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Q & A
Anchor Rope
What's the correct length of rope that should be attached to an anchor? I say that you should have at least 10 times the amount of line out as the depth of the water.  My buddy says you only half of that. Who is right? Does it even matter?
Anchors hold best when the pull of the "rode" on the anchor is as near to horizontal as possible. The holding power of an anchor increases as the "scope" ratio increases. A ratio of 7:1 is standard; 10:1 is better in rough water. For example, if boating in eight feet of water and the bow is two feet above the waterline, 70 feet of rode is recommended. Boaters should carry at least two anchors. A smaller, lighter anchor is good for use in calm weather and for positioning a boat, and a larger anchor is best for bad weather or when anchoring overnight. Boats should never be anchored from the stern (back of the boat), especially in current.

Anchor rode illustration

To anchor, the boat should be headed into the wind or current. The engine is then reversed or the boat is allowed to back off. When the boat starts to go backward through the water, the anchor is lowered from the bow (front of the boat). As the line goes over the side of the boat, no one should be standing on any part of it. The end of the anchor rode (called the bitter end) must be secured to the boat. When about a third of the rode is out, the rode is tied off to a forward cleat to make the anchor dig into the bottom. Once the anchor digs in, the remaining rode is let out. A sight bearing is then taken on some stationary objects to make certain that the anchor is not dragging on the bottom.

When "weighing" (pulling up) anchor, boaters must be careful. The combination of anchor pull, current and weight can swamp a small boat. The anchor should be lifted as vertically as possible. As it is lifted, it can be washed. Care should be taken that it does not hit the side of the boat.

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PA Boating Handbook
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