One of the most important features of a boat is the anchor. They come in all different shapes, sizes, and designs, and can either be used temporarily or permanently to prevent your vessel from drifting in the wind or current.
In this article, we will be looking into the seven most common types of anchors, to help you find the best one for your boat.
The right anchor for your boat is typically dependent on the boat's size, the model, the weather conditions you boat in, and the underwater conditions. Moreover, another important factor to consider is the weight of the anchor.
With all this in mind, we will be exploring all the different types of boat anchors, to help you choose the right one for you.
Types Of Boat Anchors
Boat anchors come in many different styles, materials, weights, sizes, and designs. With so many anchors available on the market, choosing the perfect one for your boat can sometimes be overwhelming.
However, you no longer have to worry! We have created a comprehensive guide on all the best boat anchors, so you can confidently choose the best one for your boating needs. Let’s get straight into it!
Claw/ Bruce Anchor
As its name suggests, this Claw/ Bruce anchor is shaped as a claw – this design allows it to turn 360 degrees without breaking from the moors. This makes it a popular choice among recreational boat enthusiasts worldwide.
The quick rise in popularity of the anchor was chiefly due to its capacity to be dropped at any angle and manage to right itself.
In the 1970s, the Bruce Anchor Group developed and designed this type of anchor. However, in the early 2000s, the anchor's design patent expired, meaning that since then, the design has been copied by other companies.
One example of this type of anchor would be the Lewmar Claw Anchor. It is composed of high-grade, tough steel and it is suitable for a range of different sea beds.
In addition to this, the anchor is also bow roller storable, too – making storage easier than ever!
This anchor can be used on many different types of sea bottoms, including rock, mud, coral, and sand.
However, claw anchors have a harder time penetrating through more solid materials, such as sea bottoms containing heavy grass and clay, than other types of anchors.
Therefore, if the above information sounds ideal for your boating requirements, then you should consider purchasing an anchor with a three-claw design.
When comparing this anchor design to others, its notable feature is that it sets itself more efficiently.
Plow Style Anchor Or CQR/Plow & Delta/Wing
The Plow Style anchor is a great option for anchoring to many different sea bottoms – making it a popular choice among the boating community.
These plow-style anchors either have a fixed (Delta-style) or pivoting (CQR) shank.
When dropped onto the seafloor, one of the anchor’s plows lands sideways. Then, once pulled, the plow buries itself in the ground.
Due to the specific design of the anchor, if the tide of wind were to change the position of the boat, it can easily reset itself.
One example of this anchor would be the Lewmar Galvanized Delta Anchor.
What makes this anchor one of the best around is its high-grade manganese steel, various weight availability, and its self-launching mechanism.
Another example of a plow-style anchor would be the Morphorn Delta Style Boat Anchor.
Composed of high-grade and corrosion-resistant 316 stainless steel. The anchor can be deployed between an impressive depth of 28 to 42 feet.
The main differences between the Delta and the CQR are how they’re designed.
Delta has a one-piece style, whereas the CQR anchors contain a hinged style. This design, for the CQR, dates back to the 1930s – so you know it’s reliable!
Both these designs work well in different sea bottoms running from grass and weeds to sand. Although, they perform less efficiently on rocks and soft-bottomed sands.
Danforth/ Fluke Or Lightweight Anchor
Unlike some of the already mentioned anchors, this type of anchor has two elongated pivoting ‘flukes’. Another anchor featuring this design is called the Fortress.
It is different from the Danforth as it is generally composed of lightweight and high-strength aluminum as opposed to cast-galvanized steel.
Since these anchors are more lightweight, they are typically suited for smaller, recreational fishing boats.
An appealing feature is that they are extremely effective in muddy and hard sandy bottoms. Moreover, their lightweight nature makes them the perfect choice for secondary anchors.
One example of the Danforth-style anchor would be the Fortress Marine Anchors – Fortress FX-16.
This is ideal for boats measuring between 33 to 39 feet long. It is composed of high-tech, rustproof, and hardened aluminum-magnesium alloy.
At the fraction of the weight of some other anchors, it provides great holding power. Moreover, in more than 20 independent tests around the world, this anchor has achieved the highest rating of all boat anchors.
If you need more convincing, just know that these anchors are utilized by the U.S. Navy and the U.S. Coast Guard, too.
Moreover, if your boat is on a smaller scale, then you might want to consider the Fortress FX-7, which is developed by the same company.
Fluke-style anchor designs are more suited to boats measuring between 16 to 27 feet long.
Similar to the Danforth anchors, these are also composed of rustproof, high-tech, and hardened aluminum-magnesium alloys, which have been tried and tested by the U.S. Navy and Coast Guard.
The Rocna anchor is another popular type of anchor. The anchor was developed by Peter Smith, a New Zealand cruiser.
With both experience and enthusiasm on his side, he developed the anchor's modification after producing over 100,000 nautical miles out at sea. Where he discovered the need for a new and improved anchor.
After years of trial and error, the anchor was finally released in 2004. Today, it is regarded as the best multi-purpose anchor for boats in the world.
Due to the anchor's roll bar integration design. This ensures perfect positioning every time, allowing the anchor to twist and turn to create the ideal setting angle when hitting the seafloor.
In addition to this, the anchor also features setting skids, which allow the anchor to remain in the correct position when sitting on the seafloor.
A concave fluke is equipped to the anchor, allowing it to effectively cut through the sea bed. This ensures it is buried quickly and efficiently.
Moreover, another good example of this type of boat anchor is the Rocna Galvanized Anchor.
Composed of galvanized steel, it is one of the best multi-purpose anchors suitable for a range of different seafloor conditions.
Whether you have a superyacht or a small runabout, this type of anchor is perfect for all different kinds of boats.
If you have a dingy, kayak, or canoe (see also 'The Top 5 Canoe Dollies On The Market Today'), you should consider purchasing a grapnel-type anchor since they’re designed for much smaller boats. While they don’t have an impressive holding capacity, they are perfect for smaller watercraft.
Likewise, this is a popular anchor among fishermen with smaller fishing boats. A notable feature of these anchors is that they can be folded down for easy and minimal storage.
Moreover, they are typically used by those involved in wreck reef anchoring and the recovery of bottom items.
A great example of this anchor type is the Extreme Max 3006.66788 BoatTector Folding/ Grapnel Anchor. It is a stainless steel anchor weighing as little as 5.5 pounds.
It makes for an ideal anchor on dinghies, inflatable boats, PWCs, canoes, and Jon boats (see also 'Converting A Jon Boat To A Bass Boat (Step-By-Step)').
They are best for hard and rocky sea beds, as well as grasses and weeds. Although, they are typically only recommended for short holds in low or no current conditions.
This anchor gets its name from its shape which is similar to a mushroom. These mushroom-shaped anchors are typically used for moorings – working best in soft seafloor conditions where their unique shape creates a suction in the ground.
These mushroom anchors are ideal for small boats; however, some of the larger types of anchors can be used to permanently moor buoys. The holding power located in these anchors is found in the silt, which is built up over them.
Once the silt has buried the anchor, tremendous holding power is formed. This makes them ideal for lake or seat bottoms, with either soft mud, silt, or unpacked sand.
A good example of the mushroom boat anchor system is the Seachoice Mushroom Anchor.
Composed of cast iron, this anchor is painted with aluminum with a vinyl coating. Perfect for mooring buoys and small boats.
Its vinyl coating ensures that the hull of the boat is protected against any damage once the anchor is deployed. Suitable for small boats measuring up to 24 feet, it is a durable boat anchor that weighs approximately 20 pounds.
An attractive feature of the box anchor that makes it popular among boating enthusiasts is its ability to set immediately into a lake or sea bottom without any additional support from the boat.
Therefore, you don’t need to worry about powering down the boat to ensure the anchor’s stability.
This anchor is ideal for boats measuring a maximum length of 70 feet. Moreover, it contains the following features:
- Ability to reset itself if changed by the current, weather, or wind conditions.
- Easily sets into different kinds of bottom conditions.
- Folds compactly for storage.
- This anchor only requires half of the line length when compared to other anchors.
An example of the box anchor would be the Slide Anchor – Box Anchor for Offshore Boat Anchoring.
It is a smaller anchor making it ideal for boats measuring between 18 to 30 feet in length, as well as for cabin cruisers featuring a maximum length of 24 feet.
Regardless of the conditions, this anchor will be able to withstand and set into many different sea beds, without requiring any of the boat’s power.
All you need to do is switch off the boat’s engine, throw the anchor overboard, and it will settle within 1 foot of where the anchor was thrown. Its particular design makes it easier to control where you place your boat.
Generic Vs. Trademarked Anchor Names
Achor names can sometimes get confusing. This is due to the fact that many boat anchors are primarily known by their trademark or brand names as opposed to their generic names.
Therefore, to help you understand the differences more clearly, we have outlined the generic and trademark names of the best boat anchors.
Here are the different names:
- Claw – Bruce
- Plow/ Hinged Plow – CQR
- Fluke – Danforth
- Wing – Delta
Tips For Choosing The Right Anchor For Your Boat
As previously mentioned, choosing the right anchor for your boat can sometimes be difficult. Especially since there are so many different options available on the market, ranging from size to weight to shape.
Therefore, we have created some helpful tips on how to choose the best anchor for your boat.
Use Two Anchors With Different Styles
For optimum anchoring security, you should always opt for two anchors featuring different styles, the one sole anchor.
Depending on the type of sea flooring you’re trying to attach; will influence the required anchor.
Similarly, there may be times or conditions where you’ll need to utilize an anchor on both the stem and the bow for extra security.
Consider Weather And Water Conditions
Deliberating the water current conditions you encounter on your boating trips, the weather, as well as the bottom characteristics will help you decipher the best anchor for you.
Being made aware of these different factors will help you when choosing the right anchor for your boat.
Choose The Correct Size
Depending on the size of your boat, this will determine what size anchor you will need.
For instance, if you have a smaller boat, you’ll need a smaller anchor; this goes the same for larger boats and anchors.
Choose The Right Weight
Having the correct anchor weight will enhance the anchor holding power. For instance, if your anchor only weighs 5 pounds, it should be able to hold anything up to 1,000 pounds.
Therefore, the heavier the anchor, the more holding power it will contain. However, this doesn’t mean you need to purchase a heavy-weight anchor for a small boat such as a dingy or canoe. Since this will be counterproductive.
Therefore, you need to take into consideration the size of your boat which will, thus, give you an accurate depiction of the best anchor weight for your boat’s requirements.
The different boat anchor types include the Claw/Bruce, Plow Style or CQR/ Plow & Delta/ Wing, Danforth/Fluke or Lightweight, Rocna, Grapnel, Mushroom, and Box.
Each anchor is unique in its design, weight, and size. Different sea conditions and sea floors pose particular challenges for all types of anchors.
With different anchors more suited for different conditions.
Therefore, the right anchor for your boat should be determined by your specific requirements; this includes the weight of your boat, size, and boating conditions.
The general rule of thumb is that the anchor's weight is more important than the design when it comes to holding power and penetrating the sea bed.
With the above guide, you should be able to determine which anchor you need based on your boat’s specific requirements.
Hopefully, this guide has informed you on everything you need to know about the types of boat anchors so you can choose the best one for you.