Definition of a Boat Anchor

Definition of a Boat Anchor
Though a seemingly simple piece of equipment, anchors have sections and different uses. Easily defined, yet having many types and styles, anchors are an enigmatic piece of nautical equipment.

As Defined By...

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines "anchor" as "a device, usually of metal, attached to a ship or boat by a cable and cast overboard to hold it in a particular place by means of a fluke that digs into the bottom."

Anchor Parts

Flukes are the hooked ends of an anchor that dig into the seabed to provide the tethering point.

The shank is the part of the anchor from which the flukes project. It is the main part of the hook on the anchor. Attached to a cable, or "rode", shanks are the structural strong point of an anchor.

Grapnels are a style of anchor that does not have flukes. Grapnels are used to attach to a sea bed made of coral.

Specialty Anchors

A mooring is a permanent anchor. It is seldom moved and requires specialized equipment and teams of workers to remove or pull up.

Sea anchors are ballast bags that take in water and are placed in the sea to slow or steady a ship.

Traditional Anchors

With two long flukes that pivot on the shank, Danforth anchors bury and hold under tension. Danforth anchors are best used in sand, gravel and mud as they do not get purchase in sea grass or a clay bottom.

Bruce anchors have a single fluke and allow the boat to swing in a full circle while tethered. Bruce anchors hold well in most soils and materials; sea grass is the exception.

A New Type of Anchor

Developed in 2004 in New Zealand, rocnas are an anchor used in sea grass and water plants. Still falling within the dictionary definition of anchor, rocnas are a specialized form of sea tethering. Rocnas have a concave, single fluke that looks much like a garden trowel.

Article Written By Eric Cedric

A former Alaskan of 20 years, Eric Cedric now resides in California. He's published in "Outside" and "Backpacker" and has written a book on life in small-town Alaska, "North by Southeast." Cedric was a professional mountain guide and backcountry expedition leader for 18 years. He worked in Russia, Iceland, Greece, Turkey and Belize. Cedric attended Syracuse University and is a private pilot.

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