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Thread: Improper Anchoring Fatality Report

  1. #1

    Default Improper Anchoring Fatality Report

    Here is a link to the report on the recent boating incident in Florida that killed the three NFL / college players. Improper anchoring of the boat is the offical Coast Guard cause, but the details are that they had a stuck anchor and in an effort to pull it free, moved the anchor line to the transom. When the boat was powered forward "it became submerged".

    http://sports.espn.go.com/nfl/news/story?id=4020753

    I am not trying to cast blame at the individuals involved - it is a great reminder about anchoring and proper methods to free an anchor. Anyone who has done much boating in PWS has stuck an anchor and thought of ways to pull it free. Let's use this incident to live and learn.

    Be safe!
    Nozzlehog

  2. #2
    Member Alaska Gray's Avatar
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    Default

    Sad, I remember it happen not to long ago in Homer.
    Living the Alaskan Dream
    Gary Keller
    Anchorage, AK

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    Default Remember Deep Creek A few Years Back

    I was out of Deep Creek a few years back and a very tragic thing happened. An Alaska resident had just got his brother and his wife off the plane and decided to take them out fishing at Deep Creek. The weather turned nasty and he tried pulling the anchor from the back - sinking the boat and loosing his brothers wife and almost all three of them.
    From what I was told they were way to far out for the type and style of
    boat that day.
    Be safe - and don't try to pull the anchor from the back!
    How stupid is it to be wasting tons of salmon and halibut as bycatch in the Bering Sea and then have the coastal villages hollaring they have no food? It's got to stop!

  4. #4

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    Friends,
    Anchor deployment and retrieval are two of the most dangerous things that we do on our boats. A schoolmate of mine lost his life when he got caught up in his anchor line while deploying in the Columbia River. Pulled under in front of his daughter.
    In my 30 years of boating I've had to abandon two anchors that were stuck on the bottom.
    Once my Danforth got stuck on the bottom of a reservoir and after an hour of horsing her from every angle I had to cut her free. This wasn't too dangerous but I lost the anchor, chain, shackles, and most of a spendy anchor line.
    Another time I was in the lower Columbia and stuck bad in real deep water during a powerful ebb tide. This time I had a $130.00 Bruce, chain, shackles, and 250' of premium line at stake. About $250.00 in ground tackle that I really wanted to save. I tried powering away from all angles and nothing was working. I tried pulling up all the scope and attempting to dislodge it vertically. Nothing! The bow of my C-Dory was a scary place to be. After a while I looked up to see an ocean-going freighter approaching. She was pushing a massive bow wave. Time had run out. I retrieved my fillet knife and cut loose my gear. My fishing buddy couldn't believe what I'd just done but I was ok with it.
    What makes anchoring so dangerous is the speed that things go bad. You never think that it'll happen to you but by the time you recognize that you're in trouble it's too late.

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    Default Doel-fins are bad anchor rope catchers

    I have heard many people say how great it is to attached a Doel-fin attachment to the outboard for better stability. They are nice but keep in mind when pulling an anchor - if you ever slip up and get the anchor rope on top of the fin, things will turn to sh"" real quick. I did that on my 1st boat and came very close to having the back end pulled down by a fast tide. Lucky enough it slipped off and the boat shot back to the anchor point very quickly.
    How stupid is it to be wasting tons of salmon and halibut as bycatch in the Bering Sea and then have the coastal villages hollaring they have no food? It's got to stop!

  6. #6
    Member algonquin's Avatar
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    I've been running in the lower Cook for 15 years and 10 on my own boat. We used to anchor on the bigger boat but on my 21' its out of the question. An old fisherman ,I greatly respect, told me never anchor up when you are alone or have a mate that is new. Even chartering we do fine without anchoring, just plan your trip to the tides.

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    Default Never considered a stern pull

    I guess years of Navy training an operating my own crew boats made that obvious but my sympathy goes out to these guys. The ocean is unforgiving even if you are a neophyte. There could not be a better case for training.

    I am in total agreement with the earlier post about knowing when to cut that line and just let it go. Your life and boat are a bunch more valuable than anchoring tackle.

    Another tip. Carry spare anchor tackle and I mean the whole bit. Also, a proper stern stability anchor (not really an anchor) can be a valuable tool but only if used correctly and appropriately.

