Toms Tips on Bad Weather Preparation in an Anchorage

By Tom Neale, 3/5/2009

1. Always listen to the weather forecasts. Know what’s coming.

2. Chain anchor rode helps immeasurably. Add stretch with a properly rigged snubbing line.

3. Look at all the other boats around you. Be sure that there is plenty of swinging room AND dragging room. Room for recovery is critical if you or someone else drags. And many boats will drag at least a little.

4. Know the bottom.  If you don’t, put down test anchors to be sure that it’s a good bottom. Some, such as rocky bottoms or grassy bottoms may seem to be good holding but may let you loose without warning as the gusts hit.

5. If someone anchors too close to you and won’t move to anchor safely, it’s better to move and be safe rather than to be stubborn.

6. Remember that even though your boat may be dear to you, it’s not worth loss of one little finger or any other injury to you or other people. Don’t take dangerous risks.

7. Rig a good snubbing line and abundant chafing gear.  Chafe during a storm is a frequent cause of disaster, especially if you have a nylon rode.

8. Have fenders and lines ready to be quickly deployed if needed. Often it’s much better to have your tender safely secured aboard—not trailing astern.

10. Don’t go out on deck without life jackets and other suitable safety equipment such as safety harnesses and lines.  Depending on your boat and the circumstances, it may be wise to don life jackets even while below decks.

11. I’ve only begun to scratch the surface here. Learn all you can from books and the experiences of others. The fun quickly goes out of cruising if you aren’t prepared for and knowledgeable about the bad times.

Copyright 2004-2009 Tom Neale