The Evolution of the Boat Anchor

The boat anchor is a fundamental component of a sea vessel. It is a device usually made of metal that is used to hold on to the bottom of a body of water to keep the boat steady in a certain position. Interestingly, this life-saving machine has roots that go deeper than the ocean.

Rocks were the first objects to be used as anchors. Artifacts of rock anchors discovered date back to as early as the Bronze Age. Practically, the first boaters used rock because they were heavy, sturdy, and could be found everywhere. They did not use metals because they were expensive and the risk of losing them underwater was too high. Many modern moorings-permanent anchors-still depend on large rocks for the principal component of their design.

Today, there are several anchor designs, but they can be generally classified into three groups: hook, plow, and fluke. The hook design is effective in penetrating into tricky bottoms such as coral beds and hard sand. A plow anchor looks like a farming plow and is suitable to most conditions from soft mud to solid rock. The fluke design grips less than other designs, but is lightweight making it perfect for small vessels.

A distinct anchor design is the drogue. The drogue, also called sea anchor, is composed mainly of a rope and a canvas. It uses the water itself as weight in keeping a boat in place.

Evolving from crude rocks to engineered metals, the boat anchor remains an essential element of marine vessels-a firm epitome of stability and strength.