With so much investment literally riding on your anchor, your boat's anchoring system is
no place to cut corners.
Your choice of anchor depends on the size and type of your boat, and the weather and anchoring conditions you generally encounter.
Boats with heavy displacements or superstructures that present a great deal of wind resistance need
gear. The same is true of cruising yachts that brave a wide variety of conditions and may sometimes
anchor in open waters.
Although not required by Federal Law, it is recommended you carry one anchor of
sufficient size and strength
to hold your boat for an extended period, like
overnight--or in an emergency situation, such as if you run
of gas. When you are thinking or buying an anchor - BIGGER IS BETTER.
Also, there is safety in numbers. No anchor will work for you in every situation, so
if you have space carry two
anchors--preferably of different types.Many people choose to carry a small anchor, or "lunch hook", and a larger
working or storm anchor. The lunch hook is for use in calm weather and when the crew is monitoring the anchor. Working and storm anchors are useful at times when the crew is asleep or ashore, and during heavy weather,
when winds are 30 miles an hour and over.
general name for all of the equipment you need to anchor your boat is "ground
tackle". This includes an
anchor, chain, line and connecting elements. The
anchor line, including chain, is called the rode.
Just as boats come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes, so do anchors. Choosing an
anchor is easy, choosing
the right one for your boat can be very difficult. Your first task in choosing an anchor is to have an understanding
of three things:
Your Boat - Your boats' size, weight and design characteristics affect what kind of anchor you will need to use.
For instance, a 30 foot 10,000 pound houseboat needs a larger
anchor than a 30 foot 6000 pound speedboat.
Where You're Going - Where you plan to anchor often dictates what type of anchor you should use. Is the bottom
rock, or is it soft mud? If you are not familiar with the area, ask
around or look at a local chart.
Local Conditions - Anchoring in a calm protected cove can be quite different than anchoring offshore or on a
large open bay. And don't forget the weather--high winds, tides
and waves can all make anchoring difficult,
if not impossible.
The table below will give you an idea of what your boat needs.
(Most anchors will list their holding power on their sales sheet.)
Anchors are rated by "holding power"--which is the ability of an anchor to hold a given
Keep in mind that a 10,000 pound boat may only require an anchor with a holding power of
a few hundred
pounds on a calm day, but may need 1,000 pounds of holding power
or more on a stormy day.