All About Anchors
Every vessel, regardless of how it is powered… motor, sail or human power… is legally required to carry an anchor or manual propelling device.
In the event of an engine failure an anchor will keep a boat in place. A manual propelling device. paddles or oars… can do the same thing and also help get the boat to shore.
To help in the decision of what to carry, boaters need to consider the size of their boat. The ability to move a larger boat with a paddle or oar, especially in wind, high waves or strong currents becomes more difficult if not impossible. That is why for most boats the best choice is an anchor.
Anchors work in two ways. They either use their weight to keep the boat from drifting, or the most popular are lightweight anchors that bury themselves in the bottom.
The most common are the Danforth, Bruce, Plow, Navy, Mushroom and folding grapnel.
Often the minimum requirement of rode is not enough for safe anchoring. For anchoring in calm to moderate conditions, the recommended length of rode is 5-7 times the distance from the tip of the bow to the lake’s bottom. So, for water that is 10 feet deep and a distance of 3 feet from the tip of the bow to the water, the recommended rode length would be 65 to 90 feet.
However, in heavy waves, where the anchor might be lifted off the bottom, the length of rode required to ensure a good hold must be up to 12 times that distance.
In areas where the lake bottom is rocky, it’s a good idea to have at least 5 meters of chain attached to the anchor. This will help withstand chafing against sharp rock edges.
Another benefit is the chain lying along the bottom will tend to keep the anchor more horizontal yielding additional hold.
With a single anchor, the boat will rest exactly downwind or down current from the anchor. If the wind or current changes so will the position of the boat.
For boaters who like to keep their boat in one place and not have it swing in an arc with wind and current, a good idea is a second anchor. That second anchor deployed from the stern will keep the boat in one place. This is ideal to stay in place on a sweet fishing spot or to prevent swinging around in a busy anchorage.
In heavy seas, a second anchor can also be used to provide additional holding power.