Anchorage Courtesy (Rant – Ignore if You Don’t Want to Hear It!)

OK, so we all know all sailors are opinionated … and some of us have pretty precise opinions on what’s acceptable anchoring procedure and what’s not.  Personally, since we take showers in the cockpit, there’s nothing worse than having someone violate our anchoring space.  We’re definitely spoiled while anchoring in the NW & SW Caribbean, often there might not be another boat for … miles.

Sailing out to our favorite anchorage the other day, we were looking forward to spending some solitary time at anchor … we realize there will be dozens of boats anchored here, it’s a fabulous place and so close that it’s impossible not to have lots of other boats.  But there’s room for at least a hundred other boats … if everyone behaves and anchors correctly.  But I guess I’m asking too much.

Three Rafted Boats With My Big Telephoto Lens After We Reanchored

Three Rafted Boats With My Big Telephoto Lens After We Reanchored

Our 2nd day here, we were off drifting through manatee cove watching the manatees … they were watching back, I love it when we turn of the outboard and the critters come right up, stick their faces out of the water to figure out what kind of critter WE are – they’re not so shy either and David’s always afraid they’ll upset the dinghy, but they never have.  And I figure if they do, there’s only one gator in manatee cove, so it shouldn’t be too much of a problem, but I digress…. after over an hour of drifting through, paddling back upwind and drifting downwind again, we headed back to the boat.  When what to our horror should appear?

THREE boats, all rafted up on one anchor and maybe three boat lengths in front of our bow.   Hmmm…. the forecast is for the wind to pipe up to almost 20 overnight.  David, being the practical one, says there’s no way they’ll stay rafted together overnight.  Me, being the grumpy one, says let’s ask.  So David politely dinghies over and asks … sure enough they’ll be there all night.  BUT according to them, it’s OK because they’re on one 55 lb anchor with 85 feet of chain out.  I do the math — three boats, a lot of freeboard … 85 feet of scope in 9 feet of water, with another 5 feet to the bow would be 14 feet total or about 6-1, which should be adequate scope.  But I’m not sure how to figure scope for three boats together – do you divide by three so it’s actually 2 – 1 not 6 – 1?   Silly question.

Usually it’s the newcomber’s responsibility to re-anchor – and most times we’ve had the discussion, other boats offer to move, but I think anchoring space in Florida is much tighter than in the NW or SW Caribbean so people are used to being close to other boats.  And it’s possible that these boats were actually an acceptable distance and I’m just a fanatic, so maybe they’re right and I’m wrong.  Whatever it is, we should not have to listen to every word of their cocktail conversation and they are not quiet.

Makes our decision easy — time to re-anchor.    We do, putting lots of space between us and the party.  It’s just about 4 PM by the time we’re settled in.    Sitting on the deck, we’re watching the sun sink behind the island … almost time for the conch horn sunset salute … when another boat comes in to the anchorage.  OK, fine … but he keeps on coming and keeps on coming … and literally drops his anchor on our stern …. keep in mind, there are maybe 20 other boats in an anchorage big enough for 100 …

Direct TV Blimp

Direct TV Blimp

The trawler behind him calls to let him know he’s on their chain, so he moves several times.  Each time he picks up the chain, we think we have a reprieve, but no, he circles back to the same spot. By now I’m standing on our deck with my hands on hips, as are the people on the trawler.  There’s plenty of room idiot, go somewhere else!   He ends up less than three boat lengths behind us after he drops back on his chain – I hesitate to call it backing down because there was none of that after about the 2nd attempt where he just backed down full throttle and almost dragged into the boats behind.

I just don’t get it …. we must have an anchor painted on our boat somewhere we can’t see.    We can’t seem to get out of the way enough.   Hopefully the Bahamas won’t be this crowded – but realistically it’s not about the crowds, it’s about anchoring courtesy.  This guy could have split the difference between us and the next boat over and been more than adequately far enough away.

