Dropping Anchor Like a Clean Sailor
Sailors, one of the best things about sailing is that we get to traverse the entire watery world on this planet we call home .
Exploring new and unchartered islands, bays and inlets is one of the most incredible ways to see truly see and appreciate the magic of our oceans.
More and more of us are taking to the waters for this very experience AND beautiful locations attract a lot of people, meaning more impact on our waters if we don't do it right...
Anchoring is a must at times, particularly where there are no marinas, pontoons or mooring buoys BUT can have an unprecedented impact on our remaining coral and seagrass beds, and those that have begun to regenerate already.
Anchors are incredibly heavy and also have a weighty chain attached to them, and so cause damage, whether we like it or not. They can drag for 10metres+ over the bed we drop them on as the winds and tides change direction, raking through seagrasses, over corals and living organisms that call the seabed home.
It's a bit like taking a bulldozer to a meadow...
Coral reefs, in particular, are unique 3D structures which play feeding ground, breeding ground and nursery to a whole host of marine species - so these structures get damages, it follows that the species and systems they support in our waters, including food chains, also get impacted heavily.
You can't put a price on nature but studies have estimated that the cost of replacing any one square metre of damaged coral is approximately USD 3,000. That's a lot.
So, Sailors, it's SUPER important that we check the bed we are dropping and retrieving our hooks and head for existing moorings wherever they exist.
Let's protect the bottom.
✓ Always use designated mooring buoys where they exists - these help protect life on the bottom
✓ Check charts for designated anchor areas - use these as far as possible
✓ Stay away from corals, seagrass beds, kelp forests and life-rich seabeds
✓ Use local pilotage books, knowledge or blogs to understand where best to drop hook without damaging pristine habitats
✓ If you have no choice but to drop anchor in a fragile habitat, float your chain with fenders.
Let's protect our seas, the seas we love to sail!