Anchor and Play: How to safely secure your vessel

Dragging your vessel about the high tide line is one option when you'd like to explore ashore. 

Dragging your vessel about the high tide line is one option when you'd like to explore ashore. 

There are plenty of times when paddlers might want to leave their vessel behind for a while – to go for a swim, explore a sandy island, or stop for lunch. It can also be fun to anchor and float in the sun, cast a line from your kayak, or try a few yoga poses on your board. Whatever the reason, peace of mind is key. With some very basic equipment and skills, you can secure your boat without worry.

There are two basic approaches. The first is to use an anchor. For most paddle-powered vessels, a 1.5 to 3 pound folding anchor will be sufficient. If you are paddling in an area with strong currents or practicing SUP yoga, you might want to invest in a heavier model.

Secure the anchor to your vessel using ¼ inch nylon line and an anchor hitch – you can easily learn this knot by watching instructional videos online. The line can be secured to any sturdy loop or opening on your vessel, preferably at the bow or stern. Well-designed paddleboards will have a leash plug that is perfect for this purpose.

Make sure you are not in a location where you will damage seagrass, coral, or other living bottom structure before you drop anchor. A sandy or muddy bottom is ideal. Your line to water depth ratio should be approximately 7:1. Give the anchor a tug to make sure it has gripped the bottom sufficiently.

If you are going ashore, dragging your vessel above the high tide line can be an excellent option. Be careful to avoid rocks or other obstacles that could cause damage, and if your vessel has fins or a rudder, flip it over to avoid breakage.

If you are concerned about security, a lock and cable can be used to attach your vessel to a tree or another fixed object. Every situation is different, and sometimes this will require a bit of creativity and quick thinking. Happy paddling, and enjoy your adventures on and off the water!

Ocean Tribe Paddlers is a club hosted by Sanibel Sea School that helps the SWFL paddling community better explore, enjoy, and understand the ocean. Visit or follow us on Facebook to learn more.