So please … if you anchor out this weekend and there’s enough room not to crowd your neighbors, remember you’re not in a trailer park, there’s no reason boats have to be lined up so close together.  OK, rant over….   Time to move on and enjoy the day — yesterday we dinghied to a far away beach not easily hikeable and found a tiny starfish, a couple live whelks and some fossil shark teeth – David’s favorite to collect – and even one piece of beach glass — not usually found here.  We checked out manatee cove, but there must have been too many sightseeing boats going in and out because the manatees were nowhere in evidence.  The Direct TV blimp flew over the beach, allowing us to watch some football game on their huge screen – kind of cool.  Someone said they’re here for a big tarpon fishing tournament.




Gotta go, time for a new day and new adventures – David said something about time to get the kayaks in the water!  One of my favorite things to do!

Am I the only one that just doesn’t understand why boats anchor on top or directly next to others?  Maybe I’m the only one and I need to take a chill pill…   🙁    Leave a comment and let us know your thoughts.

Cheers!    J&D


  1. Where has all of the ‘consideration’ gone??? Not to mention safety!

  2. Actually, the guy did the proper anchoring procedure for a tight anchorage. You motor up to the boat upwind of you and drop your hook just off his stern and then let out what you hope is the same amount of scope as him in case the wind or current changes. It is not proper, of course, if the anchorage is uncrowded, and I agree with you. Maybe it was just force of habit?

    • Agree, but the key words here are “for a tight anchorage” — this anchorage holds 100+ boats easily and there were less than 20. No need to anchor this close, it’s just obnoxious. J

  3. I agree with you. That’s what was so nice about this past wek in Sapodilla Lagoon here in Belize. Only one other boat… Remember? Miss you guys……

    • Aaawwwhhhhh….. Don’t rub it in, Dipity Doug! But we’re glad you’re getting out & about. We loved Belize … and the company. No spearfishing in Bahamas, only a Hawaiian Sling, so we’ll see how we do … or maybe just buy fresh fish from the locals. 🙂 Cheers! Jan & David — miss you too sv Serendipity!

  4. Brenda Harbottle says:

    I totally agree. It’s like parking in an empty parking lot and a car shows up and parks right next to you. This happens to us all of the time. We recently went to Desolation Sound for 3 weeks in September. Had the Teakerne Arm Bay completely to ourselves. Tons of places to anchor. Sailboat comes in on our 3rd day there and spends 30 minutes trying to anchor right off our bow. Sure enough he hollars to us, Where’s your anchor? My husband replies, You’re on top of it. Lol. The guy thinks we have too much chain out and my hubby tells him Do the math. I think there are several possible reasons why some boats do this: 1) They are terrified of anchoring, see a boat anchored, think-that must be a good location, they must know what they’re doing, thus anchor as close as they can. 2) They are very social people, are bored with their crew, and figure they want to make new friends with us ’cause we must be bored too and of course want to spend time and socialize with all new boats that come into the anchorage, right?? 3) They smell what I’m cooking in my oven (courtesy of my Boat Galley cookbook) and want to be invited over for a meal. 4) They have run out of booze and ice and think we may have some left. 4) They see our sailboat is named the Aft Hole and our curious about us (Not in a good way.) 🙂 So, no, you are not alone in your irritation. We’re planning on getting a windless this year to make it easier to yank anchor on our Cat30 and move when this happens.

    • Hi Brenda! LOL! Sometimes I think I’m the only one irritated when someone wants to anchor too close. Thanks for letting me know it’s not just me! Glad to hear those tantalizing aromas are coming from your The Boat Galley Cookbook! I’m getting ready to whip up a Holding Ground Mud Cake right now because the wind chill is making it really chilly in FL this afternoon & the oven makes it nice & toasty inside. 🙂 Cheers & THANKS for your comments. Jan

  5. Alan Uren says:

    You reminded me of our encounter with a manatee in Titusville, Fl a couple years ago. We were heading into the dock in our Fatty Knees hard dinghy when the OB quit. No problem, I pulled out one of the oars and began to leisurely skull the rest of the way in. It wasn’t long before I saw this enormous shape following close behind my white oar. After about a minute or so I realized it was a Manatee ( the first one we ever saw). He/she followed that oar waving back and forth all the way to the dock and then came alongside to say hello.

    By the way, I know this argument between hard and inflatables has been around forever, but for sheer quiet relaxation, skulling around an anchorage on a calm morning, is blissful.

    Don’tcha just love boating?!

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