5 Tips for Finding a Good Place to Anchor
One of the best things about boating is the freedom to go off and find some quiet cove where you can spend a day picnicking and swimming, or a night sleeping on the water under the stars. But there’s much more to it than just dropping your anchor any place you find. Follow these tips to help you pick out a great anchorage.
- Protection is key. Find a place that will shield your boat from wind and waves. Consider the direction wind and waves are coming from, and then tuck into a harbor or behind an island where your boat will be protected from rough conditions.
- Consider possible hazards. Look for any hazards you might encounter in your anchorage. Avoid dangerous rocks and shoals or changing currents. Find out if there are any underwater cables or chains along the bottom. And try to avoid places with heavy boat traffic.
- Find good holding ground. Bottom conditions are often noted on nautical charts with an “S” for sand and an “M” for mud. Consider what you have for an anchor as some work better in soft mud while others do better in hard sand. Also, avoid sloping or grassy bottoms.
- Pick a good depth. A perfect anchorage at high tide can turn into a nightmare at low tide if your boat is sitting in mud. Check the area’s tidal range. Also, make sure the water isn’t too deep, or you’ll have trouble holding.
- Make sure you have plenty of room. Even when anchored your boat is still moving. And with just a little breeze, it can swing around on its line. Give your boat enough room to swing in a circle around the anchor. And don’t anchor upwind of another vessel or you could end up over their anchor.