Boat Anchors - Anchor Chains, Ropes, Lines, Rollers, Shackles & Rodes How-Tos

How to Anchor a Boat (Video)

In this 3 minute video, learn how to anchor your boat, brought to you by "The Boating Guy" from Discover Boating.

Video Transcript

Hello, I'm Keith the boating guy. Now, given that I'm the boating guy, what I'm about to say to you may surprise you. But, here it goes. Anchoring your boat can be almost as much fun as cruising. OK, let me explain. It's true that few activities can compare with being out in the water, zipping along, enjoying the sunshine, watching the waves. You get the idea. But lets say you stopped to go swimming or fishing, relax, or just hang out in a quiet cove with your friends or family. Now, that's when anchoring can be fun! The truth is: the ability to anchor your boat securely is a necessary boating skill. Anchoring can help you control your boat in bad weather or, Keep you boat secure when the engine boat has quit, or the wind and current are pushing you around or towards shore. Anchors are made to burro into the bottom. And, if an anchor is set right, the more your boat pulls on the anchor, the harder the anchor digs into the bottom. Choosing the right anchor has more to do with whats under the water than the type of boat that you have. For instance, some work best in sandy bottoms, where others are made for grassy or muddy river beds. Lets take a look at some popular anchors and see where to use them.

Pivoting steel Fluke Anchors:

These are made to work in mud and sand. They are perhaps the most common of all anchors available. The Pivoting Steel Fluke Anchor has two steel points that pivot and dig into the bottom.

Plow and Claw Anchors:

This type is similar to Pivoting Steel Fluke Anchors, except the pointy part is actually stationary. These are good for holding your boat in rocks and weeds, and even sand also.

Grappling Anchors:

These they look like a big grappling hook. They are used with small boats when the water conditions are very mild.

Mushroom Anchors:

They don't have a lot of holding power and they are generally used on skiffs, canoes, and inflatable boats.

Land and Shoreline Anchors:

They're used when we want to secure a boat to a beach.

Of course, to talk about anchoring, we need to know the lingo. The anchor rode is the line- line being the nautical term for rope that attaches the anchor to the boat. Now scope is the term for the amount of road you have when you are actually anchoring. An anchor road is made up of a long of length of line. I recommend nylon. It's strong. It stretches under load and it lasts for a long time. It should have several feet of chain, a couple a shackles to fasten the line, the chain, and the anchor all together. How do you know how much road to you need? Well, it's simple math. A good rule of thumb is to have the anchor road 5 to 8 times the depth of the water. Use a 5 to 1 scope for daytime anchoring and an 8 to 1 scope when anchoring at night. Here's an example to make it easier. Say you're in 10 foot of water and you want an anchor line. Well you need your line to be between 50 to 80 foot- the 5 to 1 or 8 to 1 road. Now what if your in 50 foot water? You would need an anchor line of 250 feet or 400 feet- there is your 5 to 1 and 8 to 1 road. Well, it's much easier than you think. When you get out in the water, you'll try it and will do fine. Hope to see you out there. Good luck and safe boating.

How to Create a Rope-to-Chain Splice by Boating Magazine

A video presentation on how to create a rope-to-chain splice. Presented by Boating Magazine

Video Transcript

Hi I'm Jim Hendricks with Boating Magazine. Today we're going to create a rope-to-chain splice. This is the splice you need for your electric anchor windlass to feed the rope and the chain both through the windlass and feed it in and out of the anchor locker. Now we've already separated the three strands and created a whip here to keep strands from separating any further. So let's get started with that splice.

Alright it's important that when you doing the rope-to-chain splice to secure the chain otherwise it's going to be falling everywhere. Now the first if you want to do is feed the strands through the chain itself. So we start by feeding one, two in one direction. And then we're going to feed the opposite strand in the opposite direction. So now we have two strands going through the chain in one direction and one strand going through the chain in the opposite direction.

Now your next step is to start splicing into the rope itself. Usually you are going to start with a single strand and come through. Now what's important here is that you are getting these as tight as possible. So we have already put one strand through and then what we want to do is look for the next opening in the three strand and put the next strand through. So that comes through just like this. The goal here is to kind of create kind of an even split between all of the various splices. So once we get a pattern going then it becomes very easy to get a nice tight rope-to-chain splice. As you can see what we've done here is we've got all of the strands coming through the main the running line and now we're just going to repeat this process for each strand.

So here we go, here goes the next one. The next one comes through like this nicely and then you move on to the next splice which comes through like this. Alright and then into the next strand which comes through this one right here. Now one thing I forgot to mention earlier that is it's helpful to tape off these ends so that when you're running these through here, the strands don't separate any further. So now we've got two of our splices done and making sure they are fairly taught as we're pulling them along. Now this process is repeated until you have about six or seven splices through the main running line. Once we have that done, we'll move on to the next step.

Okay now we finished our splicing of the rope. Well not quite but we finished weaving the three strands back through the running line and we're just about done here. We've done about five or six splices back through the rope. You don't want to get it, you don't want to have too many, you don't want to have it too thick because this still has to feed through the windlass so that's important. So what we did is we taped off our three strands and cut those off.

A few other tools that I want to mention that are helpful to you when you're doing those project. One is a Marlon spike; this helps you kind of open up the three strand rope and get the strands to fed back through there. The other is some tape; some masking tape will work, so will electrical tape. The other thing you might have handy is a pair of scissors. Now the fourth item that we're going to talk about is some kind of torch or lighter or butane lighter of some sort that allows you to melt these lines so that they don't come unraveled. So that's what we're going to do next.

Okay now we've melted two of the ends to finish off our splice. We're going to melt the third one. What you'll need is a butane torch such as this one. Basically we have cut the end as tight as we can to the splice and then we use to butane torch here to melt it. What you want to do is kind of let that end of that rope get kind of nice and warm and melty. And ideally it will blend right into the rope and become part of the splice. Occasionally the wind will blow out your butane torch, you have to re-light it.

Try not to melt any other part of the line except the end of that strand that is sticking out of the splice. So once it gets kind of nice and warm and bubbly then you can kind of left it just kind of recede into your line. And if you want take your Marlon spike and smooth it out a little bit, let it kind of become part and parcel of that splice and there you go.

So there you go we have our rope-to-chain splice for use with an electric anchor windlass. The splice will feed in and out of the windlass, will come in and out of the anchor locker and the more you use it, the more smooth it will become. Now every year, season or two you might have to redo the splice as it becomes a little frayed and worn out. But now you know how to do it.

For Boating Magazine I'm Jim Hendricks.