How to anchor a boat

How to anchor a boat
Anchoring a boat safely and securely is a very important boating skill. Of course, learning how to anchor effectively takes practice and patience. To help you along, we’ve blogged our top tips for anchoring like a pro.


Here’s what you need to know.


How to anchor a boat | Quick tips


  1. Work out the depth of the water before you drop the anchor.
  2. Determine the right anchor scope (an ideal ratio is 7:1).
  3. Lower your anchor and release enough scope.
  4. Make sure the rope is secured to a bow cleat.
  5. Check the anchor does not drag.
  6. Confirm this by using landmarks or electronics to see if there is any drag.
  7. Reset the anchor if this is required.
  8. When retrieving the anchor, pull the rope while slowly motoring towards the anchor.
  9. Don’t forget – an anchor should never be tied off to the boat’s stern.


How to set an anchor

  • When setting an anchor, your first step is to work out the depth of the water you’re dropping it into. If you have a depth finder, use this.
  • Then, use the depth of the water to work out the right amount of anchor scope.
  • A 7:1 anchor scope ratio is typically recommended when room permits – this is a seven foot scope to a foot of water depth.



  • The depth of the water is 10 feet.
  • If there is a current or wind, motor approximately 70 feet from where you would like to position your boat.
  • Drop the anchor and let the current or wind take the boat back 70 feet.
  • If there is no current or wind, reverse the boat 70 feet.
  • Let out the recommended amount of scope, then tie the anchor rode to a bow cleat.
  • Set the anchor by reversing with some power.


What about anchor drag?

Whenever you are anchored, you will need to be extra vigilant, to ensure the anchor stays in the correct position. To check the anchor is set:

  • Look onshore for two landmarks, and use them as a reference point.
  • If you have a chart plotter, GPS or depth finder, set these to alert you if the boat begins to move.
  • If changes to the tide, winds or current occur, this may result in the boat swinging over the anchor, which may cause the anchor to reset itself.
  • If this occurs, the anchor will need to be reset,


How to raise an anchor

  • To retrieve the anchor, motor slowly towards it while pulling up the rode.
  • The anchor will pull free when you are positioned directly above it.
  • If this doesn’t happen and the anchor is stuck, slowly turn the vessel in a large circle to alter the direction of the rope’s pull.
  • Another strategy is to bring the rode up until the vessel is directly above the anchor. Then, turn the rope around a cleat.
  • If there is swell, pull the line taut as the bow dips in the trough of a wave. The anchor may then break free when the following wave raises the boat up.


For more great information on how to anchor a boat, head here.


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