How to choose and use an anchor - video transcript

In Victoria it is law to carry an anchor if you're boating in the saltwater.

And that's because an anchor in an emergency situation is one piece of equipment that could save you and your vessel.

But an anchor is so much more than that. Whether you are fishing or diving or socialising, perhaps pulling up somewhere for the night, knowing how to effectively use your anchor to get the best from it will make your day out on the water even more enjoyable.

Anchors come in all different shapes and sizes and it's important to find the one that's right for you and your boat.

Common mistakes when anchoring are: not letting enough anchor rope out, having the wrong anchor and not having the right length of chain.

A drifting boat when you're meant to be anchored can be annoying if you're fishing, or downright dangerous if you need to hold firm in heavy weather or during the night.

Once you've chosen an anchor, it's vital to ensure it is set up correctly.  

Now it's a good idea to get familiar with your anchor, let's face it spends most of its time tucked away in the bow of the boat. You've got to make sure that all the connections are solid, that your  D shackles are not going to give way and that you lose your anchor from your rope. Another thing you've got to make sure is you have enough chain. A chain is your friend when it comes to anchoring. And a good rule of thumb is at least one boat length but more will not hurt. And it makes your connection to the bottom is as solid as a rock.

With a well set up anchor and at least one boat length of chain, the next trick is to ensure you let out enough anchor rope.

For most situations, there's a pretty simple ratio to remember.

The normal rule for anchoring is if it's a good day, and you haven't got much breeze, you only want to put about 3 times the depth out, but if it's starting to get a bit windy then you probably want to look at putting at least 5 times your depth out.

Yep let it rip!

If you feel that you're drifting, you may want to take a reference mark back to the shore, just to pick up whether you are drifting, and just place some more anchor line out and just see how that sits.

Once you've picked an anchorage or sounded a school of fish and you want to anchor, there's a few basic tips to make the process easier.

Firstly, head into the wind or current, drive slowly to where you want to drop the pick, then lower it to bottom rather than just throwing the whole thing over the side. That can lead to tangles.

 As the person on the bow drops the anchor, just put the boat in reverse and reverse off and it all lays out nicely. Remember if there's other boats around you, it will swing around the anchor as the tide turns, so just bare that in mind. And once you're anchored, take a point of reference off the land, that way you'll know if your dragging. The most important thing if you don't have an anchor winch, get somebody else to pull it up.

So the simple tips are, make sure have enough chain, as a bare minimum that's at least one boat length. Let out enough rope, remember three times the amount of rope to the depth of water you are in. Slowly reverse off the spot as the anchor is deployed. Give yourself plenty of swinging room and take a point of reference off the land or set your anchor alarm on your GPS to ensure you are not drifting.