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Anchoring your boat

Anchoring, mooring and docking and How to anchor your boat

on August 15, 2021

Step by step guide on how to anchor, mooring, and dock like a pro. Learn the basics of anchoring, read about different types of anchors, and learn how to set them in this ultimate guide for new boat owners.

boat mooring, anchoring

How to anchor your boat? The difference between anchoring, mooring, and docking!

Are you a new boat owner, feeling unsure about the anchoring system or boat mooring, not sure about the mooring equipment you need? If you are a new boat owner do not fear in this blog, we will cover the basics, of anchoring, mooring, and docking. Step by step guide on how to anchor your boat!

Anchoring, mooring, and docking

There is a difference between anchoring, mooring, and docking; all terms refer to a vessel being secured in one position, each in a different way.


Anchoring your boat means dropping a large metal object attached to your boat by cable into the water. The anchor latches itself to the seabed with hooks and suction. You can anchor a boat anywhere if you have an anchor cable (known as an anchor rode). There are a variety of anchor shapes, types, and sizes for different functions and conditions. 

Anchor types


Mooring refers to any permanent structure where you can secure your boat to a fixed object by tying/attaching it to the object, such as; mooring buoy, dock, quay, wharf, jetty pier. Ropes, chains, and anchors that you use to moor your boat are considered "moorings."


  • Mooring anchor – This is a regular anchor in a fixed position that keeps the boat steady without connecting the boat to shore while it is being moored. 
  • Mooring chain – The mooring chain connects the anchor to the floating buoy. 
  • Mooring buoy – The weight of a mooring buoy is more than other types of buoys; the weight is like an anchor holding the buoy afloat in the water.

Mooring buoy, mooring buoys


Rafting Up: When you tie Boats together on the water, a boat moored to another boat you call it "Rafting up," which comes in handy when moorage stations are full or in emergencies.

Rafting up

Docking your Boat.

Docking your boat means pulling your boat up to a dock as parallel as you can and use DockLines  (ropes) and nautical knots to secure the boat to the dock.

To dock your boat safely, you need fenders, plastic, or rubber devices. Fenders protect your boat from damages. 

dock lines

Visit our Blog below for more information on docking your boat.

How to dock a Boat and How to tie a boat to the docks?

 connecting elements, nylon line  and bow cleats, dock cleats

 There are two categories for anchors:

Permanent anchor:

 A permanent anchor is called a mooring block and cannot be easily moved.

  • Mushroom: The mushroom anchor is one of the most common anchors; The shape is like an upside-down mushroom. The mushroom anchor is suitable where the seabed is composed of silt (fine sand or clay). A mushroom anchor will naturally sink in the silt (fine sand, clay, or other material carried by running water) to the point where it has displaced its own weight in the bottom material. Mushroom anchors rely upon suction and cohesion (forming a united whole) of the base material. This anchor's holding power is at best about twice its weight until it becomes buried when it can be as much as ten times its weight. They are available in sizes from about 5 kg up to several tons.
  • Pyramid anchors shape like a pyramid they are, also known as Dor-Mor anchors. They work in an upside-down position with the tip or forming point pointing down at the bottom so that when they deploy, the weight of the broader base pushes the pyramid down, digging into the floor. The side edges of the pyramids will dig deeper under the bed, making them more stable.
  • Deadweight: This heavyweight anchor relies on its weight to hold down the structure on the surface of the water; it is usually just a large block of concrete or stone at the end of the chain. You use Deadweight anchors where mushroom anchors are unsuitable, rock, gravel, or coarse sand; it has the ability to work in any condition of the ocean bed.
  • Auger: Auger anchors screw into the seabed with a tool; you require access to the bottom and a diver to do the work. Auger anchors can be used to anchor permanent moorings, floating docks, fish farms, etc. 


Temporary anchor:

 Temporary anchor is carried on the boat and can be moved. 


