The Importance of Having Quality Anchors and Chains in Marine Vessels

Blog | September 9th, 2019

Marine engineering articles talk a lot about propulsion technology. Diesel engine systems receive plenty of coverage, as do the backup powerplants that keep ship-wide electrical equipment live. Environmental concerns are also important, so onboard ballast treatment solutions are often discussed as well. What’s perhaps not mentioned often is stopping power. At the end of the day, after the propulsion equipment stops, a boat won’t simply stop on command.

Telling the Helmsman to Drop the Anchor

Imagine a ship-of-the-line, a vessel that cruised the open seas decades ago. A message goes down from the ship’s bridge. All stop bring the engines to a halt, so says the helmsman. Does the vessel, still loaded with forward-moving momentum, come to a full stop? No, it coasts forward. And that’s just in calm waters. If currents are pulling at the hull, it’ll drift to port or starboard. To compensate, the captain tells the helmsman to run the engines in reverse. That’s better, the boat stops faster, but it’ll still drift. To fix this, a premium anchor, complete with a multi-link chain, is needed to moor a vessel after its engines go offline. Incidentally, premium quality anchors are good for the environment, which is a claim that fuel-sipping diesel engines and active ballast treatment mechanisms can lay claim to when they’re sourced from a dependable marine equipment supplier.

Saving the Environment with Premium-Quality Mooring Equipment

Superior ship anchors are alloy-strengthened so that they never weaken or break. Stress fractures and orange-hued corrosion patches are not a problem, not on a quality-tested anchor. That’s an immediately noticeable feature, but what about below the waterline? Poorly manufactured anchors might seem functional; they’ll even stop a boat, eventually. However, things are different below the water. Because the anchor hasn’t caught on a bar of seaweed-encrusted rocks, it has ripped an ugly trench through a delicate underwater ecosystem. With possible reef wall damage and aquatic life-forms disturbances occurring, a second-rate anchor can cause trouble below drifting vessels.

To avoid environmental damage and excessive boat drift, a premium grade anchor and chain should be onboard and ready to drop. Made from cast steel, the blocky casting and its material-catching edges won’t crack or break when it drops heavily onto a submerged rocky outcropping. By the way, in olden days, anchors were drop tested. The procedure was perhaps a little too destructive, which is why modern testing routines now opt for NDT (Non-Destructive Testing) routines. Placed in a clamping mechanism and pulled rigorously while in the grip of a retractable hydraulic ram, boat anchors and their chains don’t leave their test facilities until they conform to the mass requirements of a specified vessel.

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