Never Anchor From Your Boat’s Stern: Here’s Why.

anchoring boat properly
anchoring boat properly

When it comes to anything in life, we all start as beginners. Learning how to boat is no different. 

Boating is more than just driving the boat. You have to learn how to back the boat trailer in, launch the boat, how to attach the boat to the dock, and how to get into the open lake. You have to learn how to take care of your boat, how to clean it and check for corrosion. You have to learn how to steer your boat through the water and how to stop it. And on top of all of that, you have to learn how to properly drop and retrieve your anchor.

Dropping your anchor isn’t as easy as tossing it off any edge of your boat. In fact, if you toss it off the wrong edge of your boat, you could endanger yourself and risk damaging your boat. This edge is the stern. You should never drop your anchor from the stern of your boat. The stern, as you may already know, is the back of the boat. As the back of the boat sits lower into the water, adding the weight from the anchor could cause major issues.

Here’s why you should never drop your anchor from the stern of the boat, and how to properly drop your anchor instead:

Dangers of Anchoring From The Stern

Dropping your anchor from the stern of the boat is incredibly dangerous. Here are two scary things that could happen if you drop your anchor from the stern:


When you drop your anchor from the stern of your boat, the chain attached to the anchor acts as a fulcrum and can swing your boat into the wind. Your boat could roll over and capsize. 


What happens more often than capsizing though, is the anchor pulling the stern of your boat into the water and water seeping into the boat. This is known as swamping. Too much water pouring into the stern could cause your boat to sink. 

How to Properly Drop An Anchor

There is a right way and plenty of wrong ways to anchor your boat. However, once you know the basic steps to anchor your boat, you can safely anchor your boat and enjoy a comfortable day of fishing, swimming, or sunbathing on the water.

Pick Your Anchoring Location

Ease off the throttle so that the boat is standing still at the point you want to drop your anchor.

Determine The Depth Of The Water.

If you have a depth finder on your boat, you can easily determine the length your anchor scope will need to be. The length of your anchor line is often referred to as the “anchor scope.”

If you don’t have a depth finder, you can pre-mark a piece of rope to determine the depth and then drop it into the water with a small weight on the end. This method can be a bit inconvenient and difficult but will work if your boat is not equipped with a depth finder.

Measure Your Anchor Scope

A rule of thumb for boaters is 8 feet of scope for one foot of water depth. If the water is 10 feet deep, plan on using 80 feet of scope. 

Head Your Scope’s Length Up The Current

Slowly go the length of your scope towards the current, by reversing if possible. Drop your anchor from the bow (front) of your boat.

Go To The End Of The Scope

If possible, let the wind or current move your boat until the other end of the scope. Secure your rode to the cleat on the edge of the bow. 

Set the Anchor

Lightly put the boat in reverse a couple of feet to set the anchor of the boat. The rode will be mostly taut when set.

Enjoy Your Day On The Water

Now that your anchor is set, you can enjoy your adventure on the water. 


Do you need help learning how to anchor your boat? Or perhaps you’re looking for gadgets to make anchoring your boat easier? No problem! At Hagadone Marine Center, we offer a variety of boating services, boating products, and more to help you enjoy your time on the water.