Windlass Safety Tips


Windlass deploying on boat
Minor damage occurred to the boat when 300-plus feet of all-chain rode was unintentionally deployed.
Tim Bower

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Some 15 years ago, I was coming out of Key West, near Smith Shoals, when my buddy’s 54 Carver came to a screeching halt from about 14 knots. Luckily, no one was injured.

Minor damage occurred to the boat when 300-plus feet of all-chain rode was unintentionally deployed. The windlass had let go!

My Silverton 42C’s windlass lacked a safety device, so I added a short piece of parachute cord looped through the anchor shackle and back to a nearby cleat. If your boat has a windlass, is there a safety device? Preferably, it should have a cable with a snap, a chain hook or a chain stopper. Our present boat, a Silverton 45C, came equipped from the factory with a cable and snap. If your boat is fitted with a windlass, how is the anchor secured?

Another point: Do you have all-chain rode? If so, do you have a hacksaw aboard? 

Capt. Ted Schindler II

Fort Myers Beach, Florida

[As Capt. Schindler points out, the windlass is not meant to carry the load of the anchor as the boat powers across the water, often in waves. When we test boats fitted with a windlass, this is why we make a point of checking to see that some provision for supporting the anchor is provided. If not, we add it to the low points in the review. —Ed.]

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