How to Choose an Anchorage

Posted on Jul 06, 2017

How to Choose an Anchorage

One of the best things about boating is the chance to anchor in a quiet, peaceful cove where you can relax, swim or picnic on a remote beach. But anchoring is more than just dropping your hook wherever you feel like it. Here are some tips on how to choose a great anchorage.

  • Do research. Use information in guidebooks and online to pick out an anchorage before your trip. Pick a few options in case your first choice is crowded or has other problems.
  • Find protection. Your anchorage should help protect your boat. Consider the direction of the wind and waves, then tuck into a harbor or behind an island where your boat will be shielded from rough conditions.
  • Look for hazards. Identify any hazards you might encounter in the anchorage, such as changing currents, dangerous rocks and shoals, or if cables or chains run along the bottom.
  • Choose an appropriate depth. A good anchorage at high tide could leave you grounded at low tide. Check the area’s tidal range to avoid grounding. Also, if the water is too deep, you’ll have difficulty holding.
  • Give yourself room. A small breeze can make your boat swing around on its line. Give your boat plenty of room so it can swing in a circle around the anchor.
  • Find good holding ground. Bottom conditions are often noted on charts with an “S” for sand and an “M” for mud. Consider what type of anchor you have as some work better in soft mud while others work better in hard sand. Avoid sloping or grassy bottoms.