If you are not familiar with boat anchors, then you will probably get an image of an old fisherman anchor (boat anchor tattoo on poppy’s hand) when you think about a boat anchor. And wondered why do boats need anchors? And how they work? Okay, let’s see them.
Boats need anchor because they help the boat to hold at a place or point in the middle of the sea or ocean or lake without drifting along with the currents of air or water. Without a boat anchor, the boat will be carried slowly by a current of air or water (drifts). So, boats need anchors.
The essential reason to carry a boat anchor is to hold the boat at any place in the water without drifting. If the boat engine is damaged or got some problem and the engine stopped working, and if you are in the middle of the sea, then you need to anchor your boat to prevent drifting away in the water.
Otherwise, if you don’t have an anchor, then you can’t hold the boat in one place, and it can drift in the water and can cause any boating accidents by hitting some other boats or rocks in the water.
Then you might think that you can manage without an anchor by not stopping in the middle of the sea or lake. Yeah, you can do that, but if the boat engine breaks down or stops working due to any reason, then you can’t move the boat, and the boat can drift in the water if there are any currents.
Also, some people say that boat anchors are like brakes for boats. But it’s not like that. Anchors cannot be used to stop the boat; they help to hold in the middle of the water without drifting away with currents of wind or water.
Boat anchors are essential for a boat, and a boat needs at least one anchor to stay at a place in the middle of the water without drifting. While buying a boat itself, you need to buy an anchor. Check my article on Choosing a perfect boat anchor for your boat (opens in new tab) to get a detailed analysis of what to consider while purchasing an anchor.
How many anchors are needed for a boat?
Now that you have understood the needs of an anchor for a boat, then the other question you might get in your mind is how many anchors are required for a boat.
How many boat anchors are needed for a boat depends on many factors such as type of water you will boat (choppy or normal), type of the boat you have, and where you will boat (lakes or seas or oceans). One anchor is mostly sufficient for a boat, but if you boat in harsh weather, you might need two.
The main problem with having one anchor for a boat is if you anchored the boat and the weather is bad, the boat can swing around a single point. To prevent that swing around a single point (anchor), you can use two anchors for holding the boat firmly without swinging much.
Generally, the people who live on boats or go on oceans or seas will carry two anchors for safety purposes (if one breaks, then you can use another one). Or one for general purpose uses (every day anchoring) and another for harsh weather such as hurricanes.
For the boats that go in closed waters (such as lakes or ponds) and small boats, mostly, one anchor is sufficient. And for big boats (above 30 or 35 feet in length), it is recommended to carry two anchors for safety purposes.
Overall, for small boats and boats the go in closed water (lakes or ponds), one good anchor is sufficient. And for big boats, for the boats that go in open waters (seas or oceans), having two anchors are useful (one for everyday anchoring and another for handling harsh weather).
Do all boats need an anchor?
All boats need anchors because anything can happen while boating (such as engine failure), then you need something to hold the boat without drifting away with winds or currents in the water. Even for small boats, it is recommended to take a small anchor. So, anchors are essential for all boats.
Not only the engine failure or bad weather, even if you want to stay for some time in the middle of the sea or lake for a while (fishing or something else), then you need something to hold the boat without drifting away with winds or currents in the water. Even for small boats such as kayaks, paddleboats, dinghies, etc. are required to carry a small anchor with the boat for safety purposes.
Anchors are essential for a boat regardless of the boat type or size. If the weather changes, then the boat can drift easily in the water. So, to hold the boat, you need an anchor.
Types of boat anchors
You might think why we need different types of anchors, why can’t we use a single anchor. The purpose of different types of anchors is due to different kinds of bottoms you will find in the sea or lake. In one place, you might find a sand bottom (sand at the bottom of the lake or sea), and in another place, you might find a different bottom.
One anchor will work well for a few bottom types, not all. Meaning, you need different anchors for different bottom types. So, they invented all those different types of anchors, which will set for all the types of bottoms.
Each anchor works well only for some bottom types. Meaning if you buy fluke anchor, it will work well for sand, mud, and silt bottoms and not for the rest of the bottoms. The primary anchor types for boats are listed below. Many boaters will use either one or two of those anchors.
- Fluke or Danforth anchor – for sand, mud, silt, and soft clay bottoms.
- CQR or Plow anchor – mostly for all bottoms types, and doesn’t work well for grass and weed bottoms.
- Delta or Wings anchor – mostly for all bottoms types, and doesn’t work well for grass and weed bottoms.
- Bruce or Claw anchor – for sand, mud, and silt bottoms.
- Modern anchors or New generation anchors – works well for all bottom types.
- Mushroom anchor – for soft bottoms only and used for small boats, such as kayaks and small dinghies.
- Grapnel anchor – for soft bottoms only and used for small boats, such as kayaks and small dinghies.
These are the basic types of anchors, and these are used majorly by the boaters. Check my article on choosing an anchor (opens in a new tab) to know more about those anchors in detail.
Boat anchors are used to hold the boat at a place in the middle of the sea or ocean or lake without drifting away with currents of air or water. Without a boat anchor, the boat will be carried slowly by a current of air or water (drifts). So, boat anchors are essential for a boat.