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It Would Have Made a Great Video

By Wayne Spivak, ADSO-CS 1SR
United States Coast Guard Auxiliary

Last summer, my wife and I met up with two other boats at Zachs Bay, a cove by Jones Beach on the South Shore of Long Island, NY. While the friends were conversing, a twenty-seven foot cabin cruiser motored to a position about 10 feet west of us. The actions of the Skipper of that Twenty-seven footer have given all of us hours of chuckles, humorous stories and a great safety and education lesson. The skipper of this vessel broke almost every anchoring lesson we teach in our Coast Guard Auxiliary Basic Boating Course.

After the skipper of the cabin cruiser skillfully positioned his boat, he turned off his engine and broke out his anchor, in order to prepare for the anchoring. What happens next was unbelievable! You had six individuals, four of whom had just finished the Basic Boating Course, and two others who have been boating for years aghast!

After breaking out his anchor and line, the skipper stepped to the stern of his boat, took aim and with great effort did throw out his anchor. The anchor flew through the air and then took a majestic arch hitting the water about eight feet away from his boat. As the anchor is falling to the bottom (which was only about six feet) we all kept seeing the line following this anchor down and down and down. Not just a few extra feet of line followed the anchor, but all the line, including the bitter end. This skipper had forgotten to tie off the line to the boat.

If this was not funny enough, the skipper then proceeded to jump off his boat into the Bay to retrieve the anchor. During the jump, he stepped on his dingy that was precariously tied down to his stern rails. For his next attempt at anchoring, the skipper gave his wife the bitter end and repeated the anchor throw. This time, he did not lose the anchor line and was able to tie off his anchor line.

This skipper obviously never took a boating course. He violated the following rules we were all taught in Basic Boating:

  • Don’t turn off the engine until you have secured your vessel, or are confident the anchor has set.
  • You never throw an anchor; you drop an anchor.
  • Make sure the anchor line’s bitter end is secured to the boat prior to dropping your anchor.
  • Never just jump off your boat without making sure of what’s underneath the water.
  • If you’re going to violate these safety rules, don’t do it with fifty boats anchored within eye shot!

For more information about Boating Education, contact your local Coast Guard Auxiliary Flotilla, either thru your local Coast Guard Station or on the web at