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How To Choose The Right Anchor For Your Recreational Boat

boat anchor

Have you just bought your first boat? Well, you need to purchase a few accessories for it too. And one item you simply cannot forget to buy is your boat’s anchor. It’s what you will need to stop your boat and keep it at a particular spot.

But it’s difficult to find the right anchor for your watercraft if you have no idea about how to make the choice. And the variety available at the boat accessories’ store is sure to add to the confusion. Don’t fret; you just need to consider the right factors.

What do you consider to make the decision? Let’s try to find an answer.

 

Consider the size. Is the heaviest anchor available the best choice? Not always. Instead, focus on the actual size of it. The bigger it is, the better it will be at resisting breaking. It will also be better at penetrating deeper and occupying more surface area.

Which size fits your boat? The simple rule of thumb is to opt for the biggest one available for your boat size. Yes, even if it isn’t the heaviest. Its holding capability is largely dependent on its size, not its weight.

Consider the style. You need to think of a few things before you decide on the right style boat anchor. Will you be out on enclosed lakes or open seas? Will the bed be mud, rock, sand or something else? Will the wind be high where you plan to take your boat?

Different anchor designs work well in different conditions. However, the basic designs are:

Danforth–With its two flukes, this anchor holds well in sand bottom. It’s good if you are fishing and have to drop and haul it frequently. But it’s not quite ideal if you need an anchor for an overnight stay, as it cannot adapt well to change in wind and weather conditions.

Bruce/claw–Originally designed for big rigs, this anchor design is good to hold fast in mud bottoms. The best part is its ease of use; it lodges well and stays put even when the pull changes direction but comes loose when you give it a vertical pull.

Plough–A single plough-shaped fluke makes this anchor a good choice, whatever the bed. It lodges into the bed like a plough and holds well even among weeds. And it remains buried even if the wind or current changes direction.

Mushroom–The wide area cap on this anchor makes it hold well to mud bottoms, and weeds too. But it doesn’t offer much holding power. Therefore, it’s best to use it only for temporary anchoring and with smaller boats and dinghies.

Consider the construction. The common choice, when it comes to material for anchors, is galvanised steel. Its coat prevents rust. Or, you can also opt for stainless steel anchors. They are sturdier than the galvanised steel variants.

When you go out to buy an anchor for your first boat, look for tell-tale signs of poor construction. If the joints are properly welded or the galvanisation isn’t done correctly, it won’t last for long.

Consider the cost. It’s quite simple; you get what you pay for. It’s a good idea to compare prices from different stores before you buy the boat anchor. But it’s a bad idea to opt for the cheapest one available.

Visit a local marine store and talk to someone who knows about these. Remember, your safety, as well as the safety of anyone you take on your boat, depends on the anchor you choose. Don’t scrimp on this purchase.

Consider the storage. It’s true that the bigger anchor you can get for your boat, the better. But you have to keep it on your boat too. If yours is a small dinghy, a foldable one may be a better choice.

But it won’t be of use if yours is a large watercraft that you use for overnight cruises. Fortunately, such a boat will have enough space for a big anchor. Again, talk to an expert before you make a decision.

As for how to use your anchor, it will be an easy thing to learn once you enrol in the boat licence course. With theoretical learning and practical experience, you don’t just get your boat licence; you learn the boating basics too, which includes anchoring safely.

Photo via Getty Images [Photographer:Bounce]

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10 Boat Anchoring Tips Every Driver Needs To Know

anchor drop

 

One skill you need to learn before you start to drive your recreational boat is how to anchor it. It’s a good idea to check whether the boat licence course you take teaches this. Otherwise, you may be in quite a fix.

Two reasons may make it necessary to anchor your boat – you may want to stop to have lunch, or to swim or fish, or you may need to stop to avoid bad weather or to prevent your vessel from going into shallow waters or other vessels due to wind or current.

With a little practice, it becomes easy to drop anchor and stop your vessel whenever necessary. It isn’t as tough as it seems. And when you have a little help, you can learn to anchor your boat with ease.

Before you go out on your boat, here are a few simple but effective tips for you.

Find a sheltered place to drop anchor. The purpose of anchoring is to prevent your boat from wind and current; and also to keep it safe from other boats. If you don’t find a sheltered area, this purpose is defeated.

Make sure you have the right anchor. Three types of anchors are used for recreational vessels – plow, danforth (fluke) and mushroom. While the first two are suitable for most boats, mushroom anchors are best suited to small, lightweight crafts.

Note: It’s best to seek advice from a marine supply store to choose the appropriate type of anchor. The decision depends on the type of boat and the waters you ride out to.

Combine sturdy anchor rode. You need something to attach the anchor to the boat. And while fibre line may be cheaper, it is better to opt for a combination of galvanized chain and nylon line for this purpose, as it stands up to abrasion better.

Determine the depth of water. You need to calculate the amount of rode you have to put out to anchor safely. And this calculation needs you to know the depth of the water. So, lower line to check how deep the water is at the spot you want to drop anchor.

Identify the type of bed. The anchor type must match the water bottom. Anchors hold well in sand and mud waterbeds. For rock and coral beds, plow anchors work best. The worst types of beds to anchor are clay, shale or grass bottoms.

Lower anchor; don’t throw it. Making a splash may look pretty but it isn’t a good idea. Throwing it may seem easy, but it may entangle the anchor rode. And it can be difficult if this happens. Instead, slowly lower it to reach the waterbed.

Learn when to stop the boat’s engine. Once you have reached the spot you want to anchor, it is best to stop your engine. You can also put it into neutral. Only after you have done this, lower the anchor.

Note: Never anchor by the boat’s stern alone. It can cause the vessel to swamp, capsize and sink.

Know how to tell a dragging anchor. After you have dropped anchor, you need to put the boat in idle reverse until it fixes firmly. When doing this, place a hand on the line. If it’s set, it will feel firm. If it isn’t, it will shake as the boat bumps and drags along.

Check reference points with relation to the vessel. Look around to understand the exact location of your vessel with relation to fixed points such as houses, towers, rocks, lighthouses and so on. Check after a few hours to make sure your craft isn’t drifting.

Remember, an anchor may be your only chance to stop your boat, so store it at an easily accessible spot. Sometimes, you need to drop anchor at a moment’s notice. This will only be possible if you can find it within a second.

With a little practice, it will be easy to follow these points and do it in a proper manner.

Another thing you need to keep in mind is that it may be necessary to clean the anchor before you take it in. It is also important that you dry the anchor rode before you store it. These little things will ensure that these are in good condition.

A good boat licence course will be able to teach you all these and more.

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