Marine News from the Great Lakes

Anchoring Tips

Published: Friday, April 28, 2017
By: Mark Pocock, Rocna Anchors

By: Mark Pocock, Rocna Anchors,

Anchoring can be stressful! But with the right ground tackle and a bit of preparation, it opens up a whole world beyond the marina experience. Here are a few tips to help you make the most of your next cruising adventure.

1) Start with the right gear and setup.

  • Next generation anchors, such as the Rocna or Vulcan, offer significantly more holding power and quicker setting performance across a range of bottom types compared to older style anchors. There are few things worse than dragging your anchor across the bottom trying to get it to set – step up to some new gear, and it can simplify your life!
  • Check your shackle! This crucial link between your chain and anchor should be in good condition, load-rated to match your chain, and secured with seizing wire to ensure it does not work its way loose at the worst possible moment.
  • Mark your rode. It is important to know how much rode you have laid out, so use a marking system. You can buy tags, or just make up a system using cable ties to mark your rode every 25 feet.
  • Secure the bitter end! Make sure the end of your rode is secured to a hard point on the boat, so that you don’t accidentally pay out too much and watch the end disappear over the side. It is called the bitter end for a reason!

2) Understand scope.

All anchors require the correct scope to set and hold properly.  Scope is the ratio between the amount of rode you let out to the depth of water plus bow height. For example, if your bow height above the water is 3’, and you are in 17’ of water, then a 5:1 scope would require (3+17) x 5 = 100’ of rode. Scope required is:

  • 3:1 minimum
  • 5:1 for overnight (also best for setting in weeds or hard bottoms)
  • 7:1 or more for severe weather

3) Set your anchor.

It is important to ensure your anchor is properly “set” (dug in). Pick your anchoring spot, drop the anchor, then back down slowly while paying out rode. Once you have the correct scope, cleat off the rode and back down slowly with the engine at low revs. You will know the anchor is set when you stop moving backwards. Take a range ashore if you are unsure whether you have stopped.

With these tips and some practice you will be able to range further afield and enjoy the beauty of some of our wonderful anchorages. Happy anchoring!

tags: Anchors, Boating 101

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