Here is a simple step by step process that will allow you and your crew to anchor confidently and quietly.
1. Select your anchorage using the criteria in “Choosing Your Anchorage“.
2. Check the chart for any hazards and circle around your selected anchoring watching your depth sounder.
3. Discuss with your crew your anchoring plan so everyone knows where you plan to anchor.
4. Proceed to your desired anchoring location, heading into the wind or current, whichever is stronger.
5. Have your crew lower the anchor until it is just in the water. The crew can observe the wave around the anchor and observe when the vessel has stopped.
6. Go astern with your engine(s) to stop the vessel.
7. When the crew observes there is no wave around the anchor, that is the signal to lower away.
8. At this time your vessel will be moving astern as the crew pays out the anchor rode. It is important that there be no tension in the anchor rode as this will cause the anchor to drag across the bottom.
9. You may need to go to neutral to reduce the vessel’s speed.
10. When the crew has let out the correct amount of rode, see “What is Scope”, they secure the anchor rode by cleating the line or stopping the winch.
11. When the anchor bites into the bottom, tension will come on the rode and the bow of the vessel will swing and point towards the anchor.
12. The crew will observe the anchor rode coming taut and the angle of the rode to the water surface will decrease.
13. Operate astern propulsion while everyone aboard observes a range or transit abeam. This is simply two objects ashore that are in line. If the objects remain in line then the vessel is not moving and the anchor is set.
14. To confirm that the anchor is well set, you may want to slowly increase engine RPMs while observing the range. It is better to find out the anchor is not holding at 4:00 pm than at 4:00 am!
15. Once you are satisfied that the anchor is holding, slowly idle down and go to Neutral. You will observe the range moving as the anchor rode pulls the vessel forward.