Cruising

Safe Anchoring Page 2

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If you’re dragging...

1. If the anchor starts to drag, start the engine, turn on the instruments and autopilot, and turn into the wind.

Visually check the courses to open water and compare them with the exit courses that you prepared after anchoring and taped to the steering pedestal.

2. Remain calm. Once I watched a dragging boat drive onto a reef simply because the helmsman panicked and lost his orientation.

3. Turn onto the safe heading if possible, but do not increase speed or alter course until you’re sure of your present position.

4. Visually identify as many things around you as you can. Continously check your bearings and avoid all known hazards.

5. Once you know your position you can begin to implement your exit plan. If the plan calls for you to leave the anchorage, do so only if it is safe. If it’s not safe, you may have to consider powering around in a circle until daylight.

Anchoring/Mooring

  • After you drop the anchor, back down and make sure it is properly set. If it isn’t, repeat the process.
  • Be sure the anchor is not hooked on something like a tire or tree branch; both could let go if the wind comes up. The best way to do this is by diving on your anchor and inspecting it.
  • Inspect your anchor rodes frequently. Check each link in chain for cracks, deformation and rust. Check a nylon rode for chafe. If there is any doubt about any section, replace it.
  • If you’re on a mooring, be sure it’s strong enough to hold your boat and make sure there’s plenty of chafing gear on the mooring pennant.
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