6 TIPS FOR ANCHORING YOUR BOAT SECURELY
The problem with fishos is that we see our boat as a means to catch fish. Most of us look at boating through the lens of fishing. We aren’t always that interested in learning good boating practices and skills. If it’s not going to catch me any more fish, I’m not interested.
It was this vein of thought that occupied my mind last week when my VHF burst into life with loud exclamations. The familiar voice of my brother crackling across the radio. “I don’t know what’s going on”, he said, “I dropped the anchor, and set it, but I keep drifting”. Typical of my brother, I thought, but anchoring mishaps are common among the fisho community, and can come with a hefty bill to sort out. Here are some top tips for safely anchoring your boat.
SNEAK BACK AND PAY OUT THE LINE
The basic principle is to get the boat standing still by coming off the throttle, then drop the anchor, and finally sneak back while you let the line out. If the boat moves, repeat the process until the anchor penetrates the bottom.
One common mistake is that fishos think the anchor is set with just a few seconds of the reverse throttle. To get the anchor to penetrate the bottom, you need to give it some welly. Put the power into reverse and move back for a few seconds, if the anchor is set, as soon as you ease up the throttle, it should pull your boat forward a little.
PAY OUT ENOUGH SCOPE FIRST
In busy anchorage spots, many people use less scope, paying out ratios of 3:1 or 4:1. This is fine, as long as you set the anchor with more scope first. Set the anchor with around 7:1, so for a depth of 10ft and a bow of 4ft, let out 98ft of rope. Once set you can shorten the scope to reduce swinging room, but don’t shorten the scope until you have firmly set the anchor.
FIND OUT WHAT IS ON THE BOTTOM
Having the right anchor for the right seabed is essential for keeping your anchor set. Research what you will be anchoring on and ensure you have the appropriate anchor.
USE RUBBER TUBING AS A SHOCK ABSORBER
On windy days, or if I’m anchoring near bigger boats going past, I clip a basic rubber ring into the line. This acts as a shock absorber in bad weather and stops the anchor from becoming pulled out of sandy bottoms.
CHECK YOUR ANCHOR LINE REGULARLY
Your anchor system is only as secure as the weakest component. Chafed lines and bent flukes could see you lose an anchor and come adrift. Stay ahead of the game by checking your anchor line regularly.
ON REEF PICKS YOU DON’T NEED ANY CHAIN
On sand picks, you need plenty of chain, but on reef picks it’s not necessary. The chain only gets caught on the rocks and is a nightmare when it comes to pulling it up.
So, don’t be like my brother and send distress calls out to family members when you can’t get your boat anchored. Familiarise yourself with the principles, pay the right amount of scope out and know your bottom. When you observe these fundamentals, anchoring becomes a lot easier. It isn’t going to help you catch more fish, but it will keep your boat still once you find a good fishing spot.
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