A Boat Anchor and Chain Buying Guide

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A Boat Anchor and Chain Buying Guide

An anchor holds a boat in one place by preventing the boat from moving due to external forces such as winds and tides. The anchor sits on the sea or river bed and is connected to the boat by the rode, which is either a heavy cable, rope, or chain. The earlier, more traditional anchors used a chain as the rode. These anchors were extremely heavy and could only be retrieved from the seabed by a heavy chain attached to the boat. Chains are still used today to help set and retrieve anchors, but they may also be connected to a rope or cable.

When selecting a boat anchor and chain, it is important to determine the type and size of the boat. There are also environmental factors to consider. An anchor for a boat that cruises the ocean is different from the anchor used to secure a boat in a river estuary. By determining and understanding these factors, the buyer is able to make an informed purchasing decision concerning a boat anchor and chain.

eBay provides a wide selection of compatible boat anchors and chains for any boat. The buyer can find current listings boat anchors and chains by using different search methods.

Types of Boat Anchors

There are several different types of boat anchors. The most popular types include grapnel, fluke, plough, claw, and mushroom anchors. The different types of anchors are compatible with different types and sizes of boats.

Grapnel Anchor

The grapnel anchor is a traditional type of anchor, used mainly with small boats, dinghies, and canoes. This type of anchor has a shank with several tines extending from the shank. The tines hold the anchor in position on the seabed. Because there are several tines, there is more opportunity to set the anchor correctly. It does not, however, set well in muddy sandy, or clay bottoms, because of the size of the fluke area, or blade area, at the end of the anchor arm . When it does attach and set, the grapnel anchor has tremendous holding power and may require a tripping line to retrieve it.

A grapnel anchor is lightweight, easy to lift, and transport. It can also be used to assist with the retrieval of lost boat gear from the water. There is a folding version that can be compactly folded and easily stored.

Fluke Anchor

A fluke anchor is another popular type of anchor. One version of the fluke anchor is the Danforth anchor. It has a steel shank with hinged flukes or triangular blades that angle towards the seabed. When the flukes are buried or set into the bed, they provide great holding strength. The anchor does well in muddy and gravel bottoms. It may not hold in grassy, or rocky bottoms, but instead drag over the bottoms or reset with strong tides or currents. For this reason, the fluke anchor is used more as a second anchor and not as the main anchor, should the boat need to be anchored overnight.

A fluke anchor is compact, lightweight, and easy to store. It does not require a chain and is made of galvanised, corrosion-resistant steel. It comes in different sizes such as 4 kg, 5 kg, and 6 kg and is compatible with 4 m, 6 m, and 11 m boats.

Plough Anchor

Another popular type of boat anchor is the plough anchor. This type of anchor is named for the plough, an agricultural implement used in farming. The design of this type of anchor has a hinged shank that permits the anchor to change direction, providing greater holding power in all types of weather and tide conditions. The plough anchor digs in well in different bottoms. Many recreational boats use this type of anchor, because of its reliable performance and versatility.

Plough anchors are made of corrosion-resistant, galvanised steel. They are larger and heavier in size compared to other types of anchors. They are also more difficult to store. Their sizes range from 6 kg for 9 m boats to 10 kg for 12 m boats.

Claw Anchor

A claw anchor is an all-purpose anchor that is claw-shaped. One popular version of this type of anchor is the Bruce anchor. It is often used with small boats, because it adapts well to most weather and tide changes. The fluke area sets and resets itself as the boat changes direction, providing good holding strength in most bottoms with the exception of dense grass and mud. It doesn't break out like other types of anchors and is easy to retrieve.

Claw anchors are made of galvanised steel and are heavier when compared to other types of anchors. Their weight contributes to their tremendous holding power. Sizes range from two to 7.5 kg for boats between 5.5 m and 9 m long. Claw anchors are harder to store because of their design.

Mushroom Anchor

The mushroom anchor resembles an upside down mushroom. Many small boats utilise this anchor. Mushroom anchors are used with larger ships as a semi-permanent anchor to anchor the boat to the seabed for an extended amount of time. The lip of the anchor digs in well to sandy or muddy bottoms, creating a suction force that holds the anchor in place. It does not perform as well in rocky beds or extreme weather and tide conditions. The weight or size of the anchor contributes to its holding strength. Heavier mushroom anchors have greater holding strength, up to ten times their weight, compared to smaller mushroom anchors.

