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Anchoring & Mooring

Line and Gear

Depending upon the size and type of your boat, and where you anchor--your choices for an anchor line are
either an all-rope anchor rode, a combination of rope and chain, or all chain.
The best all around line for anchoring is nylon
in three-strand twist.

Danforth AnchorThree-strand line can absorb shock and the constant tugging associated with anchoring much better than braided line or chain alone. Chain may also be used, especially in anchorages that are primarily rock or coral, which may cut a nylon line. A length of chain should be used between the anchor and a longer length of line. The chain will add weight to set your anchor without making it too heavy to lift manually, while serving to exert a horizontal pull on the anchor to set it.

Nylon Three-Strand line is the leading choice for use as an anchoring line. Lines generally come in a "soft" or "medium" lie. Soft lines are generally softer to the touch, and loosely woven. These aren't as good as medium or hard lines for anchoring, as they are more prone to unraveling and chafing. Tightly wrapped lines are the best choice for anchoring.

Lines that have been treated with a wax-like coating are available. These lines help the line resist water/salt absorption. To help keep your lines in good shape, clean them from time to time by soaking them in soapy water. Never use bleach, as it can break down the line.


ChainChain may be used instead of nylon line for anchoring. Chain has several benefits, including added weight, chafe and wear resistance, and high strength. It also lowers the angle of pull on the anchor, which helps it to set more firn\mly into the bottom.

Chain is generally found made of galvanized steel, though you can find stainless steel and vinyl coated chain, which is designed to be non-marring to your deck.

Chain comes in three general varieties: "Proof Coil" is the most common, and is adequate for most marine uses. "BBB" ("Triple B" or "3B") chain has thicker, shorter links than proof chain. BBB is slightly stronger than proof chain, and is generally used for windlasses. Finally, "Hi-Test" chain is made of hardened steel, and is stronger and lighter than proof coil. Hi-test chain is favored by those wishing to avoid carrying too much weight.

Combination Chain and Nylon Line

Plow AnchorCombination anchor-rodes consist of both chain and nylon line. You may buy a combination rode, or you may make one yourself. Generally, it is recommended to have either one foot of chain for each foot of boat length, or to have one pound of chain for each pound of anchor length.  Which ever method you choose,  having more chain than necessary is never a
bad idea.

As the saying goes, a chain is only as strong as its' weakest link...Make sure that your anchor and line are attached to each
other with adequate gear.  Some lines come with plastic thimbles or eyes--but metal, either marine-grade stainless steel or hot-dipped galvanized steel,  is best.  Swivels and shackles should
be inspected regularly for wear, and to ensure that the connections are tight and functional.