Once you head out to exciting new anchorages, you’ll start to realize that very few boaters know what they’re doing. The vast majority certainly do not know how to anchor.
I don’t understand why governments force people to get driving licenses for a car but think it’s okay for people to command a boat with no testing. Some boaters throw an anchor overboard and when it hits ground they think they’re done. Other boaters will drop their anchor over yours or anchor in a manner that will cause an eventual collision. In busy bays it’s downright nuts.
You think I’m kidding about the lack of knowledge on how to anchor, don’t you?
I’m not kidding. When in a bay you need to be vigilant. There’s often boats dragging. On occasion a boat will pull up someone else’s anchor and set the boat ‘free’. My husband and I rarely leave our boat unattended in a busy bay.
That being noted, it’s important to ask yourself if you truly understand the art of anchoring. When we first started I surely didn’t. I use to dump the anchor all in one place, look around to see if we kept still and if I felt ‘secure,’ I think ‘job done.’ Fortunately for us, we learned real quick about what to do and not do.
We had a terrible experience of dragging once…and it wasn’t just us. A whole bay of boats all dragged into one corner. It was horrifying. Read my story about dragging our anchor here: How to anchor a sailboat – what I’ve learned about anchoring so far.
The first of sixteen steps for how to anchor (as in the guide)
Gather information. Prior to arrival at a new anchorage search out areas that are suitable for anchoring considering the prevailing wind and tide conditions in addition to water depth. Also consider other factors such as provisioning necessities (do you need to go to shore to get water/wine/food?), water cleanliness (do you want to go swimming?) and congestion factors (will it be jam packed?).
Information prior to arrival can often be obtained from other cruisers, pilot books, plotters, maps, cruiser guides and cruiser websites. Certain anchorages are good for some weather conditions and not for others. And depending on the length of your anchor rope or chain, a bay may or may not be suitable considering the depth.
And consider why you want to go to a particular bay – if you want a quiet evening it’s probably important to find a bay that is not popular. Make sure you research the details and options before heading out….plus 15 more steps to anchoring and 4 steps to leaving an anchorage
One of the 20 anchoring tips (as in the guide)
Local help with anchoring. In some parts of the world boat boys/girls will offer to help you anchor. You’ll find this ‘service,’ or what I call ‘boat begging’ on various islands in the Caribbean. For the most part the boat boys/girls will direct you to a good area for holding or give you local knowledge about the bay.
We usually take one of two approaches when this situation arises. Our first approach is to ask how much they want for the help and as long as it is not too much (over $10 is too much) we oblige. I often feel that paying locals not only contributes to the welfare of the area but it also provides a perhaps higher level of protection.
Our other approach is to explain that we’ve anchored in the bay before, even if we haven’t, and we graciously thank them for their offer but right now we’re ‘good to go.’ No matter what, we never instigate an argument. If the price is too high, we say so. We’re firm but fair. It’s important to always keep in mind that some of these people unfortunately don’t have enough money to eat…plus 19 more tips
All about choosing the RIGHT anchoring equipment including…
- What causes load on your boat in addition to two tables to verify what ground tackle is necessary
- An explanation of the components that make up ‘ground tackle’ and what to look for
- The anchor chain working load limit table
- Recommended anchor size for your boat and weather conditions
As with all my guides if you don’t find that the information provided in the Boat Basics: How to Anchor guide is valuable, I will happily refund your money. No questions asked.
Total pages: 33 US Letter pages (includes a 16-step checklist to anchor and 4-steps to leave an anchorage. Also… 20 tips on how to avoid making mistakes and making sure you choose the right anchoring equipment)