  • Grapnel Anchor is ideal for rough bottom structures such as rocks, corals, etc. The Grapnel has four or more tines, meaning one or more tines will hook and set in; however, sometimes the hook develops such a hold that it becomes difficult to retrieve. The Grapnel is light and can be used as a tool to recover gear that went overboard and is easy to move around. It is popular among anglers and can be used for small boats such as Kayaks, Dinghies, canoes, etc.

anchor line, grapnel anchoring system

Grapnel Anchor System

  • Herreshoff anchor is similar to the admiralty anchor; it can be broken down into three pieces, making storage easy. The Herreshoff anchor faces the problem of tangling up due to motion caused by waves and light currents; however, improved designs allow the anchor to function without the idle arm getting in the way of the anchor cable.
  • Danforth anchor is lightweight and a cost-effective easy to store anchor; the anchor uses two triangular blades/flukes attached to the shank to hook or dig into the ocean bed, offering high resistance once well set. The anchor does not hold in gravel or weeds.
  • Bruce anchors are shaped like a claw and are often referred to as the claw anchor; it is designed to hook into rocks and hard sand at the bottom of the ocean it is not intended for loose sand, mud, or silt. Bruce anchors are one solid construction piece, and they are big, taking up a lot of space; however, the anchor is trusted for its consistent grab in rocks and hard sand, and it stays set during wind changes. 
  • Fortress anchors are designed to perform and are proven to be one of the best anchors. Fortress anchors are sharper and able to penetrate faster and deeper into the most common sea bottoms. Fortress anchors are corrosion resistant and can easily be disassembled for storage; you have the option to chooses between two angles, shank or fluke, to provide high holding power – a 32ﹾ angle for sand, mud, or clay or 45ﹾ degree angle for soft mud.

Fortress anchor


drop anchor, anchor line

Safety tips to follow when anchoring your boat.

  • Choose a safe area to anchor your boat; keep in mind boat traffic, obstacles/structure, wind, and current. Always be on the lookout for other boats in the area.
  • The number one rule of anchoring, never attach the anchor to the stern of your boat, you risk taking on water, and the boat can capsize. "Stern anchoring is a BIG NO"
  • Chains are stronger than anchor lines made out of rope; go for the more substantial option. If you plan to travel and spend nights in the middle of the ocean, extra cable, chain, or rope will be a great idea.
  • Attach nylon anchoring line to the end of the chain using an anchor swivel; this is called rode (attaching nylon line to the chain). The nylon will act as a strain relief between the boat and the anchor.
  • Always keep an extra anchor on board because of the possibility of your anchor tangling up, and if retrieving it might be too difficult or dangerous, you will need to cut it loose. Anchors can get lost at sea; it happened before, so always be prepared.
  • Check the weather forecast if you are planning an extended stay.

floating buoy

Choosing the right anchor depends on your boat's size and weight, where you would like to use it, and what you would want to use it; some anchors are great at attaching themselves to rocks, whereas other anchors are not designed for rocks but rather soft sand. Check your user manual for anchor recommendations. 

Check out all our anchoring-docking products. 


How to anchor your boat:

Anchoring your boat is a necessary skill. Anchoring course is recommended as it would provide more details on all the do's and don'ts. 

  1. Ease the throttle so that your boat is at a standstill where you want the anchor to drop. 
  2. Check the water depth. 
  3. Calculate anchor scope. Scope calculation is the vertical distance from the sea bottom to the bow of the boat. (7:1 ratio is recommended if there is room) 
  4. Slowly motor into the wind or current, slightly further where you want to drop the anchor, and then slowly lower the anchor at the bow (front of the boat)
  5. Let the wind or current push your boat back; if there is no wind or current, move your boat into reverse; once you have let out enough scope secure the rode to the cleat, apply some power into reverse to set the anchor. 
  6. If you are moving, then you need to reset the anchor try a different spot then.
  7. Use your GPS to see exactly where you are anchored and make a note; check the GPS after an hour to ensure you did not drift. Never use another boat as your "anchored landmark," as they can move at any time, and you might think you are lost at sea. 

anchored boat, anchor rode

Check out all our anchoring-docking products. 

 Anchoring your boat is not that hard, all you need is some practice and a step-by-step guide to help you! Make sure you always have an extra anchor aboard! Mistakes do happen but don't let that set you back1 Share your common anchoring mistakes with us, share the experience!


 Marine Supplies US your number one Marine store, find your boat accessories on our online store! We supply the products you need, and we provide educational advice! The online store where you can anchor yourself, secure your boat with our boat products!


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