Why isn’t “safe anchoring” a THING?*

I have been asking myself this for years.  It is the question which spurred me on to found Swiss Ocean Tech with five of my colleagues.  It will be the question accompanying us for some time to come as the problem is bigger than most people think.  But we are working on a solution.  Let’s take a look at some recent media coverage highlighting specific dangers around anchor dragging:

Damaged Cables/Pipelines
April 16, 2021 / Enbridge settles with shipping firm after 2018 Line 5 anchor strike

Dragging anchors can severely damage submerged power cables and pipelines as was the case in the Straits of Mackinic in 2018.  According to the lawsuit, “…the barge (…) dragged a 12,000-pound anchor across the underwater utility corridor, severing two submerged power cables that spilled 600 gallons of dielectric fluid”.

Environmental Hazard
March 30, 2021 / Cruise ships anchored off UK during pandemic suffered ‘anchor losses’ in storms

Anchors can be exposed to prolonged tension over and above their “intended design parameters “, causing the chains to tear and the anchors to get lost.

April 19, 2021 / Ocean Rebellion protest against cruise ships anchored on South Devon coast

Dragging anchors can cause damage to the sea floor and those that inhabit it.  But it isn’t only an issue for larger fairing ships, smaller recreational boaters are often confronted with the same issue as noted on April 7, 2021 in Yachting Monthly.

Collisions
February 9, 2021 / Safety board report on B.C. ship collision says crews need to watch the forecast

Collisions can occur between boats of all sizes, in this case a dragging anchor brought two bulk carriers together causing “damage to both vessels above the water line”

There are many explanations for a dragging anchor, some of them mechanical, others technical and then again there are those of the human nature.  It is for this reason we refer to anchoring as a craft.  I would even go so far as to say a fine art.  Yes, every crew requires reliable equipment, but more importantly good anchoring demands clear judgement and great expertise.  If you can couple that with technological intelligence providing information before you know you need it, then you are on your way towards “safe anchoring”.  That is where AnchorGuardian comes in and that is why we will work tirelessly to make “safe anchoring” a thing.

* For transparency purposes:  I am firstly a sailor and secondly an engineer.  I am not a writer.  I transmitted my thoughts audibly to our communications advisor and she put pen-to-paper to create the text you are now reading.

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