Near Shore Anchoring of Small Boats

There may come a time where you need to go ashore for a while but can not, or do not want to drag your boat onto a rocky shore.  Maybe it also could be in an area where there is a tidal exchange and you will be staying long enough so that you do not want your boat beached 6' or so above the water when you return.  And you do not have a dingy or want to anchor offshore enough so you have to swim out to retrieve your boat.

There is an answer.  It is a product sold under the name of "Anchor Buddy" is apparently made by Tuggy Products but marketed by Greenfield Products, with a website of  I however am a little disappointed with the website, in that it does not really describe this or the other products they list well.  Sure it has a couple of video clips showing usage, but nothing really giving potential customers pertinent information without contacting them.  

I appears that the original company in Oregon has been bought out by one in Florida.  Apparently they make different sizes for different size boats.  One that I have from the old company says on the package label that it is a model #AB4000BLW, (this BLW apparently refers to the color blue/white of the outer wrap of the cord).  They offer this unit in different colors to suit your fancy.  Information on the label says this one stretches from 14' to 50' and says it is usable on boats up to 4,000#.  Their Mini Buddy as shown on the website apparently is designed for PWCs and says it stretches from 7' to 21".  One of the video clips says "it is like having a rubber band on your boat".   In reality it actually is.

They can be found in most of the national marine dealers for under $30.

Anchor Buddy 
Anchor Buddy, bowline, boats, marine, dock line

Here are their instructions on my  4,000# version.  (1) Drop anchor approximately 30' from shore.  (2) Proceed to shore and the Anchor Buddy S-T-R-E-T-C-H-E-S.  (3)  Step off, pay out bow line and the Anchor Buddy pulls out your boat.  (4) Retrieve your boat by pulling in the bowline, step aboard and Anchor Buddy automatically pulls you out with no engine power - no paddles.

The photo below appears pretty typical, with the tether from the anchor buoy to the rear of the boat is a LARGE BUNGEE CORD made just for this purpose.  The anchor in the water, depending on it's size and the size of your boat may need a few feet of heavy chain attached to it also.   For the average small (12'-16') boat a 25# lead drift boat pyramid anchor suffices.  The buoy does not need to be large, a spare boat fender or even 1/2 of a crab pot float will work.  The anchor or stump on the shore is merely to keep the boat attached to shore so you can retrieve it at your leisure.  A 10# mushroom anchor will work if there is no real wind or tidal current involved.  Even a stump or driving a stake in the ground will work if the shore is not that rocky.

You may have to experiment with how far out you drop the main anchor in relationship to how the bungee stretches.  Drop anchor and set it far enough offshore to keep the boat safe from any wind direction and tidal changes.  The instructions on mine says 30' from shore.  I prefer closer to 50' taken into account for the length of the boat as you attach the bungee to the stern and the bow rope to the shore.  You want the boat far enough from the shore to not be in contact with the shore under any circumstances, but close enough that you reach the maximum length of the bungee cord when you pull in the boat, AND yet not dislodge the main anchor.  So you may have to experiment a bit on this distance if needed.

I have found that if you make up a rear bridle line attaching to each of your stern cleats, and the length in the center long enough to clear the boat motor's prop when it is tipped up out of the water that this gives you a more even pull on the stern of the boat.  Tie a loop in the center of this bridle so the bungee stays centered.

When anchored and you want to go out fishing, pull the bow line in, unsnap it from the bow and walk to the rear of the boat, attach the still shore tied bow line to the float and go boating.  Upon returning, reverse the process by motoring up near the float, cut the power and drift in so you can pick up the float and bow line, unhook the bow line from the bungee and re-attach to the boat's bow eye.  Holding onto the float, walk to the stern, re-attach the stern bridle to the bungee and pull yourself to the shore.  When you are unloaded, step off the boat and let the bungee pull the boat back safely away from the shore.  

This method is one of the suggested on the label of the package.  And yes you really need a buoy to keep the lines from sinking in the water when the boat is not tied in the middle of the two. 

You could anchor stern toward the shore and this may be beneficial if you expected a wind/waves condition for the boat to ride out a mild blow.   So bow or stern out may be advantageous depending on the shoreline whether it be rocky or sandy and you needed to protect the motor when recovering the boat.  In the photo below the shore was covered with boulders from softball to basket ball sizes and from water level to a few inches above/below.  In a week's usage, the bow did get a bit of paint scraped off when boarding, but that was better than a damaged motor.

Here, the Anchor Buddy has pulled the boat offshore (notice the yellow buoy) behind the boat
& the boat is tethered by a bow line to a stump on shore

The information below was taken off the instruction sheet. 

It works great when anchoring offshore where rocks like to take bites out the the hull.   It also takes the slamming out of the anchor line when other boat's wake come in.    Use a tether (static) line to tie to the shore so you can pull the boat in to get aboard.   However, don't tie the buddy line up directly to your boats' cleat.  The rubber bungee line inside doesn't like the pinching and will snap.   Use the large snap supplied or a short static line to attach the buddy line to your boat's cleat. 

Note: it's best to have the engines raised if so equipped to keep the line from getting caught in the prop.  The boat could partially swing around the buoy like a mooring ball.  When you need the boat, you simply pull in the bowline to haul the boat in.



Copyright 2011 - 2015 LeeRoy Wisner  All Rights Reserved 

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Originally started  02-18-2011, Last Updated 12-24-2015
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