Imagine that you’re out on a boat and you want to stop. Maybe you’ve arrived at your favorite fishing spot. Maybe you want to have a casual on-the-water meal. Or maybe you want to moor your boat for the night.
In each of these cases, you’ll need to hold your position with an anchor. Here are the anchoring basics you’ll need to be familiar with:
1) Determine the “scope”. This is the length of line needed for the depth of water that you are in. We’ll cover how to determine this later in this article.
2) Measure the line out. You can do this by using your arm span, which is usually the same as your height. When you reach your desired length, cleat that point on the line to the bow of your boat.
3) Determine where you want your boat’s final position to be. Note that this position should be clear of any boats in the area. Then drive your boat toward the direction that the wind is coming from, the same distance as the “scope” (i.e., if you have measured 50 feet of line, then drive 50 feet from your final position).
4) Gently lower the anchor into the water. Do not throw or toss it. Then, as the wind moves your boat, let the line out hand over hand. Remember you’ve already tied off your line, so the boat will stop automatically.
5) Make sure your anchor is securely embedded in the bottom. To do this, you’ll need to apply some tension. Put the boat in reverse, creating a gentle reverse thrust. This draws the anchor deeper into the bottom, which creates more resistance with the surrounding bottom material.
DETERMINING THE “SCOPE”: HOW MUCH LINE SHOULD YOU USE?
If you are stopping for lunch and the winds are light, use a ratio of 5 to 1 of your water depth. So if you are in 10 feet of water, your scope should be 50 feet. If you are staying overnight and the winds are strong, use a ratio of 7 to 1.
As a general rule, the longer the scope, the better your anchor will hold.
For more comprehensive anchoring techniques, visit these articles: