By Wayne Spivak,
United States Coast Guard Auxiliary
Last summer, my wife and I met up
with two other boats at Zachs Bay, a cove by Jones Beach on the South
Shore of Long Island, NY. While the friends were conversing, a
twenty-seven foot cabin cruiser motored to a position about 10 feet
west of us. The actions of the Skipper of that Twenty-seven footer
have given all of us hours of chuckles, humorous stories and a great
safety and education lesson. The skipper of this vessel broke almost
every anchoring lesson we teach in our Coast Guard Auxiliary Basic
skipper of the cabin cruiser skillfully positioned his boat, he turned
off his engine and broke out his anchor, in order to prepare for the
anchoring. What happens next was unbelievable! You had six
individuals, four of whom had just finished the Basic Boating Course,
and two others who have been boating for years aghast!
breaking out his anchor and line, the skipper stepped to the stern of
his boat, took aim and with great effort did throw out his anchor. The
anchor flew through the air and then took a majestic arch hitting the
water about eight feet away from his boat. As the anchor is falling to
the bottom (which was only about six feet) we all kept seeing the line
following this anchor down and down and down. Not just a few extra
feet of line followed the anchor, but all the line, including the
bitter end. This skipper had forgotten to tie off the line to the
was not funny enough, the skipper then proceeded to jump off his boat
into the Bay to retrieve the anchor. During the jump, he stepped on
his dingy that was precariously tied down to his stern rails. For his
next attempt at anchoring, the skipper gave his wife the bitter end
and repeated the anchor throw. This time, he did not lose the anchor
line and was able to tie off his anchor line.
skipper obviously never took a boating course. He violated the
following rules we were all taught in Basic Boating:
Don't turn off the engine until you have secured your
vessel, or are confident the anchor has set.
You never throw an anchor; you drop an anchor.
Make sure the anchor line's bitter end is secured to
the boat prior to dropping your anchor.
Never just jump off your boat without making sure of
what's underneath the water.
If you're going to violate these safety rules, don't
do it with fifty boats anchored within eye shot!
For more information about Boating Education, contact
your local Coast Guard Auxiliary Flotilla, either thru your local
Coast Guard Station or on the web at
The American Boating Association
PO Box 690
New Market, MD 21774