Chapter 6: Navigation Aids

Anchor Types and Uses

Whether the boat is a powered or sailing vessel, one should have an anchor. Anchors are useful tools to have on board, in various scenarios, but in an emergency can potentially save one’s life. Here are three different anchor types along with proper uses:

Danforth Anchor


Pivoting flukes are used to bury this anchor. Danforth's are most useful in waters with soft bottoms, with grass or mud.

Mushroom Anchor


Mushroom anchors are usually used for canoes and small craft. These are best suited for waters with an even, flat bottom.

Plow Anchor


Plow anchors dig in when pulled, hence the name "plow." Plow anchors are useful for rocky bottoms, grassy waters, and weeds.

Additionally, one will need a line or chain to attach to the anchor. The line or chain is often referred to as the "rode." The combination of the rode and anchor is called the "tackle."

When it comes to selecting the length of the rode, the general rule is 7 to 10 times the depth of water in which one plans to anchor which will require more rode in harsher conditions.

If the engine fails in rough waters and in strong currents, one will be happy to have the anchor. They are vital in emergency situations. Because of this, make sure that the anchor is always readily accessible and the rode is untangled and neat.