All but one stopper is taken off, and the anchor buoy is
shackled to the chafing chain or pendant. The chain
The ship's First Lieutenant is in charge on the
locker is checked for any loose gear that may become
forecastle while the ship is anchoring and weighing
wedged in the chain pipes or come flying out,
anchor. Aboard most ships, the First Lieutenant's
endangering the personnel on deck.
assistants are the ship's Boatswain and Chief
While the anchor detail gets the ground tackle
Boatswain. In their absence, the senior PO of the
ready, the Quartermasters on the bridge take bearings,
division responsible for the ground tackle is the First
and the navigator plots the bearings on a chart and
Lieutenant's assistant. An EN (Engineman) is present to
advises the conning officer of the ship's position.
operate the anchor windlass, and an EM (Electrician's
Distances to the anchorage are relayed to the forecastle.
Mate) must be in the anchor windlass room to take care
of any electrical failure. The First Lieutenant has a
In letting go by the stopper, the weight of the anchor
telephone talker, whose duty is to relay orders and
must be on the stopper. The brake will be released on
information between the forecastle and the bridge. The
the command "STAND BY".
PO in charge of the anchor detail musters the detail and
In letting go by the brake, the weight of the anchor
ensures that all necessary gear is available. Several
will be on the brake and the stopper with the windlass
Seamen, whose duties are discussed later, are also
disengaged. The stopper will be taken off at the
command "STAND BY".
Necessary equipment is as follows:
At the command "STAND BY", the personnel on
Detachable link toolbox set
the forecastle are alert and ready, awaiting the next
command. When letting go by the stopper, two Seaman
Chain stopper wrench
take stations at the stopper. When the command "LET
Chain cable jack or anchor bar
GO" is given, one Seaman pulls the pin from the stopper
tongue. The other Seaman, with a maul, knocks the bail
off the tongue of the pelican hook and steps clear, and
the chain will pass through the hawse with a roar.
If the anchor buoy was not stopped off with sail
Anchor buoy and line
twine, the Seaman tending it must let it go exactly at the
On ships with two wildcats, both anchors are made
command "LET GO". On the bridge, the anchor ball is
ready for letting go. While this is being done, the
hoisted. The flag is hauled down from the truck, and the
telephone talker receives from the bridge such
jack and ensign are hoisted smartly fore and aft.
information as the anchor to be used, depth of water,
You will notice that the ship is moving (usually
type of bottom, scope of chain to be used, and any other
backing) when the anchor is dropped. This keeps the
information pertinent to the operation.
anchor chain from piling on itself, damaging the chain,
The exact procedures for making the anchor ready
or piling on or fouling the anchor.
for letting go may vary, but the following tasks must be
When the anchor is dropped and hits bottom, the
performed: The First Lieutenant or the petty officer in
brake should be set to help prevent piling. Reports are
charge must give a safety briefing. All personnel
made to the bridge informing them on the initial status
involved in the anchoring evolution must be in the
proper uniform; that is, with trouser legs tucked in and
of the anchor, how much chain is out, what position it
wearing safety goggles and hard hats with chin straps.
tends, and what strain it has on it. The bridge is also
Only necessary personnel may be allowed on the
informed of whether the anchor buoy is watching. (This
forecastle. The Seaman tending the lead line, in
means that the buoy has surfaced and marks the location
addition to wearing a hard hat, must wear a safety
of the anchor.) As the ship gains sternway, the anchor
harness and life jacket. All personnel should be quizzed
chain is veered out by the brake about a shot at a time to
about their jobs, and they must be exact in their answers.
control the speed of the chain. This is continued until
sufficient chain is out to ensure that the pull on the
The windlass is tested; the anchor in the hawse is
anchor is horizontal on the bottom. The brake is now
freed. The anchor will be walked out if the ship is
applied, and the anchor is set by the ship's backing down
anchoring in deep water or if the bottom is rocky;
otherwise, the brake is set and the wildcat is disengaged.
and riding on the chain. Once the anchor is set and