As summer quickly approaches, more boaters are on the water. With crowded waters, each boater needs to take extra precautions in order to insure a safe trip. The tips below will help guide you on how to handle crowded anchorages.
Choose the right anchor – it’s best to choose your largest claw or anchor in a tight anchorage situation. A heavier anchor will give your boat more security. Ideally, you should choose to use a Bruce, CQR, or Delta as these are well-tested and known to reset quickly if they start to drag.
Know your location – highlight your navigational chart to show dangerous shoal water, and make this at least 2 times your maximum draft. This way you have time to react should your boat start to drag into shallow water. Also, set the depth alarm on your nautical gps to trigger at desired depth.
Determine your swing circle – first fid your “corrected water depth.” You can do this by using the following equation: charted depth + rise to high tide + bow freeboard = corrected water depth. An example of this would be 12 (charted depth) + 5 (rise to high tide) + 3 (bow freeboard) = 20 (corrected water depth.) Next, you’ll want to multiply your desired scope (ratio of anchor rode for each foot of corrected water depth.) For example, a 7:1 scope would put out 140 feet of anchor rode (7 x 20.) This would make your maximum swing circle 280 feet in diameter (2 x 140.)
Follow suit – when approaching the area you’d like to anchor at, look at how other vessels are anchored. Are they using one anchor or two anchors? Have they streamed an anchor trip line with a buoy attached? If you follow suit, then your boat will swing in a similar fashion. Also, try to anchor next to other boats with designs similar to your boat’s design. Again, your boat will swing a similar manner.
Add a little security – In some anchoring situations you may not be able to put out enough scope. If this is the case add some extra weight. Attach a sentinel to a strong, light line and send it down the anchor rode. This will put a bend in the anchor line to help keep the anchor more secure.
Put these boat anchoring tips into play and keep your boat under control in crowded anchorages.