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Anchoring Procedures


All key personnel (both Deck and Engine Departments) must be kept informed of the

expected time of maneuvering and anchoring.

Letting Go

Using standard procedures, letting go the anchor is a controlled process typically as


a. The foredeck crew will usually consist of the Chief Mate, Bosun and one seaman.

Eye protection is required to protect from flying rust and dust. PFDs and hard hats

are to be worn. Gloves are recommended for use with the required turnbuckle

wrench and mallet.

b. The Master will give the order to make (starboard/port) anchor ready for letting go.

Confirm depth of water, type of bottom and number of shots to let out. The steps involved are:

  • 1. Assemble tools and look over the side to make sure all is clear

  • 2. Turn on power to windlass

  • 3. Ease off on the brake for the anchor to be used. The turnbuckle & pelican hook will catch any slack

  • 4. Engage the wildcat and take up tension on the chain

  • 5. Back off on the turnbuckle and disconnect pelican hook

  • 6. Ease the chain out and stop on the signal of the Mate who will ensure that the anchor is eased out enough to allow a free decent when the brake is released.

  • 7. Put the brake on tightly and place the pelican hook on the chain but keep it lazy.

  • 8. Disengage the wildcat. You are now ready for letting go under controlled .conditions

  • 9. Upon receiving the command from the bridge to let go, once again check over the side, ensure that the foredeck is clear and safe when clear, knock the turnbuckle pelican hook off the chain with the mallet.

  • 10. Ease off on the brake and drop the anchor under control to the bottom. Once on the bottom it will be necessary to place some pressure on thebrake so that as the ship eases back, the chain pays out as needed an does not pile up upon itself. The Bosun or seaman will call out the shots as they pass across the deck until the desired length is at the water’s edge or on deck whereupon the brake will be fully engaged, and the turnbuckle or "devils claw" will be placed on the chain to take the strain. Once this is done, the brake will be eased and all strain removed from the windlass.

  • 11. Raise the black ball dayshape or turn on the anchor lights as appropriate

  • 12. The foredeck crew informs the bridge and stands by until it is determined that the anchor has been set and holding. The Master will set an anchor watch and the Watch Officer will ensure that the seaman makes periodic checks of the ground tackle and reports back to the Watch Officer. (to whom?)

  • 13. The anchor watch will take all appropriate measures making use of available equipment to ascertain that the anchor is not dragging, will record bearings and positions on a regular basis paying special attention to changes in wind direction and speed and changes in the currents. If it is determined that the anchor is dragging, the Master will be notified at once and the main engine, if not already running and on standby, shall be started as soon as is safe to do so and made ready. In an emergency, a second anchor shall be set to minimize dragging. Failing that, any and all measures available such as a tug or other rescue vessel(s) shall be summoned or placed on standby until the situation is under control. If under the control or direction of port authorities, they must be notified as soon as an adverse situation begins to develop.

Weighing Anchor

Using standard procedures, weighing the anchor is a process typically as follows:

  • a. Assemble foredeck crew with required gear.

  • b. Rig and charge the foredeck fire station hose to the hawse pipe and prepare to wash off mud from incoming chain.

  • c. Have a seaman standby the chain locker to make sure that the chain spills evenly and does not become entangled or fouled. At no point shall anyone enter the chain locker for any reason while anchoring or hauling is taking place. At other times, it will require the permission of the officer on watch.

  • d. Turn on the windlass and wait for the bridge to pass the word to "heave in".

  • e. Engage the wildcat.

  • f. Take up on chain and, with the mallet; knock off the turnbuckle pelican hook. The Mate or member of the foredeck crew will give hand signals to the bridge indicating the direction the chain is leading. Special attention will be paid to minimize the chain from tending across the bow by signaling the bridge right away. Inform the bridge when the chain is "up and down' and when the anchor is "aweigh". Upon sighting the anchor, inform the bridge whether it is clear or foul.

  • g. Heave in until the anchor is snugged in the hawse; drop day shape or switch navigation lighting as appropriate after informing the bridge.

  • h. Engage the turnbuckle and pelican hook and start taking up on the turnbuckle while easing the chain off the wildcat so that when the turnbuckle is as tight as possible and the anchor is made fast and secure the chain between the turnbuckle and wildcat has a small cantenary indicating that there is no tension on the wildcat or windlass.

  • i. Disengage the wildcat and engage the brake. Secure power.

  • j. Notify the bridge

** In cold weather while in port, cover the windlass with a ready made cover in order to

prevent ice from freezing the unit making it inoperable and ready for immediate use.

The cover is removed and stowed once underway.


Each department head must ensure that all maintenance performed by his/her

department is entered in a log book.

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