Anchoring a fishing boat from the stern can offer a sense of stability and control, but it also carries significant risks that every angler should be aware of.
From loss of maneuverability to the threat of capsizing, we explore the various factors that make stern anchoring a potentially treacherous endeavor. By understanding these perils, anglers can make informed decisions, adopt safer practices, and ensure a more secure and enjoyable fishing experience.
What is the Major Danger of Anchoring a Fishing Boat from the Stern?
For those not completely familiar with the term, the Stern is the back of the boat. The front is called the bow. One might think that tying the anchor to the back of the boat would be safe and effective, but it really can be the opposite of both of those things.
So, what is the major danger of anchoring a fishing boat from the stern? Here are the top dangers and issues that you should be aware of.
1. Risk of Capsizing the Boat
The biggest risk of anchoring only from the back of the boat is the waves overcoming the rear and the boat filling with water. When a storm hits, the boat will pull in the same direction as the current. So if you are tied off to the stern, that means the back of the boat will be facing into the wind and taking the brunt of the waves.
If you have a boat like mine, the back of the boat is significantly lower to the water than the front. The stern is also where most of the heavy equipment is like the drive and engine.
In this scenario, the heaviest part of the boat that is also the shortest is being held down by the anchor while the waves continue to pound it. It’s super dangerous and can sink a boat very quickly.
I’ve seen it happen to a couple at Lake Powell. They tied their anchor to the rear of the boat and nosed it onto shore. However, when the storm hit, the boat came off the shore, and the waves slowly started to fill the boat until it was completely gone. Only the tower stood above the water.
DON’T DO IT!
2. Reduced Maneuverability
When you anchor a boat from the back it really limits how the boat can move. The potential to get entangled with the prop is high and if you have some kind of emergency where the boat needs to be moved quickly, having that anchor on the stern is going to be an issue.
Conversely, anchoring from the bow allows the captain to have a decent range of motion with the boat in emergency situations.
3. Damage to Mechanical Parts
The stern of most any type of boat has a lot of mechanical components. Rudders, props, outdrives, and drive shafts are common elements that can entangle or be damaged by a anchor connected to the stern.
I’ve had an instance once where a large rope got in my prop, let me tell you it is not a fun experience. While my prop wasn’t damaged (thank goodness), it left us floating in the wind for some time while I repeatedly dove under and try to cut and detangle it. Not fun!
4. Additional Resistance
In high winds and surf, the boat is shaped to face into the weather. Everything about the shape of the boat is designed to go straight ahead. Putting that anchor on the back will have the oposite effect and cause the boat to go with the wind and surf.
This reduces the boats ability to cut through the weather as it was designed.
Anchoring Your Boat Properly
- Be mindful when choosing the area where you anchor your boat. Ideally, the area should be roomy, protected, and at a suitable depth where the bottom is sandy or muddy.
- Carefully and slowly adjust your direction towards the desired current and wind by positioning up the current or upwind. This helps to guide the boat in the desired direction and transition to that area.
- Once you reach the desired position, slow down and stop the boat completely and slowly transcend the anchor towards the bottom.
- Your anchor line should be made of a sturdy enough material to hold the weight of your boat and should have at least a ratio of 7 to 1 compared to the water depth. That means if you are anchoring in 10 feet of water, you would want about 70 feet of line to ensure the best hold.
- Then proceed to tie the anchored line to the cleat and pull to make sure the anchor has completely set.
- Once you’re done anchoring the boat, look for objects around to remember the place and the position of your boat. Keep vigilant checks on the boat ensure that the boat is adequately anchored and is not dragging across.
The entire process is not hard, but it can take a little practice to get right. Different bottoms of the lake or sea that you are in will produce different holds as well, so experience is what counts when ensuring a proper and safe hold.
Tips for Properly Anchoring the Boat
- Use proper types of anchors such as Mushroom, Danforth, or Plow.
- Fasten around 4 to 7 feet of roused chain to the boat’s anchoring point. This will act as a guard for the anchor from scrapes of rock, sand, and mud.
- Choose an area to anchor that provides your boat shelter from currents, boating right of way, and wind.
- Always define the depth prior to anchoring and the type of bottom, which needs to be sandy or muddy.
- Correctly calculate the quantity of anchor line required. Generally, you need around 5 to 7 times the area depth you’re anchoring. However, these are the minimum requirements, and we recommend having 8 to 10 times the amount at least to anchor correctly.
- Never abruptly throw the anchor towards the bottom. Instead, slowly anchor it downwards in the direction of the bottom to prevent tangling and damaging the anchor itself.
- Once your anchor is in place, always look with the references to confirm that the boat is not moving from the position. This will help to ensure that the anchoring is done correctly.
- And lastly, for the umpteenth time, please don’t anchor from the stern itself due to all the dangers this action bears.
Understanding what is the major danger of anchoring a fishing boat from the stern is crucial to prepare for your boating venture safely.
By following the guide properly, we can guarantee a safe experience for you, and anchoring the boat will never be a problem again. Happy boating!