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Old 21-11-2008, 10:56   #1
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Anchoring Etiquette

Could someone explain in simple terms the etiquette involved in anchoring.
Next summer my plans are to do some coastal cruising off Southern California but am lacking experience in blue water cruising. A couple of procedures which concern me are, when entering a bay, cove, etc to anchor, is it necessary to attempt hailing a Harbor Master requesting transient mooring or permission to anchor? If it is obvious that no Harbor Master is in control does one simply make oneself at home obviously insuring sufficient swing room to prevent interference with other anchored vessels? When is it necessary to contact a Harbor Master for anchoring or mooring permission?

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Old 21-11-2008, 12:05   #2
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If your cruising plans include San Diego check this website

Port of San Diego | Answers to Common Questions

This link is the FAQ section for the Unified Port District.
They discuss everything you need to know about restrictions and locations and permits and such. Including how to get an entertainer permit in case you want to put on a little concert from your cockpit.

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Old 21-11-2008, 16:19   #3
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I believe that is where cruising guides come in handy. The people who have written the guides have either made the mistakes and are telling you their recommendations or have relayed the information they have learned from the people who have anchored in the wrong places!
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Old 21-11-2008, 16:38   #4
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Also on your (up to date) charts you may fine an anchor symbol in some obvious locations. It pretty much depends on what's around the anchorage and the bottom conditions.

The biggest indicator is when you see other boats anchored. If there are buoys, it may be restricted but not likely.

The biggest problem is swing and set. You don't want to hit anyone/thing or end up on the hard. Be aware, before anchoring, of tidal changes, currents and wind changes................................._/)
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Old 21-11-2008, 16:43   #5
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If you have screaming children or barking dogs then always anchor beside boats with similar afflictions…..they wont notice!...
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Old 21-11-2008, 17:33   #6
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Sometimes its a good idea to approach a boat anchoring nearby and ask for an advisory before dropping your hook.
"You do not ask a tame seagull why it needs to disappear from time to time toward the open sea. It goes, that's all."

Bernard Moitessier
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Old 21-11-2008, 18:36   #7
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You should gather all the information about your destination from cruising guides and charts. general anchorages are marked as are the bottom condition and the soundings. You should also consider the prevailing, current and predicted wind speed and direction for your stay. If you intend to go ashore, be aware of the landing for your dink or dock to come along side for fuel or water, prepare your lines and fenders for that well before you are to dock.

As you enter "read" the other boats and how the harbor is organized. Is there a local non coast guard channel marked with buoys? Is there a speed limit sign or buoy with a speed warning. When dropping your hook make sure you are well clear of any marked channel and won't swing into it with a wind or shift in the currrent. Taller masts mean deeper keels so you probably will see them in the deeper parts of the anchorage. If the harbor provides protection from the winds, it will be calmer and a smoother ride in close, but it's shallower there as well. If the anchor is crowded you can almost gauge the depth by the spacing of the anchored vessels based on a 5-7 scope and swing room. Chanes are that anchore between two boats in a crowded anchorage where you are closer to other boats than the others are to each other means you are in the wrong place.

A good approach is to drop your hook a boat length or more behind an anchored boat and then fall back on the 5-7 scope. Moored boats are on shorter scope so be advised that they will swing differently and anchor in a tight mooring field in not advisable as you can swing over and foul on a unoccupied mooring or into a moored boat!

Listen on your VHF on 16 or use the local chanel that the yacht club or launch used to communicate with anchored and moored boats. Find a break in conversation to ask them your questions about anchoring or other features of the harbor.

