What Is The Major Danger Of Anchoring A Fishing Boat From The Stern?

What Is The Major Danger Of Anchoring A Fishing Boat From The Stern?

If you have not been into boating or fishing for a while, you may be trawling the internet trying to find out as much information as you can. One of the main questions that get asked is; what is the major danger of anchoring a fishing boat from the stern?

If that is what you have been looking for, then you are in the right place. We are going to tell you the risks of doing so, and also give you some pointers about how to anchor your boat correctly.

How should You Anchor A Boat?

Before we go into the major danger of anchoring a boat from the stern, it may be prevalent to have a swift look into the shape of a boat. If you look at the image below, you will see a boat from above.

As you can easily see, there is a flat end at the back of the boat (stern), and a streamlined shape at the front (bow). The design of the boat is to travel in the direction of the streamlined end.

The water and waves break because of the shape of the bow of the boat. However, on the other hand, the stern of the boat is flat. That shape is not to do anything at all with moving the water while moving.

No matter what body of water you are in, you want the bow to be facing the movement of the water. So, the water should be traveling from right to left in the image above. The reason for that is because you still want the bow to break the water in the same way as you would if you were traveling along in the water.

For example, if you are in the sea and you know that a storm is coming in from the east, you will want to point your front end towards the east to allow the water to break on the bow, not on the stern

Likewise, if you are on a river, you want to anchor facing towards the current of the river.

Dangers Of Anchoring A Fishing Boat From The Stern

Now that we have seen which way you want the boat to be facing let’s have a look at why you don’t want to face it the other way. Of course, by the other way, I mean anchoring from the stern.

  • More resistance. – Having the stern facing the oncoming wind and water will present considerably more resistance for the water. Therefore, it will put a lot more strain onto the boat in general.
  • Cabin doors. – The cabin doors are as flat as the stern of the boat, if not more. Therefore, it will cause even more stress on the top part of the boat and the cabin as a whole. That is not to mention that water rinsing over the stern is much more likely to end up inside the cabin.
  • Mechanical parts. – The mechanical parts at the stern of the boat are for moving water from bow to stern. Having strong currents going the other way will very likely cause significant damage to them. For example, the rudder, when traveling in a straight line in normal circumstances, will be forced to be straight in its natural position. However, if you try to force the rudder the other way, you will hit a stop, and likely break the rudder, shaft, and worse, the hull.
  • Inability to adjust. – If you anchor a boat from the stern, any change in water or wind direction can not be automatically adjusted for by the shape of the boat.

As you can see in that image, the stern is flat, and the bow is, well, bow-shaped, almost.

That shape allows for the boat to lift in waves while breaking them at the same time. However, the stern will only cause resistance and let the waves to break into the boat.

What Is The Major Danger Of Anchoring A Fishing Boat From The Stern?

So, what is the primary danger? Well, there are a lot of them. However, I have to say, that the threat of waves breaking into the boat, filling the rear end of the boat with water, and capsizing it has to be the major danger of anchoring any boat from the stern, not just a fishing boat.

What Is The Major Danger Of Anchoring A Fishing Boat From The Stern

Image from www.sunlive.co.nz

How To Anchor Your Boat Properly

  1. Select an area. – The primary consideration when selecting the area is that you have enough space. The boat will move with the change in wind direction, so you want to allow enough space to do so without hitting anything.
  2. Check the bottom. – The water should be deep enough to anchor, with a soft base floor such as dirt or sand.
  3. Travel slowly into the wind/current. – Try to be a little further upwind/current than where you want to stop.
  4. Lower the anchor. – As you have seen, ensure that you anchor from the bow.
  5. Back slowly with the wind/current. – You need to give at least seven times the amount of anchor line as the water is deep. (5m water = 45m+ line.)
  6. Tie the line. – Ensure it is secure to the bow cleat and the floor.
  7. Check position. – Use land or sea marks to check where you are, the closer the better.
  8. Recheck position. – Ensure you are not moving with the current/wind by rechecking your location noted in step 7.
  9. Check anchor. – Ensure to check anchor line for loose knots, etc. Splicing is better than a knot.

If you are unsure if the anchor is holding correctly, try to do it again. It is better to be sure that it will stop you from moving than having to hope.

How To Retrieve Anchor

  1. Move boat over the anchor. – Move the boat over the anchor while you are pulling the line.
  2. Free the anchor. – When you are directly above the anchor, it should come free.
  3. If it is stuck. – Move the boat in a large circle and keep the line tight. Do that until the anchor comes free.
  4. Retrieve the anchor. – Stop the boat and carefully retrieve the anchor, taking care not to hit the hull when it breaks the water.


As you have seen, even in theory, there are many significant dangers of anchoring a fishing boat from the stern. However, in reality, those dangers are often life-threatening, if not life-taking.

Far too many people have lost their lives because of incorrect anchoring of a boat. So, back the original question: What Is The Major Danger Of Anchoring A Fishing Boat From The Stern? The answer is losing your boat, and possibly your life.


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