Published on Mar 22, 2010
Once you’ve found your slice of heaven on the lake, how do you keep your boat in place? Easy, just lower the anchor over the side, make sure it’s got a good grip on the bottom of the pond, then open the cooler and proceed to make generous quantities of fruity drinks with those adorable little umbrellas in ‘em.
Here’s How It Works
Anchors are designed to burrow into the ocean floor, lakebed, or river bottom. The more your boat pulls on the anchor, the harder the anchor digs its heels into the bottom. Anchors are stubborn; you’ve got to force them to let go.
Starting at the Bottom
The anchor you choose has a lot more to do with what’s underneath the water, than the type of boat you use. For instance, some anchors hold better in sandy bottoms, while others perform well in grassy or muddy riverbeds.
Not just any old anchor will work; you’ve got to have the right tool for the job.
Rode is Not the Past Tense of “Ride”…
…when we’re talking about anchors. The anchor rode is the line (“line” is the nautical term for rope) that attaches the anchor to your boat. We recommend nylon line because it’s strong and it stretches under a load—a good thing. Nylon is also less likely to deteriorate as quickly as other materials, thus theoretically having a longer service life.
An anchor rode consists of a long length of nylon line, a section of chain between three to six feet long (often the chain will be vinyl coated to prevent damage to the boat), and a couple of galvanized shackles to fasten the line, chain, and anchor together.
How Much Rode Is Enough?
The water depth and the weather conditions usually determine the amount of rode you have out (this is called “scope”) when you’re anchored. For instance, if the weather’s bad and the water’s rather deep, you’ll need to put out more rode for the anchor to have sufficient “bite” to secure your boat.
A good rule of thumb is you ought to have a minimum amount of anchor rode to equal five to eight times the depth of the water plus the distance from the water to where the anchor attaches to the boat, (5:1 scope for daytime anchoring, 8:1 for nighttime anchoring).
For example, if the distance from your bow cleat to the water is about three feet, and the water is twelve feet deep (fifteen feet total) and you want to anchor in the daytime, 5 X 15=75 feet of anchor rode is required.
On the other hand, if you’re spending the night on the boat in the same location, you’ll need roughly 120 feet of rode (8 X 15=120).
Seems like a lot of rode to keep aboard, but it’s better to have too much, than not quite enough.