Lowering your anchor into the black water of the night can be daunting, especially when you have two other boats within 50 feet of yours ready to make contact at the brink of a wave. That is why there is an anchor etiquette for nights on the water. Avoid disaster with these simple rules to guide you through the dark.
Picking Your Spot
If you are anchoring in the dark, try to make sure you know the terrain before you go out there and anchor in some coral. Also, whatever you do, try not to anchor within 50 feet of another boat because you don’t know whether they will keep watch.
Once you get to the position in the water where you want to anchor, it is recommended that you use the most useful piece of technology while at anchor: a chart plotter. Put an alarm on there and it will alert you whenever your boat’s position changes dramatically.
Of course, the law is there to keep you safe and it is mandatory to keep your anchor light on at night. Whether it is required or not, you should have it on because it others see that you are not moving at that is hard to tell when everything is so dark. It is recommended to keep the light at the highest mast of your ship and you must make sure it is visible from all directions of your ship.
- ALWAYS RELIABLE - The all-round light is an important piece of safety equipment on your boat and must be able to function in all weather conditions. Unlike other, cheaper lights, our lights are silicone sealed and IP66 rated.
- COMPLETELY LEGAL - Our lights are USCG 33 CFR 183.810 approved, meet ABYC standard A-16, are visible up to 3NM, and can be used as an all-round white light on power-driven boats up to 39.4' (12m) long, or anchor light on boats up to 165' (50m) …
Make sure that your crew posts a watch if you must be within 50 feet of another boat because even if you are using the chart plotter, you need to make sure those boats’ anchors do not drag allowing it to crash into yours. Your crew could take turns throughout the night. Plus, the U.S. Coastguard tends to reprimand those who don’t post a watch.
Make sure everyone in the crew knows how to start the engine or lift the anchor to quickly move out of the way if another boat’s anchor does drag towards you. It is most effective to have a four-man crew keeping watch and swapping responsibilities, but it can also be effective to lower that to two.
Using A Sentinel
Another suggestion if you must be squeezed between other boats is to use a “sentinel” or a lightweight anchor to act as a heavyweight along with your regular anchor. This will increase your holding power by lowering the angle of the pull.
Do Not Invade
Lastly, you aren’t a pirate so if someone anchors in a space, they lay claim to it as well as the swinging space. Don’t expect people to move once you get too close. If you do anchor near another boat, make sure you take into account their and your swinging space to make sure there is no room for you to collide.
Take all of these tips into account when you are spending the night at sea. They will keep you and your crew safe as well as keep you out of trouble with the Coastguard. Some of these should apply even during the day but are emphasized in the dark merely because you cannot see as well.