Choosing the Correct Anchor, Chain, and Rope for Your Boat

     One of the most commonly asked questions we hear is, “What size anchor do I need for my boat?” To answer that question, we need to ask you a few questions first. What kind of fishing/boating will you be doing? What size boat will you be anchoring? How much space do you have in your anchor locker? How deep do you plan on anchoring? Answering each of these questions will lead you to properly set up your boat for smooth sailing. The average angler, the recreational island hopper, and the hardcore fisherman will all have very different needs in anchor, chain, and rope. So, let’s dive in and take a deeper look.


    Choosing the right anchor is not a hard task at all. There is an industry standard chart we display to show you the right size anchor for your size boat. However, smaller inshore boats like skiffs and bay boats may want to get a heavier anchor (like a Sea Claw) to avoid having to use any chain. Using an anchor one step bigger than the recommended size can benefit the larger boats as well by ensuring you’ll properly anchor up the first time, every time.


     Next, let’s pick out your chain. There are 3 main sizes in anchor chain: 1/4 inch for smaller inshore boats, 5/16 inch for mid-size boats, and 3/8 inch for larger offshore boats. The standard rule of thumb is 1 foot of chain per foot of boat. However, that rule really only applies to boaters doing offshore deep bottom fishing or those who fish in rough seas. If you intend to go far offshore to fish deep, then follow the rule of thumb. Otherwise, in most cases, the average boat will only need 5 to 10 feet of chain. Another thing to keep in mind is that if you have a smaller boat and are anchoring in deeper water like 50ft and deeper you should follow as close to the rule of thumb as possible. We sell Chain by the foot here. We tell people all the time here at the store when picking out chain to stay away from the cheap junk that you get from big Hardware stores, especially the shiny galvanized chain. You want to get hot dipped proof coiled galvanized chain, that the stuff that will last years and years without seeing a drop of rust. that is the only chain that we will sell her at Dogfish. 


     Finally, on to your rope. A lot of boaters assume that if they are going to anchor up in 50 feet of water, they will only need 60 feet of rope. But, that is not the case! Generally, there is a 3 to 1 rule to anchor safely. If you were to anchor in 50 feet of water, you would need 150 feet of rope. Once you figure out your max anchoring depth to pick the length, consider how much space you have in your anchor locker to choose the size. There are three main sizes of anchor rope. 3/8 inch for john boats, micro skiffs, and jet skis, 1/2inch for flats boats, bay boats, and sea doos, and 5/8 inch for larger offshore boats. However, if your anchor locker allows for extra room, pick a larger size rope than suggested because it is definitely easier on your hands. If you already have anchor rope but need more, we can always splice more to your existing rope.


      With this information you should be set to purchase the right anchor, chain, and rope for your boat. If you have any more questions, stop in, call, or email and let us help steer you straight!