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Go Back   SailNet Community > Skills and Seamanship > Seamanship & Navigation
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Seamanship & Navigation Forum devoted to seamanship and navigation topics, including paper and electronic charting tools.


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Old 09-09-2011
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Anchoring Etiquette

Last weekend we went for a sail to an area of coastal BC we are extremely familiar with and where we have anchored hundreds of times over the years. The tide was still on the rise and had about another 3 feet to rise. There is a shelf that extends about 150 feet out from the shore where the depth is between 30 and 50 feet at high tide. The bottom drops off quickly when you get off this shelf. We pulled in about 75 feet from shore and dropped anchor in 35 feet of water, no wind at all and none forecast.

A guy appears on deck in a sailboat anchored 250 feet away and much further from the shore. I assume he wasnt familiar with the waters as he was in at least 125 feet and more like 150+. He starts cursing us out for anchoring there saying we are going to foul his anchor line if we dont run aground. We tell him we are familiar with the area and he has nothing to worry about but he continues until he finally figures out we are ignoring him. We watched our swings for several hours before going to bed and never came closer than 150 feet between boats. Even at low tide we were no closer than 50 feet from shore.

Was this guy just having a bad day or unfamiliar with the local waters or should we have moved?
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Old 09-09-2011
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I was out last weekend; it was crowded in the Gulf Islands.

He did have "anchoring rights", but I think you did the right thing. In 35 feet, I would guess you had had about 150-200 of rode out. If he is 250 feet away, no problem. In 150 feet he would have 600 - 750 feet of rode. I know no one who carries that much.
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Old 09-09-2011
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Some boaters require more space around them than others. When things start getting a little crowded, I'll ask the neighbor if they're okay with our anchored location. We've only had one fellow complain and we let him know that we would pick up and move if it became apparent that there was a problem (as in your situation, I was already familiar with the local bottom and how the currents would aligned the boats)
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Old 09-09-2011
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In this case it really sounds like the person was over reacting.. (mind telling us where this was???)
As Jack says, no one puts out 600 feet of rode, and if this guy was anchored in the depths you suggest his circle is going to be quite small (assuming he actually stays there.....)

IMO it was unreasonable of him to chastise you...
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Old 09-09-2011
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Is "too close" subjective? What is the recommended distance to maintain? I believe communication solves differences. Let's all work to better communicate, especially with skippers without our local knowledge. Be the better captain.

Doc
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This was in the Indian Arm near the top by the Burrard Yacht club outpost. We had about 100 feet of rode out as it was already near the high tide and there was zero wind
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Old 09-09-2011
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Sailerdoc you raise a good point as closeness is a subjective issue. I generally like to keep my distance from other boaters (unless I know them) as I will occasionally enjoy a smoke and dont want others to be offended by the smell. I also dont want to hear my neighbors talking or snoring. I thought nearly a football field length to be sufficient. I certainly have anchored in far far tighter spaces, like English Bay for the Celebration of Light fireworks, where there are several hundred boats (maybe more) of all shapes and sizes in a square kilometer (the event draws 300,000 people per night typically).
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Old 09-09-2011
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I would think 250 feet (Hey, what kind of Canadian are you, using feet instead of meters?!) is plenty of scope. If someone drops on your anchor, tradition allows you to scuttle 'em without warning. If someone way out of range simply goes Donald Duck...same rule applies. Sink 'em, then discuss terms before recovering any survivors.

As we say when racing, if you're gonna hit it, sink it good. If you leave no survivors you waste no time with the protest committee.
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Old 09-09-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SailerDoc2 View Post
Is "too close" subjective? What is the recommended distance to maintain? .....
Really depends on a number of factors.. the area, depth, holding, individuals' comfort levels.

We're usually happy if someone anchors nearby with 3-4 boatlengths clearance, providing similar ground tackle and scope are deployed, and the anchor has been observed to be properly set. (as opposed to 'toss it over the side and shut down')

Stern/shore tying is common here to increase the acceptable anchoring density. In the real popular places it's not unusual to be a boatlength apart along the shore. Again, proper setting of the anchor is paramount here, esp because if the anchor drags the only place you're going is ashore... anyone in the arc of your shoreline becomes a target...
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Old 09-10-2011
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Last weekend I was displeased with a powerboater who came into the anchorage late. When I had come in, there were two other boats in the same area. I spaced myself well between them and much closer to shore, essentially three points of a triangle. I was anchoring in 20 feet of water and knew that the low water mark would be around 10 feet. I put out 90 feet of chain and 30 feet of line and set with 3/4 throttle in mud/clay. I knew that even if the other boats had short rodes, I would be well clear of them.

Then just after dusk, a powerboat comes in and anchors between me and one of the other boats. He must have been anchoring almost on top of my anchor and he put out much less rode than I did. He was TOO CLOSE. I was concerned about our swings during the night as the tide changed and at one point we were only a couple boat lengths apart. He never should have anchored so close. He could have anchored farther away from all of us, including going out to the outer bay to anchor in 30 feet of water.

Then, to make matters worse, he ran his engine almost all night. I'm assuming he was powering his batteries, but it was really annoying given that he was so close to us.

I did enjoy the fact that in the morning, the local shore birds (starlings?) decided that his boat was a great place to stage feeding sorties. The completely lines his rails and fly bridge. They crapped all over his boat for a couple of hours before the Captain finally rolled out of the sack and tried to chase them away.

Dave
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