Step 7) Survey the Scene
Once the hook is down, evaluate the situation. Did you end up where you intended? Do you have sufficient swinging room to clear all that’s around you? Is the anchor holding? A good way to check if you’re set is to look at a point on the shore and then another one 90 degrees from that. Your reference points shouldn’t change angle much. You’ll swing a little but if you move out of those two angles, the anchor isn’t set.
Step 8) Repeat if necessary
There’s no shame in re-anchoring if something isn’t right. If you ended up too close to another boat or suspect the anchor isn’t holding, try again. It’s better to re-anchor and have peace-of-mind. The best way to determine if you have to repeat the process is to sit a while and watch the boat move. Don’t just anchor and immediately leave the boat unattended.
Step 9) Retrieve in reverse
When you’re ready to go, start your engine(s) before un-cleating the rode. If there’s a lot of strain on the rode (for example if there’s wind or current), un-cleat it partially and motor slowly forward to take the strain off. Watch your fingers. Pull the rode in. If the anchor gets stuck, cleat the line off and motor forward which should turn the anchor up on its end and break it free. This may take a few tries but as you do it, don’t hold the rode in your hand – use the cleat.
Step 10) Stow neatly
Flake the rode into the anchor locker neatly so it doesn’t come out tangled the next time you want to use it. Once you have the anchor out of the water, lay it carefully on the rode and secure it so it doesn’t bang around as you head home over possibly choppy water.
A large part of anchor safety is doing everything slowly and mindfully. Think through each step before you ever open the anchor locker, make a plan, keep your hands and fingers clear and have patience. Soon you’ll be anchoring like a pro.