Checklist for Successful Anchoring - SailNet Community

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Old 11-17-1999
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Checklist for Successful Anchoring

  • Make sure your ground tackle is properly sized for your boat and for the conditions that you expect to encounter.

  • Listen to the latest weather forecast and know if the weather could change in the middle of the night and that you will be okay in your chosen location.

  • Check the tides and how they will affect the water depth. Make sure that you will have enough water under your keel at low tide and, conversely, enough anchor line out at high tide to provide adequate holding. (For instance, in Maine, the tidal difference can exceed 20 feet)

  • Survey the adjacent boats in the anchorage and whether they are anchored or moored. (Boats on a mooring have a smaller swinging radius). Note the amount of rode they have out and where their anchor is located.

  • If any boats have more than one anchor out, know the location of both anchors.

  • Make sure you have enough swinging room once you've let out a minimum scope of 7 to 1.

  • Develop hand signals for use when anchoring to ensure good communications without needing to yell. (Remember, you're the only one with the motor on; everyone else in the anchorage can hear just fine.)

  • Back down hard on your anchor to ensure a firm set. Take a bearing at that time. Confirm later that you have not dragged.

  • Make sure that you are comfortable in that spot and that you are not making another boater anxious.

  • After you have checked all these points, you're ready to kick back and relax.

    - - S.H., L.H.

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