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Buying a new anchor requires you to thoughtfully examine your boating habits, and it can involve a great deal of research.

With so many different types of anchors to investigate, the selection can feel overwhelming.

While one of the most common questions about anchors is about their ability to set and hold, most people are looking for an anchor with the greatest holding power.

However, we’re going to focus on answering a different question: which type of anchor has little holding power? 

You may be asking this question if you are looking for a simple anchor for a small boat.

Which type of anchor has little holding power?

Anchors are one of the most important pieces of boating equipment, and they are essential in emergency situations.

Whether you want to anchor for a fun day on the lake, or you need to hold your boat in place if you encounter a mechanical issue, anchors are one of the primary tools you use to have a safe and fun time on the water.

Anchors are best used when they are properly paired with the situation, boat, bottom, and conditions.

So, you may have multiple anchors on your boat, and you can use each of them in a different scenario.

If you are looking for an anchor with very little holding power, the mushroom style anchor is the way to go. 

As their name suggests, they are shaped like an upside down mushroom.

One potential option for you may be the SeaSense Vinyl Coated Mushroom Anchor (10 Lb) (view at Amazon).

How do mushroom anchors work?

Mushroom anchors work differently than other anchor types.

These weight-based anchors do not dig into the bottom or submerge themselves; they function based on their weight alone.

As you can imagine, they have minimal holding power since they do not dig into the bottom.

Instead, their rounded bottom style allows them to easily slip over rocks, wreckage, and other protrusions on the bottom.

While other anchors may become lodged in such tight spaces and hazards, mushroom style anchors avoid catching.

When to use a mushroom style anchor?

Due to the weak holding power of mushroom anchors, they are best reserved for certain situations.

Small boats only

For example, mushroom anchors are intended for small boats only. Small boats include personal canoes, kayaks, and very small fishing boats.

If you have a larger, multi-person craft, a mushroom style anchor will probably not be sufficient.

The weight ratio between small boats and mushroom anchors is proportioned so that the anchor is strong enough to hold the boat in place

If you try to use a mushroom anchor with a large boat, the anchor will not be heavy enough to securely hold the boat in place.

While you may be able to find heavier mushroom anchors, their weight eventually becomes an insurmountable problem. 

Since the anchor must be stored aboard the ship when not in use, a heavy weight is an obvious problem for boats.

The larger and heavier the boat, the larger the weight that is needed to hold it in place.

This is not a major issue for small boats with minimal cargo, but it does present a problem for medium and large boats.

If you are looking for an anchor to use on a large boat, consider another anchor type.

Sandy bottoms

Mushroom anchors work best in soft, sandy bottom conditions. When you deploy an anchor down to a soft bottom, it can easily sink in, increasing holding power slightly.

If you deploy a mushroom anchor to a hard or rocky bottom, it cannot sink in or grab onto the surface, so it must rely on sheer weight alone.

If currents or winds push your boat, the anchor is also highly susceptible to movement.

Calm conditions

Mushroom anchors are intended for use only in the best of conditions. 

They are not meant to be used in heavy winds, rough waters, strong currents, or dangerous environments.

However, mushroom anchors are very easy to use, and they are handy to have available for the most casual of boating days.

They are a terrific piece of equipment if you want the flexibility to move around without hassle. 

And, they are an excellent tool for the days when you want to move from fishing hole to fishing hole with minimal work and interruption.

But, due to their very weak holding abilities, you should not rely on them to hold your craft in place if conditions are not ideal.

For example, if you want to anchor amidst other boats in a crowded area, a mushroom anchor is not the best choice.

They do not afford you the precision required for difficult, high-stakes situations.

In such scenarios, it’s better to use a plow, delta, claw, etc. anchor. It’s a good idea to keep a second anchor aboard in case you find yourself in a situation where you need a more precise anchoring.

As discussed above, mushroom anchors are not meant to be used in emergency situations, so it’s good to have a backup. You never know what can unexpectedly happen on the water!

Featured image credit: Image ID: 574444660