And finally make sure you have your anchoring techinique down pat. Dragging through an achorage can be a costly and embarrassing experience. If you don't feel completely comfortable with your anchor set, re anchor until you do. That's good semanship.
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Old 21-11-2008, 19:04   #8
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my big anchor problem is where i keep my boat we get a fair number of day trippers, they typically use 3 to 1 scope and assume everyone else does too. so when the wind shifts i swing around on 75 feet of rope and chain and they swing on 40 if they where closer than 50 feet or so we rub, yes it has happened once and been close a few others. i have started dual anchor one off each end, and anchoring close enough to the edge that they wont anchor behind me. my point is dont assume what scope they are on make sure you have room.
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Old 21-11-2008, 19:57   #9
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Remember that boats swing differently depending on windage and underwater profile. If in the M26 you might be more akin to a powerboat than a full keel cruiser. Also remember the the first one there sets the anchoring approach for all, normally a difference between single anchor and a fore/aft arrangement.
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Old 09-02-2010, 03:57   #10
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Exceptions to Anchoring Etiquette

The first to anchor rule is generally good and others may rightfully request that you move if there is a chance of interference, but their request or even insistence that you move should not override your best judgment. As skipper or owner, you remain the final decision maker on the handling of your vessel, and you are responsible for your decisions.
As an example, we recently anchored in a bay when the wind was blowing. The boats were aligned with the wind and we could predict adequate separation. During the day, the wind shifted and separation was still good. But at night the wind went calm and the boats wandered all in different ways. A neighboring boat came over by dinghy; noted that we were within 30 feet of their boat; that we were heavier than they were; and asked us to move.
We refused to move for several reasons:
1. 30 feet is not close in a shallow anchorage.
2. It was night.
3. Because boats were meandering, it would be hard to predict separation in a new anchoring spot.
4. Areas that were open for anchoring were too shallow and were closer to a channel.
5. It is difficult to assure that the anchor will be set in no wind conditions, and the wind might pick-up in the night.
6. Boats that are meandering have little momentum and the risk of damage when they bump is very low.
As a skipper, do not substitute the judgement of others for your own. Others may request that you move, but you are not required to abide by their request.
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Old 09-02-2010, 04:17   #11
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Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, Locquatious*.

Thanks for you interesting & (perhaps partly) provocative contribution.

How close would have been too close, in a crowded anchorage?

* Loquacious?
Gord May
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Old 09-02-2010, 05:10   #12
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Have the boats been touching? Are you constantly fending off? We have been in a mooring field in Chagauramas, Trinidad where fending off happens? We have been in English Harbour, Antigua where the anchoring depth is 15-20 feet, anchoring with 30 foot separation in wind is found there, and meandering occurs often. Some boats there are lined with fenders. We moved once, not by re-anchoring, but by moving the chain sag point about which we meandered. Another boat tied temporarily to an illegally set mooring, while still at anchor, to avoid us. It was not necessarily a matter of who was there first, rather it was a matter of cooperation between skippers.
I think it depends on the total situation, your judgment of the situation, and the options available.
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Old 09-02-2010, 05:35   #13
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Remember drivers ed a millon years ago? They told us to leave 10 car spaces between cars while on the highway! Favorite anchorages, like Hghways are getting really crowded. 30 ft might be a bit close but here in the Bahamas we often anchor n 6-7 ft of water and 1 -2 boat lenghts are not unusual in calm weather. . lf a blow is comming we move to a better spot. Chuck.. Get some Cruising guides. there is a wealth of info out there.
Will & Muffin
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Old 09-02-2010, 15:19   #14
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Ah the age old anchoring questions. We have short masts, but a long very full keel. Our boat can behave 'oddly' to some. We like to maintain lots of distance because of this. If in an area of strong current, if wind is against the tide, our boat always answers the current, causing her to swing differently than many other boats. We are aware and if this behavior is occurring we stand anchor watch.
We had the experience of having a boater anchor close to us, we knew our circle and determined all would be well. However, this fellow began throwing things, yelling, blowing his horn announcing that boats should not turn when on anchor, and that we should turn the same as him. It was a disturbing incident.
Later we met up with other boaters who had been in the anchorage ( people we had never met) all of whom suggested actions we would never have taken.
I like to avoid the snuggle up syndrome seen in many anchorages.
In the future when someone anchors fairly close, I will radio and advise them of our behavior if wind opposes tide.
Fair Winds
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Old 09-02-2010, 15:28   #15
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Probably just "stay away from those who anchored before you" will do. Also, if you are French, then PLS do not piss from your cockpit.


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anchor, anchoring

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