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Boating is an exhilarating experience that can be really fulfilling. 

Sometimes a day in nature, rolling on the waves, with the wind in your face is exactly what you need to unwind and reset.

However, in order to fully enjoy boating, you need to know how to anchor.

Anchoring is not nearly as simple as knowing how to drop an anchor off the side of a boat. 

Location and process are key to successful anchoring.

So, how do you know where to anchor? 

Also, recognizing where you should avoid anchoring is equally if not more important than knowing what to look for in a good anchoring location.

Where should you avoid anchoring?

Anchoring can be a very freeing experience. If done correctly, it can take your boating trips to the next level.

Anchoring gives you so many more options than just floating on the water! 

But, to have a good trip, you have to know how to properly anchor.

Of course you want to be knowledgeable about your anchor type and operation. 

But, it’s even more important that you are able to recognize the types of places that are great for anchoring and the locations where you should avoid anchoring at all costs.

When you are looking to drop anchor, avoid the types of locations discussed below.

Channels and fairways

While this may be obvious, avoid anchoring in passageways that other boats need to use.

Fairways and channels must be kept clear for safety reasons.

If you anchor in the middle of a fairway, other boats will have to avoid your boat when they need to pass.

If passageways become too congested, it’s dangerous for everyone involved. 

The risk of collision greatly increases if you anchor in a busy area.

So, avoid anchoring in channels and fairways to help keep everyone safe.

Prohibited or restricted areas

Never anchor in a prohibited area. 

Such areas may be defined by buoys or signs. 

Areas that are designated for swimming, idling, or as passageways are prohibited areas that you should avoid anchoring in.

Look for signs, coastguard warnings, and other indications that the area is prohibited before you drop anchor.

Oyster and mussel beds

These areas are usually protected for the benefit of the animals that call them home.

So, do you part and avoid anchoring in oyster and mussel beds.

Furthermore, disturbing such beds can come with a hefty fine that you don’t want to have to pay.

Also, your anchor will probably not set well on top of the shells, so why bother? 

Anchoring in locations liek this is a good way to ruin your anchor.

Seabeds not suitable for your anchor

This thought leads us to the next area where you should always avoid anchoring: seabeds not suitable for your anchor.

Anytime you use a new anchor, familiarize yourself with the way that it works. 

Become aware of the seabed types that work well with it and with those that do not.

And, keep these seabed types in mind when you consider locations where you will drop anchor.

For example, for plow type anchors, stick to soft bottoms.

If you’re dealing with rocks, or a more textured bottom, opt for a claw anchor.

Learn about the mechanism that your anchor uses, and match the type of anchor that you choose to the bottom types that you will be dealing with.

Areas with debris

Never anchor in an area with debris underwater.

When debris is involved, you can never be sure of your footing.

It’s dangerous to float over debris, but it’s even more dangerous to anchor in an area with debris.

You never know when the debris could impact your boat, damaging the hull and causing other problems.

If you are anchoring so that you can swim, this is not a good location to choose! 

Also, your anchor is likely to become caught in the debris. In this case, you will be forced to release your anchor if you cannot free it. 

Attempting to free your anchor often leads to damaging your boat, and it can be dangerous.

So, to avoid sticky situations, it’s a good idea to avoid anchoring in an area with debris. 

Steer clear of logs, sunken ships, piles of trash, abandoned docks, and equipment that may be underwater.

If you do not have clear visibility in the water, ask the dock manager about good places to anchor before you leave.

Lee shore

What is lee shore? This is the area where the wind comes from the water to impact the shore and land.

If you think about this, it becomes evident why this is an extremely bad location for anchoring.

Even if you have a large boat, it will be impacted by the movement of the wind.

If you captain a small boat, it may be at the mercy of the wind and waves, and you may not be able to avoid colliding with the shore.

The last thing you want is to end up in a boating accident, so avoid anchoring lee shore.

While anchoring here may be safe at any given time, it’s safest to avoid this situation entirely.

Anchor a safe distance away from shore so that you can avoid the risk of colliding with the land.

If you keep these tips in mind, you will be able to avoid areas where you should not anchor.

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