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VOL. 11 NO. 10
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Anchoring under power

How to anchor your powerboat

Anchoring under power

Setting an anchor under power is simple; it’s amazing that many people get it wrong so often. The steps apply to both powerboats and sailboats.

  1. Head into the wind or current, whichever is stronger.
  2. Bring the boat to a dead stop.
  3. As the boat begins to gather sternway, ease the anchor to the bottom either hand over hand or with the windlass. Don’t just let the rode run out uncontrolled.
  4. Apply a touch of throttle in reverse to get the boat moving astern. If it’s windy, this won’t be necessary.
  5. As the boat drifts back, pay out the rode, keeping slight tension on it so it forms a line across the seabed. The boat will probably lie broadside to the wind.
  6. When you have paid out about half your intended scope, snub the rode until you feel resistance from the anchor, and resume easing it out.
  7. Keeping tension on the rode, pay out another quarter of the scope and snub again momentarily.
  8. With the boat still moving astern, secure the anchor rode when the desired scope has been paid out. The boat’s weight should dig the anchor in solidly; the anchor rode will rise out of the water in a straight line.
  9. To make doubly sure the anchor is well dug in, back down with the engine at half throttle for 30 seconds. The boat should move forward on the rode when you ease the throttle.
  10. If you don’t get your anchor to set the first time, try again. If it still won’t set, try another spot.

Common mistakes include letting chain pile up on top of the anchor, letting the anchor go while the boat is still moving forward, going astern so quickly that the anchor doesn’t have a chance to dig in, and anchoring too close to other boats.

The most common mistake of all is failing to let out enough scope.

To learn more about anchoring, take our Anchoring seminar at a squadron near you.
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