Small Craft Advisory: What Type of Anchor Should I Use for Small Boats?

    When you have a dinghy or a small rowboat you use to fish or just have some nights on the water, there’s no way you’d drop pounds of cash on a steel plow anchor that will just drag your boat into the water with it. There are a few kinds of anchors designed specifically for a small boat, effective without breaking the bank.

    How Much Does a Small Boat Anchor Weight?

    The lightest anchors are around 2.5 pounds (1.13 kgs), but some anchors range up to 200 pounds (90 kgs) in weight. Usually made from cast galvanized metal, or some models are manufactured from light aluminium composite, lightweight anchors have long pivoting flukes to prevent clogging from debris.

    One of the cheapest and most common anchors that small boat owners use is the foldable Grapnel anchor because it is so small but effective. It has four spikes that protrude for at least one to dig into the gravel and hold the boat in place. This is designed for hard bottoms such as rock or mud as it digs inside the dirt and uses its compactness to keep your boat in place. This is a much different design from the other dominant anchor used for the smaller boaters. The foldable Grapnel anchor can be found online and in stores for $5 to $25 and can be as small as a desk lamp.

    The other dominant anchor used for small fishing boats is the mushroom anchor which is designed like a satellite with a stick protruding out of the center of the inside or like an upside down mushroom. This one is designed for sandy bottoms, those with loose gravel that can be stirred easily so that when it hits the bottom, the sand underneath rises and collects in the ring. This way, the anchor can sink into the loose gravel underneath keeping the boat in place. These are also very inexpensive but a bit more expensive than the Grapnel anchors and can be found at most stores. They can get up to $40 but not nearly as much as the heavier anchors. These are not recommended to be used in the case of an emergency as they do not withstand harsh conditions and are made to be used inland.

    An anchor primarily used for canoes and kayaks is the squid anchor because it can be folded and stored easily on a very small boat such as those. This is a more modern approach to anchoring as it is put together with a weight in a bag that has little pouches to slide in flukes to dig into the ground beneath. This kind of anchor is used with all types of sediment but particularly works well in mud and rock.

    Depending on the type of sediment under your boat and how small your boat is, these anchors work great without weighing down your whole vessel. None of these, however, work well in harsh conditions so if you’re planning on taking your canoe out into the open ocean, try to on a calm day. If you do need one that can withstand these conditions, try out a lightweight industrial anchor. These can include the Navy, Plow, or Danforth anchors as these were made for the waves of the open ocean. These may be more expensive but that is the price of a more daring catch.

    Related Posts