Answer the questions: how deep is it now, how deep is it going to get at high tide, and how deep is it going to be at low tide? Then determine where you will have enough water to stay afloat at low tide and how much extra scope you will need to allow for the depth at high tide. You don’t want to wake up with your boat grounded and listing on its side. For example, our boat’s draft is 8.5 feet so we need to have at least 12 feet of water (8.5’ + a margin) at low tide to be relatively certain we’ll stay afloat. Keep in mind that MLW is only an estimation of what the low tide level may be for that day. So, if there is a 10-foot tidal variation, and we arrive at half-tide and anchor in 18 feet of water, we’ll have 13 feet beneath our keel at low tide (18’-5’), and 23 feet at high tide (18’+5’). Easy! How to anchor securely
When you enter an anchorage, assuming you have taken down your sails and are under
power, observe where other boats are anchored and whether what you saw on the chart matches what you now see with your eyes. Drive in a circle around your intended anchoring spot to ensure that it is indeed clear. Then drive to the centre of the circle and point into the wind. Stop the boat and slowly begin to lower the anchor to the bottom. As the anchor reaches the bottom, let the boat drift slowly backwards with the wind, or power gently in reverse as you pay out more rode. When you’ve got about a third of the desired rode out, let the anchor set by tugging gently on the rode. If your boat has been drifting sideways, this will also straighten her out so she lies in line with the rode again. Let the remainder of the rode out and let the anchor set gently. If you power hard in reverse to set the anchor, you may just pull it out. While giving it some time to set, observe stationary objects on shore to determine if the boat is moving or it has stopped and the anchor is indeed set. Finally, power set the anchor by putting the engine gently in reverse, watching the stationary objects to be certain you are not dragging.
Written by women for women on the water and their families.