10 keys to successful anchoring

22 | 05 | 2023

The sun is creeping back, you can feel the warmth on your skin and the urge to get back out on the water! When the sun is shining, it’s the perfect time to anchor and enjoy yourself! Who has never dreamed of waking up peacefully in the morning, your boat anchored in a beautiful creek or looking out over a deserted beachand to feel alone in the world in the middle of nature, far from the frenzy of the ports, which are often very crowded in summer?

But, to be sure that you can enjoy your sunset cocktail or morning coffee on the deck, a few precautions are necessary to properly anchor your boat.

As a reminder, anchoring a boat is a maneuver that consists in immobilizing a boat at sea, by throwing its anchor or by mooring on a buoy, in an area along the coast that is sheltered from the wind and currents (e.g.: creek, bay).

In this article, we would like to remind you some tips on how to moor your boat properly.

  1. Take the time to choose a spot to anchor your boat
  2. Checking the weather
  3. Check the tides and water level in the anchorage area
  4. Check the turning area
  5. Have visual cues to control boat movement
  6. Have enough anchor line length
  7. Avoid tangling anchor lines with neighboring boats
  8. Signal with a white light when anchored at night
  9. Install a chain grip on the anchor line link
  10. Use mooring hooks to facilitate mooring on a trunk


A suitable environment to moor your boat

Take the time to choose a spot to anchor your boat

Before dropping anchor in a location, we advise you to walk around the anchoring area to get an idea of the mooring conditions and check that :

  • What is on the sea bed? Favour sandy or muddy bottoms for better anchoring, avoid grass beds to protect underwater habitats
  • How deep is the water? Have a sufficient bottom to avoid the boat running aground at low tide
  • The area is sheltered from prevailing winds and currents
  • The area is safe for you and other boats
  • The turning zone for other boats present is respected, in case the wind change.

Remember to check whether the area where you wish to moor your boat is an Anchorage and Light Equipment Zones (Zmel system). In this case, it is forbidden to drop anchor to avoid damaging the underwater habitats.
All of these factors should be taken into account when deciding on the location of your mooring.

Checking the weather

It is important to check the weather conditions and make sure they are stable for the next few hours at anchor. We advise you to use Windy, Windguru, Sailgrib or any weather forecast service to get a good weather forecast.

Check the tides and water level in the anchorage area

It is highly recommended to check the tide times and the water level in the area where you want to anchor. Indeed, if you plan to anchor for several consecutive hours, do not neglect the high and low tide schedules, in order not to have an unpleasant surprise and have to face a storm or not enough water depth to immobilize your boat.

Check the turning area

Mooring is all about compromise, you must give out enough chain to stop you from drifting, but take your neighbours into consideration too. The longer the chain, the larger the turning radius. This element must be taken into account in order to avoid any risk of collision with the neighbors. In addition, we do not recommend anchoring your boat in an area where the turning radius is restricted and does not allow you to be away from neighboring boats.

Moor your boat safely

Have visual cues to control boat movement

To make sure your boat doesn't skid, take visual cues. This way, with the help of alignments, you will be able to realize the movement of your vessel. You can also use applications that will alert you when your boat leaves its avoidance zone.

Have enough anchor line length

The length of the mooring line must be sufficient so that the chain can rest on the bottom. In fact, the length of chain should be at least 3 to 5 times the maximum water depth. In case of bad weather conditions, it is recommended to go up to 7 times the maximum water depth. This length corresponds to the distance that separates the moored anchor from the boat in case of climatic changes (wind, change of currents).
In order for the anchor to sink easily, the pull should be as vertical as possible.

Avoid tangling anchor lines with neighboring boats

To avoid tangling anchor lines with those of neighboring boats, it is better to anchor behind a boat at anchor than to moor just in front of it.

Signal with a white light when anchored at night

If you spend the night at anchor, be sure to signal your presence with a white light at the masthead, visible from a distance of 360 degrees by other boats underway. You can also add a light, suspended from the boom for example, which, at medium distance, will signal the presence of your boat.

Use stainless steel fittings to facilitate mooring

Install a chain grip on the anchor line link

Subjected to the boat's jerks on its anchor chain, the windlass tends to suffer. Thus, the installation of a chain grip is recommended to anchor with complete peace of mind and relieve the tension on the chain.

The chain grip settles on the boat's anchor chain. It hits on a link of the chain and is connected to the bow cleat by a shock cord. Once the mooring line is under tension, the chain is slackened. The tension is well taken by the mooring line and its chain grip. Be careful not to pass the chain grip in the link of the chain.
With its pre-spliced rope on the chain grip, the Wichard chain grip kit is perfect to enjoy a mooring in all tranquillity. In addition, the rope has a wear indicator that shows when it needs to be replaced.

Use mooring hooks to facilitate mooring on a trunk

To facilitate mooring on a trunk (buoy), we advise you to use simple mooring hooks or automatic mooring hooks. Both types of carabiners fit on all types of gaffs and are perfect for taking a trunk.