  8. #8

    Default Anchor pulling with a bouy

    I have also seen first hand some one connect the bouy line to the anchor line and take off. The anchor was hard fast to the bottom, when the boat line tighened up the boat rolled 60 degrees or what ever. Lucky some thing broke and the boat very violently rolled back to center. We went over and every one was ok, bloody and beat up but alive. After checking the boat started they went home.
    Number one reason I do not use bouy.

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    Default drifting

    Herein lies the reason I have become a drift fisherman. With 30` tides, I`d rather not fight with anchor lines all day. I had the amazing opportunity to observe a boat "hung" on the rocks near Knight Island. They were walking the anchor line all around the boat and backed the engine up over the line at which point I had to ask if they needed assistance. They declined and I left after watching for 45 minutes. There were 7 people on this 25 foot boat most of them kids.

  10. #10
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    Default stern anchoring = no no.

    Quote Originally Posted by traderjon View Post
    I guess years of Navy training an operating my own crew boats made that obvious but my sympathy goes out to these guys. The ocean is unforgiving even if you are a neophyte. There could not be a better case for training.

    I am in total agreement with the earlier post about knowing when to cut that line and just let it go. Your life and boat are a bunch more valuable than anchoring tackle.

    Another tip. Carry spare anchor tackle and I mean the whole bit. Also, a proper stern stability anchor (not really an anchor) can be a valuable tool but only if used correctly and appropriately.
    Good advise traderjon. The reason it's dangerous to anchor from the stern or to pull a anchor from the stern is, the stern has less flotation than the bow in most boats. And if you are pulling off a stern corner, you have even less flotation. With the power in most of today's engines, it's easy to pull a corner under before you realize what is happening. Once you dip it and take on water, the extra weight slows the recovery even after you back off on the throttle. And if you have a large amount of water washing around inside your boat, you have lost much of your stability. Any large waves can knock you back over to take more water and compound your problem.

    The second reason you never want to anchor off your stern is, boats are built to cut through waves bow first. The bow is pointed and in most boats, the stern is square besides being lower in the water than the bow. So if the seas are up, the waves strike you harder on the stern than on the bow. Many times this can cause water to well up and over the stern and cause the same stability problems mentioned above. To make matters worse, There will be more pressure exerted on the anchor line because much more surface of the boat will be struck by the waves on the stern, so pulling your anchor will be harder. Lastly, the line is back by your unit, so there is much more chance of tangling the line in your prop or around your lower unit. It's a bad deal all the way around.

    Always anchor off your bow. And if you do get a stuck anchor, consider a few things. Is it so rough you'll be putting yourself in danger to try to tow it loose? If so or even marginal, have a buoy handy to attach to your anchor line and just let it go. You can always come back when the weather calms to retrieve it. And as traderjon pointed out, always carry a spare anchor set up.

    If the weather and seas are OK, then try to unstick it carefully. The secret is don't do anything fast or hard. While you may end up powering it pretty hard, you want to feather it up so you are under control at all times. It you gun it and go for it, when the line tightens up, it's gonna jerk the boat hard. You may break something, or lose your balance and grip on the controls, or even capsize the boat before you have time to react.

    The second secret is to pull up the slack in the anchor line as you slowly move forward. When the line is finally straight up and down and you can't take any more slack out, tie it off to the best cleat you have. Then slowly increase your rpms being aware of what the boat is doing. Don't get a lot of pressure on it and then make a sharp turn. This can cause you to capsize if it suddenly pulls from the side instead of off the bow. Try to face into the waves when you do this as that is more than likely the direction you got stuck in, unless you have been there a long time. And lastly, if it just won't come loose, it's better to leave it buoyed than break something trying to get it loose. At least you'll have a mooring buoy the next time you go out!

    One last warning, don't put yourself or anyone in a direct line of the anchor line in case it breaks. The force of a broken line snapping back and hitting you can kill you. And even if it doesn't, it can maim or hurt you badly.

