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Do You Really Need an Anchor on Your Boat?


Press Release by United States Coast Guard Auxiliary – September 3, 2010, Contact Tom Loughlin

The federal government and most state governments do not require that an anchor be carried on board. But would you leave shore without a radio or a first aid kit? You aren’t required to have them either.

The answer is a matter of common sense and you wanting your passengers to have a safe boating trip. If someone gets a cut or a fish hook accident, you’ll want a first aid kit. If you need help or want to contact someone you will need a radio (cell phones depend on being in range of a cell tower).

An anchor could logically be considered a safety/emergency item and save the day. The normal use is to stop over your favorite fishing spot and use the anchor to maintain your position. Another use is to hold the boat in position while you and your friends wade to shore for a picnic. But then there is the frightening situation when your motor fails or runs out of gas and you begin drifting whatever way the current is going.

There is also the stressful situation when heavy weather or a fog bank reduces your visibility. Should this happen don’t try to outrun it to shore since a collision with something or someone could well be the result. Instead, pull well out of the channel, turn on your navigation lights and lower your anchor. A sufficient length of the anchor line should be 7 times the depth of the water. Don’t forget to sound your whistle or horn 2 long blasts at 2 minute intervals. And listen for the sounds of an approaching boat! Another good idea is to secure a fender to your anchor line where it is attached to the boat. The reason here is that if you do detect a boat heading your way and it is apparently not hearing or ignoring your warning sounds or radio calls on Channel 16 that you can cut the line and get out of the way. The fender would then allow you to return to the spot and retrieve your anchor.

The United States Coast Guard Auxiliary is the uniformed volunteer Component of the United States Coast Guard created by an Act of Congress in 1939. The Auxiliary, America’s Volunteer Guardians, supports the Coast Guard in nearly all of the service’s missions.