B.C. Marina's and Anchorages


Selecting an Anchor Type

There are a number of anchor types available on the market today. The most popular anchors are listed below. It should be noted that a number of companies make their own versions of the anchors below. Often anchor names are trademarked. So, for example, normally a CQRâ„¢ Anchor and a Hinged Plow Anchor are identical.




Claw Style

-Examples: Bruce Anchor
-Excellent holding power in a variety of bottoms including mud, sand, rock, and coral
-One of the most popular anchor types
-Sets easily

-Claws can make stowing the anchor difficult, either in a locker or on a bow roller

Plow Style

-Examples: CQR, Delta
-One of the highest holding powers per pound
-Excellent holding power in a variety of conditions

-Not as easy to set as the claw

Fluke Style

-Examples: Fortress, Danforth
-Excellent holding power in Sand/Mud
-Folds flat for easy stowage

-Limited holding power outside of mud/sand

Grapnel Anchor

-Examples: Folding Grapnel Anchor
-Easy to store
-Good for fishing or or smaller boats such as canoes

-Not suitable for overnight anchorage

How big of an Anchor?
There once was a rule of thumb that a boat anchor should have one pound of weight for every foot of boat. However, each style of anchor today has vastly different holding powers per pound so the best advice is to refer to the manufacturer’s size chart to determine the best sized anchor for your boat. Often boaters are surprised how small of an anchor they need. For example, a 25’ boat generally only needs a 13 lbs Delta Plow Style Anchor.

Selecting Anchor Rope
When you are selecting rope for your boat, you want approximately 1/8” of rope for every 9’ of boat. So, using the example above, a 25’ boat would need 3/8” anchor rope (and a 35’ boat would need ½”). In terms of material type, the overwhelmingly most popular choice is nylon due to its elasticity and strength. You will often see anchor ropes come in both a twisted three strand style and a braided style. Both are acceptable choices with the most significant difference being that three strand is easier to splice to chain and braided is easier on the hands when pulling it up.

The length of your rope should equal at least five times as long as the maximum depth of water you will be anchoring in. In other words, you should have a scope of 5:1 (ideally as high as 7:1). Most boaters tend to anchor in 30-50’ of water meaning that for most boaters, 150’-250’ of rope is adequate.

Ideally, your rope should be attached with a small length of chain equal to about the length of your boat. So using the example above, a 25’ boat should have 25’ of chain. This helps weigh your rope down and also keeps it from rubbing against the seabed. The size of the chain should be approximately half of the size of the rope, so if you’re using ½” rope you would need ¼” chain. If you are using an anchor windlass, remember that the chain will need to be spliced to the rope (in other words, you cannot use a shackle to connect the rope to the chain).

As mentioned previously, when you are anchoring, remember to allow out a scope of 5:1 or more ideally, 7:1. By allowing out this much scope you reduce the chances of your anchor unsetting.

We hope this article has answered the most common questions about anchoring and anchoring hardware.

This article was written by David Bryant from Anchoring.com