At first, anchoring your boat doesn’t seem so complicated. How hard could it be? Tie the anchor to the boat, throw it overboard, and relax in the water. Done and done. While it might seem simple enough, there’s more to anchoring than meets the eye. If you don’t do it properly, you could find your luxury powerboat floating off into the distance while you’re relaxing in the water.
Here’s what you need to know to anchor your boat successfully and safely.
Choose the Right Anchor
Despite what old naval movies would have you think, there’s more than just one style of anchor. Anchors come in all shapes and sizes to suit the weight of the boat, weather and water conditions, and what the bottom of the body of water is made of. Choosing the type of anchor that best suits your boat and where you regularly travel is the best way to ensure it’ll have the holding power to keep your luxury powerboat in place.
There are two anchor styles that most recreational boaters are drawn to:
- Fluke anchor – A small, foldable anchor equipped with two prongs designed to dig into mud and sand to keep boats from drifting. Fluke anchors are popular with boaters because they’re inexpensive, lightweight, can fold up for easy storage, and provide adequate holding power in most conditions. These anchors don’t work as well in a rocky bottom and are best suited for small to medium-sized boats.
- Plow anchor – A heavier anchor that provides excellent holding power for larger recreational boats in most bottom conditions. While it doesn’t fold up like the fluke anchor, it does a better job in rocky bottom conditions and can even reset itself if the wind shifts. This is the preferred anchor style for most mid to large luxury powerboats.
Once you decide on the anchor style that will work best for your boat and typical bottom conditions, you’ll need to consider the weight of the anchor. Obviously, heavier anchors are designed to hold heavier boats. If you choose an anchor that’s too light to hold your boat, the anchor won’t be able to grip the bottom, and you’ll end up drifting off anyway.
Generally, an anchor that weighs a few hundred pounds can secure a 10,000-pound boat (in normal weather conditions), but you should always consult the anchor manufacturer guide for your luxury powerboat to determine the weight you need.
How to Set an Anchor
Setting an anchor is a bit more complicated than just throwing the anchor overboard and hoping it sticks, so be sure to follow the proper steps to ensure your luxury powerboat won’t drift off and hit the shore or another boat:
- Determine the depth – If you can, find out how deep the water is before you send the anchor overboard, preferably with a depth finder. The depth of the water will determine the amount of rope or chain you’ll need to let out (also known as scope).
- Find scope ratio – Most boating experts suggest a scope ratio of 7:1, which is seven feet of rope or chain (rode) to every foot of water depth. That means if you want to anchor in ten feet of water, you need 70 feet of scope. If conditions are calm or you don’t have the space, you can decrease the ratio a bit, but don’t go below 5:1. If your scope ratio is too low, the anchor won’t be able to lay sideways and grab the bottom.
- Travel to the right spot – Because of the scope ratio, your luxury powerboat won’t stop exactly where you dropped the anchor; it’ll travel until the rope or chain is tight. If you’re in ten feet of water and using a 7:1 scope ratio, move your boat about 70 feet upwind of where you want to stop, lower the anchor, and drift back.
- Secure rode to bow cleat – Once enough scope has been let out, secure the rope or chain to a bow cleat (at the front of the boat). Never attach your anchor to the stern (back of the boat). The stern is the lowest part of the boat. If the anchor pulls too hard, it could cause swamping (letting water in) or even capsizing.
- Apply some power – Once the rode is tight, put your boat in reverse and give the engines a little bump to secure the anchor.
When it’s time to lower the anchor, many boaters think it’s fun to throw it overboard. This isn’t a good idea because you could drop the anchor, accidentally hit the side of the boat, or hurt yourself from the weight. It’s always best to gently lower the anchor over the side of the boat and always keep it under control.
Once you’ve got the anchor set (or at least you think you do), pick out a few landmarks on shore or use your GPS to check if the boat is drifting. If you notice your landmarks heading out of eyeshot, you might need to reset your anchor.
After you’re sure the anchor is set and you won’t drift away, you’re ready to enjoy a relaxing day at your favorite swimming or fishing hole.
Pulling Up the Anchor
What goes down must come up (at least in the case of anchors). Just like setting your anchor, there’s more to pulling it up than just yanking on the rode. That’s a good way to hurt your back or your luxury powerboat!
Follow these steps to raise anchor safely and successfully:
- Slowly move toward the anchor location while pulling in the rode.
- Once you’re directly over the anchor, it should move into a vertical position and come free from the bottom. If it doesn’t dislodge, slowly turn the boat in a circle to change the angle of pull on the rope. You can also pull the rode tight when the bow dips from a wave and tie it to a cleat. When the boat rises again, the buoyancy should pull the anchor free.
- Once dislodged from the bottom, you can safely pull the anchor up and into the boat.
If you absolutely can’t release a stuck anchor, no matter how hard you try, it’s always best to just cut the line and get a new anchor. Trying to pull up a stuck anchor using the boat’s engines is an easy way to damage your luxury powerboat—and those repairs will be much more expensive than a new anchor.
Follow Best Anchoring Practices for Your Luxury Powerboat
Every boater should know how to anchor their craft. Even if you prefer cruising and rarely stop, knowing how to successfully anchor can prevent damage to your luxury powerboat if it ever becomes stranded. Follow all anchoring best practices to ensure your boat doesn’t drift off accidentally.
If you’re tired of being “anchored” on land and want to buy a luxury powerboat of your very own, contact the experts at Mystic. We build custom boats designed with your unique style and needs in mind. Reach out to schedule a one-on-one meeting to discuss your needs and start enjoying your best life out on the water.