Jun 30 2023

Anchoring Etiquette

Published by at 7:00 am under Cruising

It’s always Happy Hour entertainment or a “what are they thinking” moment watching boats come in and anchor near us.  For those that have been doing it awhile, here’s a couple reminders…for the newbies, please practice, observe others, and ask questions.

  • when you arrive in anchorage, take note of how the boats are sitting to the wind and/or tide and set your anchor in the same direction.  If you have concerns, motor by an anchored boat and ask them where their anchor is and how much rode/chain they have out-they will appreciate your consideration
  • if the bay is empty, don’t crowd the only boat there…they may want their privacy and please, if possible, don’t anchor directly upwind from someone.  They don’t want to smell your cigarette smoke, BBQ or generator exhaust.
  • common anchoring protocol in our protected bays is a 3:1 scope…not difficult math…water is 30 feet deep means you set out 90 feet of chain (you will need more if you have a chain/rode (rope) combo).
  • when you’ve found your spot, motor around a 100-foot circle from your anticipated spot to check your depth and any obstacles, bring your boat head to wind/current (you’ve already checked how others around you are sitting) and then bring your boat to a COMPLETE STOP (look at the bubbles/seaweed in the water).  Drop your anchor to the depth of water you are in and then start backing down, letting out the scope you need.
  • When you reach your 3:1, slowly keep the boat in reverse as the anchor and chain set.  Site on the shore, both sides of your boat, for any movement and take note of landmarks (ie: flagpole lined up with window in red house, tree tops). Then put in neutral and again take note of your position.

Do Not just dump all your anchor and chain in one spot, turn off your engine and go ashore!  You would be surprised at how many do just that. We also watched a 35′ Bayliner drop what was maybe 40 feet of chain in 40 feet of water and then start backing down.  He traveled backwards from just off of Arrabella’s Landing, past a couple well anchored boats to the other side of Gig Harbor where the water finally got shallower and at that point, he connected with the bottom, about 50 feet from the beach!  Fortunately for him, it was high tide and calm weather-imagine how ugly it would be if it was different!  That is not the boater you want to be or to be next to in an anchorage!

Have fun this summer, be safe and be a good neighbor.


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