    This is the voice of experience speaking. I was seining at the Valdez hatchery in the 80's as a skiff man. Somehow, the skipper got the seine hung up under the boat and he wanted me to tow him off the net. I got going about half throttle but the net wouldn't come loose so i gave it a little more power. The skipper then signaled me to let up so I pulled back on the throttle. This should have been the end of it, but we were using a leased skiff and it had a one handle throttle, gear shift. It had been installed backwards so forward was reverse and reverse was forward. In my haste to throttle down, I actually throttled up and the boat jumped so hard that I fell back while still holding the throttle handle which cause me to give it full throttle. I kept my balance and stayed standing somehow, but even that turned into a bad thing. The tow line broke and snapped back and hit me in the middle of my left thigh so hard that all I can imagine is that it felt like what being shot must feel like. I honestly thought my thighbone had been broken. I fell to the deck and couldn't move and the pain was so bad, I thought I was going to puke. Luckily a crew on another boat saw the whole thing and sent their skiff man over to get me and make sure I was OK. I wasn't, but they took me over to my own seiner. My thigh stuck out at least three inches farther than normal and was totally black and blue from my knee to my hip. I still thought the bone was crushed. Meanwhile, I had to wait until our boat got the seine back aboard and then they ran me back across the bay and to the hospital. Took about an hour. And I thought the initial pain was bad, but then the numbness (how you can be numb and feel that much pain I'll never know) wore off and my leg felt like it was on fire. Absolute worst no holds barred pain I've ever felt in my life. I'd have cut my leg off if I could have to get rid of it. Got to the hospital was examined and found that there was nothing broken, only "the biggest bruise", the Dr told me, "he'd ever seen".

    So caution is the order of the day when it comes to stuck anchors!

  11. #11

    Default Knife!

    I have a blaze orange handled serated razor sharp knife taped to my bow rail in it's sheath. It's mounted a foot from the anchor line, you can't run back to the cabin to retrieve a knife to cut the line if something happens. Everyone should have one mounted right by the anchor somewhere. I tell everyone on board, if we are fishing at anchor out in the open (not coved up) and someone goes overboard cut the anchor line. Some people don't understand the speed of the current and how it can flow like a river. It doesn't look like anything in the middle of the ocean until you anchor in a tide change and throw your line out and watch it go almost straight. Someone could drift so far away from the boat so fast, life jacket or not, they'd be gone.

  12. #12
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    Default any time their are line or ropes on the boat, have a knife

    Quote Originally Posted by Myers View Post
    I have a blaze orange handled serated razor sharp knife taped to my bow rail in it's sheath. It's mounted a foot from the anchor line, you can't run back to the cabin to retrieve a knife to cut the line if something happens. Everyone should have one mounted right by the anchor somewhere. I tell everyone on board, if we are fishing at anchor out in the open (not coved up) and someone goes overboard cut the anchor line. Some people don't understand the speed of the current and how it can flow like a river. It doesn't look like anything in the middle of the ocean until you anchor in a tide change and throw your line out and watch it go almost straight. Someone could drift so far away from the boat so fast, life jacket or not, they'd be gone.
    While sailing in San Fransisco the lines somehow got tangled by the mast (our fault for having loose lines). The wind picked up and we needed to get the sails in but couldn't due to the tangled line. And we then found that we couldn't tack due to the lines being tight. We were heading toward land with no way to stop or tack.... long story short we got the lines untangled about 50 yards from land. The strong wind was pulling the sail which was holding the tangled line. Exhausted after fighting the line I told my brother that we really needed a knife with us at all times. You never know. We never would have thought that could have happen... but it did.

    As for the anchor thing, do you guys carry a 2nd anchor and rope on your boat as a backup

  13. #13

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    Emu,
    I do not carry a second anchor set-up. If something happens to my anchor, I'm heading in or if something happens that I need a second one I probably have bigger problems unfolding. The one I have is a monster set-up that can not be 'carried twice' it's on the larger-than-necessary-for-boat-size.

  14. #14

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    What about completely protected bays? I've stern anchored in calm protected water, but re-thinking that as well -- thoughts?

  15. #15
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    Default Stern anchoring advice!

    As many experienced posters have said, "Don't anchor from the stern!" Several lives have been lost by those with anchor lines tied to the stern; one particular one occurred in Cook Inlet (2004) when the boat was fishing at normal (bow) anchor and the tide turned quickly (as it does in Cook Inlet and many other places in Alaska) and the boat's stern swung over the anchor line which fouled in the outdrive and effectively anchored the boat from the stern....literally in minutes, the boat swamped as the stern was pulled down and a 10 year old boy died.

