Anchors are required to be carried on many vessels operating on coastal and enclosed waters.

Anchoring may keep the vessel safely positioned head on to heavy conditions and it can also allow you to retain your position and not be swept away or on shore.

The use of a length of chain between the anchor and line is recommended. The purpose of the chain is to keep the shank of the anchor down as near as possible to parallel to the sea bottom.

As a guide, the length of the chain should be approximately equal to the length of the vessel.

Consider the following points in selecting the line you will be using:

  • don’t use a line that floats such as polypropylene, as it inhibits the anchor’s ability to dig in and is prone to being cut by other propellers
  • nylon and silver ropes have strength, stretching ability and resistance to abrasion, and don’t easily float in water
  • nylon is stronger than silver rope.

How to choose and use an anchor - video transcript

Choosing an anchor

Anchor types


  • recommended for small craft
  • small, light, easy to handle
  • excellent holding power, especially in sand, but may get caught on reefs


  • suited to larger and heavier vessels
  • excellent holding power, but best suited to mud; may get caught on reefs


  • flexible prongs (suitable for anchoring on reefs)
  • suited to snag and rock conditions

Sarca (sand and rock combination anchor)

  • superb holding power
  • multi-purpose—suited to mud, sand, gravel and rock bottoms not suited to snags

Sea anchor or drogue (not an approved anchor)

  • this may be anything that can be used for offshore boating to slow rate of drift, for example a large bucket trailing behind the vessel (drogue) or from the bow (sea anchor)
  • a sea anchor or drogue will not hold your vessel fast, so if using a sea anchor you must also carry an approved type of anchor

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