Mushroom anchors may be vinyl-coated or made of rust-resistant aluminium. For small boats, their sizes include 3.6 kg, 4.5 kg, and 6.8 kg anchors. Heavier mushroom anchors can weigh as much as 1,000 kg.

The following table compares the five basic types of boat anchors based on the type of boat and the preferred seabed conditions

Anchor Type

Boat Type

Bed/Bottom Conditions


Small boats, dinghies, canoes

Does not set well in muddy, sandy, or clay bottoms


Good second anchor for small boats

Sets well in muddy and gravel bottoms; does not set well in grassy, rocky bottoms


Recreational boats

Sets well in all types of bottoms


Small boats

Does not set well in dense grass or muddy bottoms


Small boats, large ships

Sets well in sandy and muddy bottoms; does not set well in rocky beds

The table above illustrates the similarities and differences between the five basic types of boat anchors. The buyer should remember that within each type of anchor there are different versions and designs that account for variations in performance and versatility. There are also different sizes and weights that contribute to each anchor's overall holding power.

Types of Boat Chains

The anchor rode, or chain, is one of the most important pieces of equipment for a boat. It connects the anchor to the boat. An advantage to using a chain rode is that the chain is stronger and less likely to break than a rope. Large boats use heavy chains to anchor the boats, whereas smaller boats use a combination of chains and ropes to anchor the boats. Using just chain can prove to be too heavy for smaller boats. There are several different types of chains used to anchor boats. They include proof coil, BBB, high test, GR43 high test, and GR 70 transport.

The chains are ranked in grades of steel with higher grades offering greater holding strength. The chains are either galvanised or stainless steel. The chains may have short or long links. When selecting chain length, the buyer should determine water depth and select at least 91.5 m of chain rode.

Proof Coil

Proof coil is the basic, commercial grade, steel chain used with anchors. It is grade 30 and is usually galvanised but can also be Teflon-coated. It is less expensive than higher grade chains. This type of chain is more durable in freshwater than saltwater.


BBB is another basic, commercial grade, steel chain. It is made from galvanised, low carbon steel and is less expensive than high carbon steel chains. It has short chain links, providing greater flexibility for anchoring.

High Test

High test, steel chain is more expensive than proof coil and BBB chains. It is grade 40, providing more holding power than the lower grade chains. It also works well in extreme weather conditions. It closely resembles GR 43 high test, steel chain, but with smaller links of chain.

GR 43 High Test

GR 43 high test, steel chain is made of high carbon steel. Its holding strength is double the holding strength of proof coil and BBB chains. The chain is also more expensive and durable than the basic, commercial grade chains.

GR 70 Transport

GR transport steel chains are more durable and stronger than the other high carbon, high test chains. They have greater holding power. They are also the most expensive anchor chains.

Buying a Boat Anchor and Chain on eBay

The buyer can search for boat anchors and chains on eBay by using keywords and category options. When using keywords, the buyer types the keywords into the search bar on the home page. These generic search phrases could include 'boat anchor' or 'boat anchor and chain'. The buyer then clicks on the 'Search' button. This action takes the buyer to a results page of current listings for boat anchors or boat anchors and chains. The buyer can then select specific listings and read the descriptions for the different types of anchors and chains.

Once a buyer selects a few listings for boat anchor and chain, the buyer reads the item descriptions and looks at the photos provided by the seller. The buyer should note the different features, sizes, and lengths of anchors and chains when considering specific listing. eBay offers a wide selection of different types of anchors and chains in various sizes and lengths for any type of boat or environment. 

Seeing as how an anchor is so heavy, it might be in the the buyer's interest to try and find listings for boat anchors and chains within their local area. The buyer could then pick up the anchor and chain, and save himself the delivery fees. To identify local listings, the buyer needs to specify a search radius on the results page.


A boat anchor and chain are two of the most important pieces of equipment on a boat. The anchor attaches to the chain or rode which in turn attaches to the boat. The anchor hooks the boat to the bed or bottom of a specific body of water, such as a lake, or river. A good anchor and rode prevents the boat from moving out of position, even in extreme weather and changing tide conditions.

The choice of a quality, durable boat anchor and chain is one of the most important purchasing decisions a boat owner makes when outfitting their vessel. When selecting a quality boat anchor and chain, the buyer should take into account the type of boat and the maritime environment. When shopping for a boat anchor and chain, the buyer needs to consider the materials, the anchor sizes, the weight of the anchor and chain, and the lengths of the chains. Quality boat anchors and chains can be found on eBay at affordable prices.

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