Three Ways to Use Two Anchors

Three ways to set an anchor.

One anchor is good, so two should be better, right? But how you deploy two sets of ground tackle depends on your situation and a number of variables, including the wind, water depth, sea state, and other boats in the area. For example, do you set both off the bow, or one off the bow and the other off the stern?

Bahamian Moor
Bahamian Moor Tim Barker

1. Bahamian Moor
One way to limit the amount of swinging a boat does when at anchor is to use the Bahamian moor, which basically consists of two widely spaced anchors off the bow. Start by anchoring into the current, and then backing down to set the first hook. Continue reversing to twice the distance you ultimately plan to use for your rode. Drop the second anchor directly down-current from the first; make sure it’s set, and then position yourself halfway between the two. On some boats, it might be easier to use a stern cleat to set the second anchor because it keeps the rode away from the propellers. Once the second anchor is set, you can then transfer the line to the bow. The biggest concern with establishing a Bahamian moor is slack on the lines because that can lead to fouling one of the rodes in the boat’s running gear.

Slide Anchor
Not Quite Beached Slide Anchor

2. Not Quite Beached
My boat has two outboard motors with the water pickups on the bottom of the lower units instead of higher up on the legs. As a result, I don’t like to beach the boat. When I head to the popular sandbar on Sebago Lake, I back in so the bow can ride over incoming boat wakes. I set the anchor to put the boat in a position where the kids and I can hop off easily. Then I drive a Slide Anchor ($69.99, spike-style anchor into the sand at the shore to secure the stern line. This technique would also be good for watersports tow boats with fixed running gear.

Double Anchoring
Double Anchoring Tim Barker

3. Double Anchoring
Another approach to anchoring just off the beach is most easily accomplished with a crew. Have a crew member drop the bow anchor offshore, positioned to allow the boat to be where you want it when it’s moored. He or she then pays out rode as you slowly idle bow first into shore, setting that anchor, but ­continuing on. Next, shut off the motors and raise the drive or outboard. Have the crew either drop the bow anchor or jump off and plant the bow anchor by hand. You pull the boat into the desired position by adjusting the length of the forward rode. Your crew adjusts the anchor on the beach and secures the boat in place by tightening the second rode.