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Returning to Shore

If you are becoming fatigued, getting low on fuel, losing daylight, or having difficulty maneuvering safely in heavy traffic, prepare to return to shore. Watch for other traffic leaving or returning to shore and adhere to all no-wake markers.

As you approach your landing site, slow to a minimal speed, finally shutting your engine off as you enter the shallow water. Be prepared to get off your boat to push it ashore or to your mooring location.

Most manufacturers recommend shore or shallow water launching of your personal watercraft, as dock launchings and landings increase the probability of personal injury or watercraft damage. Follow your manufacturer's recommendations.


Anchoring skills and decisions of where to anchor can make the difference between a successful or unsuccessful boating experience. Significant property and environmental damage can occur when improperly anchored boats slip anchor and drift into reefs, boats, marinas, or run aground. Anchoring is done for two principal reasons: to stop for fishing, swimming or an overnight stay and to keep you from running aground in bad weather or as a result of engine failure. Practice anchoring procedures so you will be ready should an emergency occur.

Select the proper anchor and anchor line. The most commonly used anchors for PWCs and other small watercraft are Danforth® and mushroom anchors. The Danforth® is a design that gets the most holding power by burying itself. Mushroom anchors are suited for temporary use in protected waters for activities like fishing.

For a lightweight anchor to work properly, attach to it a three to six foot length of chain. The chain will stand up to the abrasion of sand, rock, or mud on the bottom much better than a fiber line. It should be galvanized to reduce corrosion. Next attach a suitable length of nylon line to the other end of the chain. The nylon will stretch under a heavy strain cushioning the impact of waves or wind on both the boat and the anchor.

To anchor, select a well-protected area with a flat bottom. Approach this spot slowly, going into or against the wind or current. When you get to the spot where you want to anchor, stop the boat, slowly lower the anchor to the bottom from the bow and slowly back away. Don't throw the anchor over. This may foul the anchor and require starting again. Slowly let out about four to seven times as much line as the depth of the water, preferably with a turn of line around the bow cleat. Secure the anchor line and reverse the engine to pull on the anchor to make sure it's holding. Check the PWC or boat's position relative to nearby landmarks then a short time later re-check the landmarks to make sure your boat is not drifting and the anchor is holding. Anchoring from the bow will allow the boat to ride safely in the current or waves caused by wind. Anchoring from the stern of your vessel might allow waves to come over the stern or in heavy current the stern may be forced under water swamping the vessel.

To get underway, move forward until the anchor line is straight up and down. Pulling straight up the anchor should break free.

Since anchoring can also be used for emergency procedures, the anchor and line should be stored where you can use it quickly. Never anchor by the stern. Even in a small amount of current it will make the boat unstable. With strong currents the anchor can pull a small boat stern under water.

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