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How Does A Ship Anchor Work?

Most of us know what is an anchor but do you really understand how does a ship anchor work? Anchoring a ship is a very important function that a boat or a ship has to do in order to stay stable in water. Whenever a vessel has to stay afloat in a stationary position on water when the engines are turned off, the anchor is cast into the sea so that the vessel does not drift unnecessarily from its position due to water currents.

Big Ship Anchor

Big Ship Anchor

We will now discuss how a ship can be anchored. This process can be followed for both small boats and ships though with slight variation.

The first step that a boat must follow is to find a location to anchor the ship. The location is selected by the pilot or captain of the ship. When he informs the crew about where exactly the ship must be anchored then accordingly the ship is anchored as per the directions given.

The ship must slow down and then move into position. The ship or boat can be slowed down by reversing the thrust. This will slow down the speed of the vessel and help it to get into position where it can be anchored easily.

Once the position is reached the anchor must be dropped. There is a loud sound generally when the anchor of the ship is dropped. The chain as well as the anchor makes a loud sound as the anchor is generally very heavy. There is a huge splash of water too. The larger the boat or the ship the heavier and bigger the anchor gets.

The anchor must reach the sea bed. The crew has to ensure that the anchor has reached the sea bed before they move to the next step. The anchor is generally attached to a rope or a chain.

After the full length of the anchor has been dropped the ship or the boat must go reverse this will ensure that the anchor digs into the sea bed. The reversing in ship is called going astern. Once you do this the ship will be anchored completely. This is the same process that can even be followed for a boat. One must ensure that the boat is anchored tightly otherwise there can be chances of dragging.

The anchor when gets digged in the sea bed, it ensures that the ship is stable. This process may take anywhere between fifteen to twenty minutes. This again depends on how deep the water is.

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We hope you have got a good idea of how a ship anchor works. Anchoring a ship or a boat of any size is a very important function that must be done with a lot of care. Similarly the process of taking a ship off the anchor is also a critical process. In this process the anchor must be removed from the sea bed slowly and the same has to be rolled back. Only when the whole anchor is rolled back can the ship move on.

The anchor must be removed with a little force. The bigger the anchor is the more force is required to remove it. Apart from boats, in ships since the anchors are huge, machines are also used to pull back the anchors. We will study about these machines or winches in a different article. The longer the ship is anchored the more force is required to remove it, since the more firmly it gets entangled into the ground below the water.

Small Boat Anchor

Small Boat Anchor

If the ship or the boat is not anchored properly then the ship may get dragged. Dragging of the ship or boat can be very dangerous as it may go hit the rocks and get damaged considerably. This is exactly why dragging alarms are set in place. This alarm rings as soon as there is a considerable dragging. Most ships and boats are nowadays equipped with these alarms.

Sometimes in spite of a good anchoring the ship can be dragged as the winds are strong. The winds can become stronger and weaker with passing of the day. Sometimes the boats that are anchored can be dragged into deep oceans too when the weather is dangerous. If the weather is too rough special attention has to be paid to anchoring. You cannot leave the ship or the boat absolutely unattended at times of rough weather.

We will now discuss how important it is to maintain the anchor and its chains. It is very essential that the anchor is painted and maintained in a good condition. The chain and the ropes that are used to anchor the ships should be in a good condition too. This will ensure that the ship is anchored well all the time. If the anchor is old and rusted or the chain and rope is broken the chances of the ship drifting increases many fold.

We hope by reading this article you will get a good idea of how does a ship anchor work. Even for fishing boat owners, anchoring is a skill that all must know when they are heading to the sea. They can also attend classes that train people on anchoring of a boat.

You can even learn the skill from someone who has been doing this for some time. It does not matter if you are sailing a small boat or a big one anchoring is critical to both. It is not a very difficult skill to master just that you need to know some vital tips.

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Sat Watson, from Tamil Nadu, an ex Navy person and currently writing and leading peaceful retired life

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