Anchorage selection rules
Denis Korablev
  • 17.08.2020
  • 138

Anchorage selection rules

The right choice of anchorage and the proper length of the anchor chain determines the peace of mind of your night's rest. Many boaters think they know where to choose an anchorage location and how to properly anchor. But in this matter there are a lot of nuances that will depend on whether you will only observe the phenomena of nature when the wind or tidal current intensifies, or you will have to act immediately.

A suitable anchorage should be sheltered from the wind and waves caused by it, and have a bottom on which your type of anchor can securely hold the boat. To select a secure place, you need to use an electronic navigation map, while you need to provide for several areas for parking at once, where protection from all sides is provided. Have a spare time so that, if necessary, it is time to move to another place before dark.

When choosing a place, pay attention to the bottom topography and its depth, but do not forget about the required length of the anchor end - it must be calculated up to 7-8 depths, or rather, the distances from the cable (chain) attachment to the bottom. Keep in mind that digital maps indicate shallow water depth, so you should always have a supply of cable.

As advised by experienced yachtsmen 2yachts, the bottom relief should be carefully examined and evaluated if the depth rapidly increases with distance from sushi. With a similar bottom profile, if the anchor crawls lower, then it has much less chance of gaining a foothold at the depth. The way out of the situation is to positioning the vessel astern to land and securing a spare anchor on land (around stones or vegetation). The coastal anchor will not allow the vessel to drift to depth, and the main anchor will keep it from drifting to the shore, as it will have to "climb" along the bottom up the slope.

Before deciding whether to stay overnight in the selected area, carefully study the weather forecast, you also need to take into account your impressions of the weather. It is often possible to make a correct forecast for the next 8-10 hours by combining the forecast received from the radio with the current state of the weather. When in doubt, change your parking area for the best protection. Finally, check to see if the parking lot is too cramped? When the wind increases, overflowing the location with yachts can be dangerous, calculate the daytime so that there is enough time for maneuvers.

Before stopping, find out the situation in the proposed parking area by walking slowly under the engine and checking the actual depth given by the device with the information displayed on the map. Do not forget to also assess the mutual position of the ships at anchor. It is best to close to the windward shore, with lighter winds and waves, but not close enough to get into a situation where it is likely to run aground when the wind changes to shore. The advantage of anchor stop at a relatively shallow place is that there is no need for a longer anchor end.

After finding a suitable seat (which, as a rule, other yachts also stand), you should focus on 4 main points:

  • the location of your yacht in relation to neighbors;
  • distance to nearest ships;
  • an anchor chain or cables made of artificial fibers is used on neighboring yachts;
  • how many anchors are used by the neighbors in the location.

It is necessary to avoid anchoring in alignment with other vessels - in a situation when someone's anchor crawls on the ground, there is a danger of collision. General advice: always have some spare space. And not only for considerations of courtesy. The auxiliary space will give you and the crews of nearby vessels more time to react to unforeseen situations and will allow you to etch a longer anchor line if necessary without damaging nearby vessels.

Using one anchor or two is your decision, which will be influenced by a number of factors, but it would be better to do it like your neighbors. Yachts at one anchor have a larger radius of circulation than those with two anchors. If you only have a synthetic anchor line in your arsenal, and the nearby yachts use anchor chains, you should provide more space for your boat to circulate. Remember that a yacht on a synthetic line will have a larger radius of circulation with a comparable anchor line length than a chain yacht due to its mass and bottom friction. If the wind changes in the middle of the night, and you have not provided a reserve for circulation and a dangerous situation of rapprochement with neighbors arises, you will have to raise the anchor and change the location or carry out anchor duty throughout the night. None of these scenarios seems to be acceptable.


The anchoring maneuver is preceded by an inspection of everything that is required for this, and bringing the equipment to readiness. When towing a dinghy pay attention to the tow rope, limiting its length to 0.5-0.7 m to prevent accidental winding of the rope around the propeller when reversing motion.

Discuss with the team all the important points - the approach and location of the planned parking lot, the actions of each in the process of completing the task. The boat steward and the person performing the duties on the tank should interact with each other and exchange understandable commands and signals. Then you need to prepare the anchor, fix the anchor end, sort it out and place it on the deck in an order convenient for its release. The duties of the helmsman include stopping the vessel at the preferred location, checking the depth with the yacht sounder and alerting the tanker. The tank must have information about the depth for two reasons: to prevent hasty etching of the excess end and so that he can estimate the total required length of the anchor end.

In conclusion, be sure to take into account the height of the tide at the point of stopping and trim the additional length of the end with the expectation of raising the water level.

Special situations

Exceptional situations occur when you rent a yacht and make a stop in uncharted waters, and even use untested equipment. Under these conditions, before you go on a trip, while still in the marina, make sure that everyone is able to use a winch mechanism - a windlass. It is worth giving everyone anchoring before leaving the dock. Take out all the anchor ends, lay them out on the deck and measure their length. As already mentioned, it may take up to 6-10 cable lengths, so check if you have a 70 m end available in order to move the parking with a distance from the surface of the water to the bottom of 10 m in the place where you plan to stay overnight.

What to do to “pick up” the anchor?

With the arrival of anchorage time, many yacht enthusiasts feel anxiety because of the uncertainty about how reliably the anchor is buried in the ground. Maneuvering in reverse is the best way to ensure this and to ensure that the anchor is securely fastened. However, is it possible to compare the thrust force of a ship's engine with the force of the impact on an anchored yacht of the wind, which should be feared?

According to yacht master Paul McNeill, Anchorwatch can help with this. The gauge of this tool is built into the anchor end and stores the maximum cable tension data. Along with these readings it is worth taking into account the data of the anemometer installed on the mast and information about the operation of the motor during reverse movement. By analyzing these readings, you can extract important information about the forces that affect the vessel in different weather conditions. This system will allow the yachtsman to stand at anchor with confidence, while not forgetting about the nature of the bottom, different winds and currents.

If you are interested in boat rental in your preferred travel region - 2yachts can offer you options from direct owners. To get advice, just contact our specialists, who will provide comprehensive support at all stages of the transaction. Enjoy your stay and successful travel!