Page 22 - Mid America Boating - July 2021 issue
P. 22

Boat Smart

     ]     22                                                                     Know what your anchor can take!

     JULY 2021     [     MID-AMERICA BOATING
                                                                                  By Capt. Fred Davis
                                                                                   Captain Fred Davis, who dedicated himself to decades of continously promoting boating safety,
                                                                                  wrote hundreds of boating columns for Mid-America Boating and other publications on the subject
                                                                                  that were published during his lifetime. Captain Fred passed away in 2019, but many of his discus-
                                                                                  sions about boating safety remain timeless. Here is one of his many columns pertaining to the uni-
                                                                                  versal message about outfitting a boat for safety before you launch it for another season.
                                                                                   Many of today’s boaters carry one type of anchor and only enough line to hold in shallow
                                                                                  areas.  The anchor is intended to serve more as a “lunch hook” than a real anchor.  A lunch
                                                                                  hook is usually a light anchor intended to work for brief intervals such as a stop for lunch
                                                                                  or maybe a swim to cool off.  Under these circumstances a light anchor with 100 ft. of line
                                                                                  might be enough but it should never be the boats main holding device under possible
                                                                                  severe conditions.
                                                                                   During brief stops at an anchorage one or more people usually stay aboard or are near
                                                                                  the swim ladder or swim platform.  This practice seldom results in problems as the boat
                                                                                  stays put in its anchored position.  People get in trouble however when they assume their
                                                                                  “lunch” anchor will hold as a mooring device when they go ashore - and sometimes they
                                                                                  will.  Its times they don’t hold that can be disastrous.
                                                                                   One 4th of July while working in my salvage business was one of those times.   Disaster
                                                                                  struck numerous vessels left unattended at anchor.
                                                                                   A cruiser over 30 ft. in length was left at anchor while the family aboard went ashore to
                                                                                  visit relatives.  Although the weather forecast had warned of coming winds, the warning did
                                                                                  not reach the captain.
                                                                                   Winds came up and shifted quickly.  Before the owner returned to his boat, it had been
                                                                                  carried off and was bouncing on a rocky reef.  The owner reached his vessel in his dingy.  I
                                                                                  am sure there were some very anxious moments for the skipper as he made way from the
                                                                                  reef to the nearby safe harbor.  After lift-out it was revealed his vessel had suffered thou-
                                                                                  sands of dollars in damage.
                                                                                   During this same storm, an owner watched helplessly from shore as his boat he had
                                                                                  anchored out broke loose.  As his boat headed for a rock reef, he waded out and climbed
                                                                                  into the craft, started it and barely avoided hitting the shore.  He motored offshore and


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