Of all the great experiences available to boaters, one of the best has to be the opportunity to anchor in some quiet cove where you can enjoy your surroundings, go for a swim or picnic on a secluded beach. But there’s more to anchoring than just dropping your hook somewhere. Follow these tips to avoid problems when anchoring.

Do Research.
Choose your anchorage beforehand using information in guidebooks and online. Also, check your charts. Pick a few options just to be safe in case your first choice is crowded or has other problems.

Seek Out Protection.
You want an anchorage that will help protect your boat. Consider the direction of the wind and waves and then tuck into a harbor or behind an island where your boat will be shielded from rough conditions.

Look For Hazards.
Consider what hazards you might encounter in the anchorage, such as changing currents or dangerous rocks and shoals. Also, consider if it is crowded with boat traffic, and if there are cables or chains along the bottom.

Pick the Right Depth.
A good anchorage at high tide can turn bad if at low tide your boat is sitting in mud. Check the area’s tidal range to avoid grounding. Also, make sure the water isn’t too deep or you’ll have difficulty holding.

Give Yourself Room.
Even a small breeze can make your boat swing around on its line. Give your boat plenty of room so it can swing in a circle around the anchor. And don’t anchor upwind of another vessel or you could end up over their anchor.

Look for Good Holding.
Bottom conditions are often noted on charts with an “S” for sand and an “M” for mud. Consider what type of anchor you have, as some work better in soft mud while others work better in hard sand. Avoid sloping or grassy bottoms.

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