"What If?" Safe anchoring in heavy current

Discussion in 'Boat Safety' started by dudlbugr, Sep 15, 2005.

  1. dudlbugr

    dudlbugr New Member

    Cleveland, AL
    Haven't seen anything on this subject, so here goes:

    Anchoring in heavy current is a dangerous undertaking, and takes all persons in the boat out of a "normal" pleasant day of fishing, and places them, instead, into a potentially life-threatening situation. I know of 2 members who have managed to have their anchor rope snag on their outboards, and place their lives at risk. Both shall remain nameless.
    The first was anchoring below a spillway, and threw the anchor before the boat had stopped forward momentum. The vessel continued forward, with the prop still turning, over the anchor rope, which wrapped around the prop until the engine choked down and quit. For those of you who can't imagine what happened next, the vessel swapped ends, thus exposing the stern to the full brunt of the current. My understanding is that, in this case, water quickly began filling the vessel. Luckily, the "captain" of the vessel had a knife handy, and was able (somehow) to reach and cut the rope.
    The second incident occured while retrieving the anchor. The "captain" cranked the motor, put it in gear in an idle to "help" the retrieval of the anchor, and went forward to pull the rope. Guess what.... The prop wrapped up the rope, the engine quit, and, when the anchor snagged again, the vessel swapped ends. Fortunately, he had a knife close at hand, and managed to cut the rope.

    This is probably a good point to ensure that a knife is always handy. Each "captain" should ensure that everyone in the vessel has a knife, and maybe stash some around the vessel within easy reach of tie-off spots.
    What if a tree is washing down river, under the surface and out of sight? If it hits your rope, you will likely have little or no time to react...

    Obviously, exposing the stern of your vessel to the brunt of the current is an extremely dangerous situation, but what are some of the other dangers?
    A vessel swapping ends, especially in strong current, can potentially happen in the blink of an eye... remember the old rule, 1 hand for yourself, and 1 for the boat (this means hang on). If you're standing on the bow, relieving yourself, you're probably going swimming. What if the anchor "slips" a little bit while standing? What if it slips 10 ft? What if you "wash" off anchor, and began heading downriver? Do you have room to recover the anchor and reel in your gear, or are you going over the falls?

    Be careful to tie your anchor rope off to the bow or gunnels only. If the rope is tied to something in the center of the vessel, you could potentially flip the vessel. When this happens, just being able to swim or reach a floating object will not be your only concern. When a small vessel flips, everything not tied down is going to fly about, and generally be in the way of your safe escape, not to mention potentially striking you and knocking you out.

    This is by no means a complete list... at all! What are y'all's thoughts?
  2. three_rivers

    three_rivers New Member

    Tupelo Ar
    Great post dudlbugr! I know i've put myself in the lions cage a couple times and had the anchor slip until it caught. When i do this i have someone in the drivers seat and me standing with the anchor. Trash has caught my rope spinning us. I'm just a rookie out there so its pretty much learn as i go. When a stories posted for ex.(guy that hit a buoy not long ago) its not far from my mind out on the water. So its good to be reminded of misfortune so i try not to make the same mistakes. One of the main things out on the water is to KEEP THEM LIFE JACKETS ON!!! It don't matter what the rivers doing or how long you've been out there its not worth what your gonna give up with out it. My dog even totes one...

    Do what you feel comfortable with out there. You have to know yourself and your limitations without stepping out of the bounds on safety. Will i anchor in front of another dike. More than likely yes. I'll do this with a jacket and someone sitting in the drivers seat until i move around some to make sure the anchors caught. Theres always alot of risk out on the river just be very aware of those surroundings. If i'm anchored in front of a dike you can bet i'm watchin the bank and the distance from me to that dike. If it starts to change i'm paying attention very close and have my wife in the drivers seat.

    Everyone does something a little different out there just make sure your within your limitations and stay aware of your surroundings. Stay safe and happy fishin. :0a23:

  3. fwmud

    fwmud New Member

    Wilson's Mills,nc
    Top notch, grade A #1 post.

    I always carry several knifes on board,one on my belt and it isn't used for anything except for emerginces.
    A spare anchor lying within reach might be good also.
    A river or the current is a powerful thing and not to be takin lightly.
    At the georgia gathering in gator's boat, the current was so strong , the anchor rope was "singin" it was in such a strain.Gave me a whole new respect for the river.
  4. TOPS

    TOPS New Member

    Dudlbugr. very good post, lot of good info!!
  5. Desperado

    Desperado Active Member

    Pataskala, Ohio
    Great Post and very informative. ;)
  6. jtrew

    jtrew New Member

    Little Rock, AR
    Very good info. I've seen a boat fill up with water, turn over, and dump a couple of guys into really bad water below a powerhouse when the rope wrapped around the prop. Fortunately, both guys were wearing their life vests, which probably saved their lives. Which brings up a good point; wear your life vests while you're in swift current, whether the motor is running, or whether you're anchored. If wearing the vest really bugs you, invest in a set of Sospenders, which you hardly notice while wearing them. You say they're too expensive? Check on the price of a funeral these days.
    Here are two options to keeping a knife handy to cut the anchor rope:
    1. Mount a quick-release anchor rope fastener that you simply wind the rope through in an S-shaped pattern. I've seen them used, and they hold great, yet all you have to do to loose the rope is grab it and give a yank. If you fasten your excess rope in a bundle and attach a float, you can hook back up to your anchor rope later. This is really handy if you hook a really big fish and need to chase it down the river.
    2. If you can't find (or afford) the anchor rope fastener, just scrounge or make an S-shaped piece of metal rod, say from rebar. Tie the anchor rope to one end of the S, and slip the other end through or around something on the boat. Very easy to unhook.
  7. omots2

