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Old 29-05-2010, 08:54   #1
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Anchor Marker

Some folks in the PNW use and advocate an anchor marker. One setup I've heard suggested involves having about 100 ft. of leaded line and an 8 inch float. You drop the anchor then the float with enough line for the depth plus whatever is need for the tide and coil the rest at the float. This allows you to lift the float and release the anchors hold on whatever has snagged it. Benefits include knowing where your anchor is and having an extra visual if you are dragging.

Alternatively you could wait and if a snag occurs loop a line around your rode and pull it to the anchor with yoyr tender, work the line over the stem and lift.

Remote areas where there have been a lot of logging or mining the bottoms often have cables that have been left and that won't be marked. I've ben told this can be a problem in Desolation Sound. If you mark with a float you can also leave your anchor if needs be and get a diver to recover it.

I'm thinking it makes sense to do. Thoughts anyone?
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Old 29-05-2010, 09:09   #2
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There have been a couple of threads on this topic with some fairly warm feelings on the subject. Not quite as hot as guns on boats or which anchor but certainly generates some strong opinions.
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Old 29-05-2010, 09:13   #3
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I'm thinking it makes sense to do. Thoughts anyone?
I'm against them except in limited applications where a trip line may be required to recover the anchor because of a littered holding ground.

A marker float has no business in a crowded anchorage. It serves no function other than territorial marking, much in the same way that a dog marks a fire hydrant. When the boats swing, and they will, it will tend to foul props, which will unfortunately transform the marker into a trip line. Now the boat that deployed the marker will be dragging at the same moment the boat his marker fouled has been incapacitated. Not a good situation.

Under normal circumstances if I swing over your anchor or you swing over mine there's no problem, excepting instances where you want to pick up your anchor before I've picked up mine, a situation that's easily remedied by cooperative boaters. What this means is that the marker creates more problems than it solves.

Finally, the argument that a marker can be used to relocate the anchor if it's been slipped is a bit goofy. If you're going to slip your rode--and I've had to do this myself--you tie a fender off to the end of the rode so that a diver can find it later. No need for a marker in that situation, and since you're going to have to leave the rode anyway, why not mark the rode, which is stronger?
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Old 29-05-2010, 09:26   #4
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Having done the anchor recovery dance, I like the idea of a float. I found an old fishing float on a beach and attached it to some poly line and a clip to the anchor. Make sure the line is strong enough to give a heavy pull on the anchor. Since I tend to anchor in shallow waters, I've got a few lengths of line that I can easily attach.

I tend to favor the Bruce and CQR and they have tripping rings that seem quite effective. Danforth and Rockna have these "tripping rings" too. As much as I like the Bruce, those flukes near the shank can make it difficult to unfoul.

The purpose is to allow a different pull direction that can help release the fouled anchor.

I carry an anchor hook whose singular purpose is to hold whatever's fouling the anchor while I free the anchor. Then I release the anchor hook and motor away.

I've had "nutjobs" think the float was a mooring ball so you've got to keep your eyes on the float.
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Old 29-05-2010, 10:01   #5
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A float/tripping line can be a complete PITA if it gets caught round anything else - someone's prop, your own keel etc etc. It is only useful in a fouled bottom when otherwise you will have to dive to get a line on to the anchor. And people do tie up to them too!

If you must use one, then get a piece of line, thread it through the float (fender) and tie a weight on the end. Tie the other end to your anchor. This way the float stays at the top of the water whatever the tide, but the rest of the line stays reasonably straight up and down beneath it, reducing its hazard potential

We also carry a trip hook but so far (fingers crossed) have not had to use it.
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Old 29-05-2010, 13:34   #6
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I have, on occasion...