    The lessons learned from improper anchoring are worth reviewing and please consider other alternatives. For example; some years back, I had an older friend who purchased a 2859 Bayliner and it was almost impossible for him or his wife to move forward along the narrow gunnel to set/retrieve the anchor, so we devised a method in which he could properly anchor from the bow without ever going forward. We built a davit on the port side stern with a open block pulley at the top and another near the bottom with a swivel 'collar' that allowed the anchor line to be angled toward a power winch mounted on the bulkhead. We then ran a line along the port side with one end secured to the proper cleat on the bow and the other end with an eye splice tied off to the port stern cleat (like a bow painter). The anchor rode (chain and line) was secured in a milk crate on the aft deck and all he had to do is lower his anchor over the side, deploy adequate scope and connect the bow painter to his anchor line, then let out enough line to allow the bow cleat to take the strain, back down a little to set the anchor and simply reverse the process to weigh anchor. It worked like a charm as long as he didn't get lazy and just cleat off the anchor line on the stern cleat. Anyway, it was a viable alternative that worked well and avoided a potential problem from occurring. Boat Safe! Mike

  16. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by canuckjgc View Post
    What about completely protected bays? I've stern anchored in calm protected water, but re-thinking that as well -- thoughts?
    You're probably fine. It is not that big of a deal in shallow water with protection. There are many situations where doing what you suggest is needed to keep the boat pointed the right direction.

  17. #17
    Member jrogers's Avatar
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Myers View Post
    Emu,
    I do not carry a second anchor set-up. If something happens to my anchor, I'm heading in or if something happens that I need a second one I probably have bigger problems unfolding. The one I have is a monster set-up that can not be 'carried twice' it's on the larger-than-necessary-for-boat-size.

    Meyers,

    I carry a Force Storm anchor as a backup. It is light and compact, and even breaks down and stores in a bag that they have for it along with some chain. It may not be as good as what you formally use, but it would be better than nothing in an unexpected situation.

    http://www.fortressanchors.com/fortr...hor_guide.html

    I also carry a Para-tech sea anchor as well, of course I am pretty paraniod.

    http://www.seaanchor.com/

    Jim

  18. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by Emu View Post
    While sailing in San Fransisco the lines somehow got tangled by the mast (our fault for having loose lines). The wind picked up and we needed to get the sails in but couldn't due to the tangled line. And we then found that we couldn't tack due to the lines being tight. We were heading toward land with no way to stop or tack.... long story short we got the lines untangled about 50 yards from land. The strong wind was pulling the sail which was holding the tangled line. Exhausted after fighting the line I told my brother that we really needed a knife with us at all times. You never know. We never would have thought that could have happen... but it did.

    As for the anchor thing, do you guys carry a 2nd anchor and rope on your boat as a backup
    I carry an extra anchor and rode. If I'm out for the weekend and my anchor is stuck the morning after my first night out, I don't want that to be the end of my weekend because I'd have no anchor for the rest of the weekend. My backup anchor is not as beefy as my main and would not be a good storm anchor, but it would work find in a cove with relatively calm water.

  19. #19
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    Default

    Thanks jrogers for that post. I always carry a second set of ground gear (anchor, chain and 600 ' of rode) in case I have an engine failure while coming back from a trip where I may have lost my primary set of ground gear but still kept going because I had a backup set of gear. But I have always wondered what would I do in the middle of PWS if I lost power and that anchor rode is too short to hook up with the bottom due to the extreme depth. That seaanchor setup is just what I was looking for in bad seas when I can't keep the bow into the seas without power and too deep for an anchor hookup.

    Thanks again.

  20. #20
    Member spoiled one's Avatar
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    Default

    I carry a complete replacement of 600' of rode, 40' of 3/8" chain, and a 33 pound bruce style anchor as well as replacement shackles. I like the looks of the para-tech sea anchor set ups Jim. I carry a sea anchor, but it is nowhere near what the para-techs are. How many more days until shrimping?
    Spending my kids' inheritance with them, one adventure at a time.

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