    omots2 New Member

    abrerdeen md
    great post one every body should be aware of there is also one more hidden danger i see a lot when working nere the dam .After ankoring in fast water as the days goes on people seem to get more brave and start to sit right on the bow.Ihave seen more than one nose under in a matter of seconds so you guys are on the stright and narrow when you sayyou cant be to carefull. :)
  8. Kittyhunter

    Kittyhunter New Member

    Princeton, NC
    I don't mean to take anything away from your post, it is a good one. However, both of those situations could have been avoided. I never put my motor in gear with an anchor rope anywhere near it, and second I would never throw out my anchor near the motor with it running. I very rarely anchor facing downstream because of the current pushing against the back of the boat. It has way more force on the boat. I always try to point the boat upstream and use the front anchor. (I have one in the front and one in the back). Occassionally if the current is not bad, I may anchor the other way, or may anchor sideways, but never in strong current. Just a little thinking before you act could save a lot of trouble.
  9. FS Driver

    FS Driver New Member

    i'm not that expierianced in boats and rivers .
    ive owned 3 different boats in the past 3 seasons this being the 3ed season.
    only now ive been on 1 river and so far it has been pretty low and slow moveing
    all other outings in boat have been in lakes.
    i realy appreciate your advice that you guys are giveing on the subject.
    i agree with the anchoing off the front with front of boat faceing upstream
    that makes good sense.

    thanks again i cant wait for more.
    i might be going to same river tommorow which now should be a little faster as we got a lot of rain here in the past couple days.
    if not it will be the strip pits.
    cant wait got all my tackle and gear ready tonite now i cant sleep lol
  10. Little Mac

    Little Mac Active Member

    NW Arkansa
    Very Very good Post Reb, Anchoring a boat properly is almost a dang art, Done wrong and you always have to deal with a moving boat. Im still learning. I totally agree with having that life vest on, there are times that I dont wear one, but its not on the river. On the river I wear it. regardless of current. on a lake or creek its always on the back of my seat.
  11. peewee williams

    peewee williams New Member

    Anchor ropes that are too short,have caused many deaths.Due to the angle,too short a rope will drag your anchor,or pull your boat under,in a strong current,wind waves,or any combanation of conditions.A minimum of 7-1 is recomended,with 10-1,even better.This means 70-100 feet of rope to anchor in 10 feet of water.This with the PROPER ANCHOR.Also,in a area where you will have wave action,from wind or other craft,you need a length of chain,between your anchor and rope.The heaver the better.This acts as a shock absorber,and absorbs the jerk.Very few boats have the equipment to anchor properly.It can,and has caused people their lives.I am as guilty as any,and I know better.When your engine quits,your life may depend on your anchor.This is a lot of X-tra junk in the boat,and you may never need it.BUT!!!You may.peewee-williams
  12. dudlbugr

    dudlbugr New Member

    Cleveland, AL
    Very informative post, Peewee! And here I thought that the longer the rope you had out, it just made the angle better for anchoring, and made you stick better. Wow! 7 to 1, huh? I don't have enough rope! by that standard, I should need around 490 ft of rope. 700 feet would be better! WOW! I often find myself fishing with less than 2 to 1, although I've never thought about that. Thanks for the help. That's exactly the kind of information we need to improve our safety on the water!
  13. micus

    micus New Member

    Lake St. L
    Boy! You guys just saved me from having to post about a dozen or so questions--Thankee! :D

    Mike Stoops
  14. Gator

    Gator New Member

    Ludowici GA
    Lots of great info here but please keep this in mine also. The faster the current the more likely you are to drown if something does happen. Try to stay calm and go with the current at a slight angle as this will be the only chance you have to make it to shore. Also learn to read the water. If you see a real calm place in a fast current keep away from it as it is likely a rip current. We have a lot of them here from time to time and they cost some one there life and sometimes there boat also. We lose at least 1 person a year here to these currents. They are very dangerous and I don’t want any one to forget this or lose there life because of not being able to spot these current. They are also know as undertows and they will pull you under very fast, I have seen them pull floats and balloons under.
  15. little_fiddler

    little_fiddler New Member

    Otter Creek, Iowa
    Great info guys. As a novice boater who most always fishes by myself on the Mississippi, I have only learned by my own experience or the occasional advice of others. This thread has provided me great insight into safe anchoring. Thanks.
  16. davesoutfishing

    davesoutfishing New Member

    Menominee Michigan
    thats why I dont fish alone two many things can happen good post dud
  17. cook

    cook New Member

    Plattsburg,Mo.(near K.C.)
    Good posting.

    I can always tell a rookie when they stand in the bow and heave that anchor out as hard and far as they can.Then the look on their face :crying: when they realize the end of the rope is loose. :D :D