The chain plays a fundamental role in setting and holding the boat in place when it comes to anchoring. Boating is popular in Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina, considering the mild winters combined with extensive coastal waters and abundant lakes, rivers, and reservoirs. Boaters use strictly chain when anchoring or a combination of line and chain. Here is what you need to know about an anchor chain.  

What Is An Anchor Chain Called

There are two names when it comes to the chain attached to anchors. Boaters refer to the chain as the anchor cable or the anchor rode. 

The anchor rode connects the anchor to the boat. Anchor rodes are lengthy to allow the vessel to set the hook in deep waters with swift currents. 

What Is The Purpose Of An Anchor Chain

Chain plays two critical roles when it comes to anchoring a vessel. Keep in mind that watercraft combines line with a chain or the entire rode is composed of chain. Boats in excesses of thirty feet often utilize only chain and not a combination of chain and line. Here are the three functions of the anchor chain. 

Setting The Anchor

Take into consideration the weight of line versus chain. When the chain is deployed from the boat’s pulpit and the anchor falls to the seafloor, the chain forces the shank downward. The downward pull causes the flukes to drive into the seafloor below, whether sand or a harder substrate. 

Without chain, by utilizing line solely, the anchor does not set as quickly as the line pull vertically compared to laying flat on the seafloor due to weight. 

Holding The Anchor In Place

Nothing holds better than straight chain compared to a combination of line and chain. Again, consider the weight when comparing line versus chain. 

Similar to setting an anchor, the weight of the chain increases the holding power. Rather than the anchor line pulling vertically, the chain lays on the seafloor, which holds the anchor in a downward position, thus reducing the likelihood of it pulling free and causing the vessel to drift. 

Dampening The Force 

Boats and anchors are under tremendous force, particularly in strong currents and rough conditions. The purpose of the chain is to reduce the exertion on the hull structure by the chain dampening the load. 

How Many Feet Of Chain Do You Need For An Anchor

The amount of chain varies based on combining line and chain or using chain strictly. Here are the lengths required when combining or using chain solely. 

Chain And Line Combination

When it comes to the combination of line and chain, the general rule is one foot of chain per one foot of boat; however, that is a substantial chain length for the averaged sized vessel. 

The anchor line attaches to the chain by use of a thimble. Thimbles on the end of the anchor line secure to the chain via a shackle. The combination of the two prevents the anchor from falling free. 

Chain Without Line

When not combining line and chain and using chain strictly, the vessel must contain between 150 and 200 feet. This length allows the operator to set and hold anchor in deep waters. 

How Does The Anchor Chain Attach To The Boat

Imagine paying out the chain only to realize it is not connected to the boat and spilling 150 to 200 feet to the seabed below. 

The end must be securely connected to the vessel, whether the boat utilizes chain or line. Small boats payout anchors from the bow and secure the line to a bow cleat. Conversely, large watercraft with chain utilize a windless. 

A windless is an electronic device mounted to the bow.  The windless deploys or retrieves chain when anchoring. Bins are fitted beneath the bow and stows chain when not in use. Bins are fitted with eye-hooks and backing plates for extra holding power. The chain connects to the eye hook to prevent it from paying out entirely. Always remember to attach the chain to the eye hook. 

We recommend the Marine City stainless steel eye hook when needing a strong point of connection for a chain.

Do Use Chain On Your Anchor

Whether you are anchoring at the beach, in the open water, or bottom fishing, chain assists in setting the anchor, holding the vessel in place, and reducing the force of waves. Chain is beneficial, and we recommend utilizing a portion of chain compared to no chain whatsoever. Anchor chain is used in both saltwater and freshwater boating. However, when using chain in saltwater, rinse once the anchor is pulled up from the bottom to avoid corrosion from forming.