Check Your Anchor Rode

This photo was sent in by one of our students. It’s a critical safety item that needs to be addressed by every boat owner at least once per season.

Rusted chain link on anchor rode

Rusted chain link on anchor rode

Just imagine you set anchor one evening in a nice secluded bay (as you often do) enjoy a star filled evening with a lovely dinner on board. You then retire to bed and wake up as your boat is being POUNDED by waves onto sharp rocks whereby you and your crew may or may not survive. And it’s all because of a weak and rusted one link in your chain that you neglected to check. In theory it doesn’t sound very possible but the photo above should be proof enough for you to check your anchor rode next time you visit the boat and enough to put it on your seasonal checklist. While you’re at it check the connection points and make sure your shackles are wired shut with stainless steel wire. D-ring shackles  are known for unscrewing.

boat on the rocks

Don’t let you sailboat go on the rocks like these

The old saying goes like this – “I’d rather be on a boat with a drink on the rocks than in the drink with a boat on the rocks”!

This is the text by which the student made his report to us.


I bought 200 feet of 5/16 galvanized high test G4 chain for my boat Seafox three years ago.  It came from a well known and respected chandlery.  Supposedly US made. Since most of our sailing is around SF bay or between local harbors it hasn’t seen much use and has been sitting in the chain locker for all that time.  Not wet or sitting in water, but the usual chain locker damp.  I took it out a couple of weeks ago since I was planning a long race and wanted to lighten the boat and what did I see?  One link in the middle of the chain has rusted so badly that I think if I had to rely on it, Seafox would have broken free.  This link was about 40 feet in from the end of the chain so hadn’t been sitting in water, and is the only link rusting, other than a slight patch on each of the adjoining links where they were probably touching the rusted one.  Anyway it just highlights the need to check.  Don’t assume that just because the chain you can see, or usually use is OK, that all of it is.


Thanks Jim for the submission.


If you’re interested in learning more about anchoring, then take the NauticEd Anchoring a Sailboat course. It’s a prerequisite course for the Bareboat Charter Master Rank and rightly so – when you REALLY think about it anchoring skill can be crucial to survival.

Anchoring a Sailboat Course

Anchoring a Sailboat Course


My vision for NauticEd is to provide the highest quality sailing and boating education available - and deliver competence wherever sailors live and go.
Grant Headifen
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Last updated on February 2nd, 2023