev
Most SUVs drive about equal but the Subaru Ascent is just that little bit different or quirky ...
Exchanging business clothes for bare feet, Ann and her husband, Steve Manley, founder of PORTS ...
From streaming a repair video to downloading weather data, there are countless reasons to have ...
With 10 diameters from 11" to 30", there's a Schmitt & Ongaro Marine stainless steel Destroyer ...
The Grengine UltraLite and an ultra-portable folding 80-Watt solar panel. Combine the versatility ...
Have unwanted residue from removing stickers, decals, tapes, labels or adhesives? Release ...
When people think of boats, they imagine clean, white and glistening. Cleaning fiberglass hulls ...
Many boat soaps rely on chemicals so harsh, they end up stripping wax from your boat and are toxic ...
Called the "king of waxes," Carnauba is renowned for its ability to provide a long-lasting shine in ...
For anyone with a limited amount of dash or bulkhead area, but a desire for high-quality sound, ...

News

  • Prev
If your flares have a manufacture date of 2017 or earlier they have or will expire this year. You ...
At the end of May in lovely Ravenna, Italy, the launch ceremony of the new RSY 38m EXP took place ...
You can celebrate the Bluenose for ten cents on a dime or for as much as $1,000+ with the Canadian ...
Let’s make it very clear – everyone is feeling the pain of the never-endemic but the authorities – ...
The CBC reported on May 6th that the top member of the U.S. Senate, Chuck Schumer from New York, ...
MarineMax recently announced the acquisition of American boatbuilder KCS International, Inc., ...
Photographer Tom van Oossanen was on hand to capture the astonishing scenes as Project 817, a ...
Finally after a few years without funding I can talk about why Squadrons should offer Recreational ...
Following the April 9th eruption of the La Soufrière volcano, popular cruising destination St. ...
Mention the name Jeanneau and sleek-looking sailboats immediately come to mind but the Jeanneau ...

Boating RegulationLet’s make it very clear – everyone is feeling the pain of the never-endemic but the authorities – health officers and legislators – should really take another look at boating.  While the rules vary from BC to the Maritimes, basically no-one is allowed to do much with their boats.

If you follow the rules in Ontario right now, you cannot even go see your boat on land, let alone launch it unless there’s an ‘essential’ reason. While big cruisers are obviously only available to some of the population, the same could be said of cottages and chalets; those vacation facilities are full of people. Cottage rentals are booked solid for months. But propose taking your boat for a trip to a remote island and you’re breaking the law.  

Read More

 

 

Thousand Islands BridgePhoto copyright shutterstock

The CBC reported on May 6th that the top member of the U.S. Senate, Chuck Schumer from New York, has written a letter to members of the Biden administration making several demands regarding the border. According to the CBC story, Schumer has asked Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas for four things.

The first is a detailed Canada-U.S. plan — to be released as soon as possible — explaining what rules and health-related benchmarks will guide the return to non-essential travel. 

Read More

 

 

Courtesy Vessel ChecksBy John Gullick, Manager of Government and Special Programs, April 21 2021

Finally after a few years without funding I can talk about why Squadrons should offer Recreational Vessel Courtesy Checks (RVCCs). We have now received funding from Transport Canada for the next three years.

Many Squadron Officers continue to talk about how their Squadron’s course participation, and hence membership, is down and continuing to drop. Well the opportunity is back to be able to talk directly with boaters, especially new boaters who have come o recreational boating in very large numbers over last season and the current season.

Read More