...wanted a back-haul line to un-stick an anchor in questionable areas.
While other boaters should be used to the idea of floats in the moorage (crab pots), they tend to either swing over them as posted earlier, or just run over them while anchoring.
What I have done is tie a small line to the back end of the anchor, and pay it out along with the rode. Leave it slack until your set, then snug it off.
THE PROBLEM - is when retrieving the anchor rode, you have two lines to deal with. And they will be twisted up and in the way of each other - and you will swear you'll never do that again.
But the next time you're anchoring across from the old log dump, you will do it again.
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Old 29-05-2010, 13:35   #7
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The problem with only using an anchor marker when the bottom is foul is knowing the bottom may be foul. Really costly to have to leave a new Rocna on the bottom because it hooked onto an immovable object that you didn't suspect was there. Just happened to one of my dockmates. Luckily it was just an old Danforth. Even if you later recover it via a diver, it's going to cost you big time to hire the diver. Hopefully you've got a diving friend that will do it for you. Guess you could get yourself certified but the wetsuit, tanks, regulator, BC, etc. will cost more than the anchor.
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Old 29-05-2010, 14:21   #8
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An anchor float can be an anchor saver on occasion, but I would not use one as a matter of course, more aggravation to me and others than they're worth. They are actually illegal in some places (such as Georgetown, Exuma, Bahamas) where they serve no useful purpose.
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Old 29-05-2010, 14:38   #9
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That's why I keep the line to the anchor short; a dozen or so feet longer than the max depth so I can retrieve it and either wrap it around a bow cleat or around the windlass.

And you're right, getting the chain/rode wrapped around coral, rocks, junk, and all bets are off.

There are few things worse, imo, than wanting to leave at dawn only to have to dive the anchor(s) due to variable winds or a fouled anchor.
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Old 29-05-2010, 16:34   #10
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Hmmm ... it's moe complicated then I expected. No-one has commented on running a loop down the chain and lifting the anchor stem in case of a snag. I don't remember where I heard of doing this but does it seem like a possible solution when snagged?
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Old 29-05-2010, 17:53   #11
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Hummingway, there is a product on the market called the anchor Yanka that does exactly as you say, it slides down the chain and anchor stem and allows you to pull from the back of the anchor releasing it if it is caught under a rock or some such.
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Old 29-05-2010, 18:37   #12
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My anchor chain enters the vessel just above the waterline, through a hawsepipe. (I do not have an anchor roller system at deck level, and such a system would not really work very well because then the anchor would foul the safety net under the bowsprit) The upshot of all this is that I NEED an anchor float in order to retrieve and secure my anchor once the anchor has been pulled up to the surface. In fact, it was in Georgetown, Bahamas, that a rather loud and aggressive skipper on another boat yelled at me that "anchor floats are not allowed here!" In order to be a good neighbour and avoid ruffling feathers, I complied, and, as a result, had big problems retrieving my anchor next day.
So you see, it is incorrect to say that anchor floats "serve no other purpose." On some boats, and in some situations, they are important. I have never had any problems with the use of a float, and I certainly do not use it to "stake out my territory"! It is a proper and seamanlike way of dealing with the primary anchor on my boat.
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Old 29-05-2010, 19:14   #13
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I'm against them except in limited applications where a trip line may be required to recover the anchor because of a littered holding ground.
See. There's a reason Bash was chosen as an advisor. He knows his stuff. You might not think so highly of anchor floats the first time you wrap your's or someone else's around your prop...
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Old 29-05-2010, 20:22   #14
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I wouldn't use an anchor marker on my primary anchor either. However, when I used to have to anchor my rolly monohull sideways to the wind and parallel to the waves so I wouldn't get thrown out of bed, I would mark the stern anchor. I just thought other boaters would want to know why my boat was always perpendicular to theirs.
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Old 30-05-2010, 00:59   #15
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My anchor chain enters the vessel just above the waterline, through a hawsepipe. (I do not have an anchor roller system at deck level, and such a system would not really work very well because then the anchor would foul the safety net under the bowsprit) The upshot of all this is that I NEED an anchor float in order to retrieve and secure my anchor once the anchor has been pulled up to the surface. In fact, it was in Georgetown, Bahamas, that a rather loud and aggressive skipper on another boat yelled at me that "anchor floats are not allowed here!" In order to be a good neighbour and avoid ruffling feathers, I complied, and, as a result, had big problems retrieving my anchor next day.
So you see, it is incorrect to say that anchor floats "serve no other purpose." On some boats, and in some situations, they are important. I have never had any problems with the use of a float, and I certainly do not use it to "stake out my territory"! It is a proper and seamanlike way of dealing with the primary anchor on my boat.
Why not a short (say 1.5m) line with a loop and a float on it. This could be used permanently and in anything but a very shallow anchorage it would be below the level of anyone’s prop.
I have a line like this attached, not for anchor retrieval, but so I can snorkel and find the anchor easily (especially in weedy bottoms). If the anchor does snag it also makes it easier to dive an attach a line (its 1.5m less to descend
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