How to: Clear a Crossed Anchor

Learn how to safely clear a crossed anchor


Unfortunately, crossed anchors are sometimes unavoidable in the Ionian so it is important that you can deal with them safely. Never clear a crossed anchor by leaning over the yacht and trying to prize the anchor/chains apart. This is dangerous and could cost fingers. You could use a boat hook to lift the chain but this only works once as it is impossible to release the hook from the chain and you will owe us a new hook!

This simple guide should help you if you are involved in a crossed anchor situation!


  • If there is someone on the other yacht, please communicate what has happened to them. You may have to ask them to motor off the quay and lower some of their chain to avoid dragging their anchor
  • Prepare a mooring line with a bowline in the end
  • Slowly lift your chain until you can see the other yacht’s chain/anchor above the water
  • Drop the bowline into the water alongside the chain you have lifted and hook the loop using a boat hook. Bring both ends on board
  • Take tension onto mooring line and OXXO onto the cleat
  • Carefully lower your anchor below the tethered chain
  • Swing your anchor free (you may have to  use the boat hook at this stage) and bring it onto the bow roller
  • Make sure your line is flaked free of any tangles, then release the OXXO to drop the other yacht’s chain
  • You are now free and still have your boat hook!



  • Stay calm, turn your engine on and motor gently away from the quay
  • Drop any chain you still have in the locker, so your anchor is totally slack. When the other yacht is free, tighten your chain again
  • If your anchor is picked up and dropped, leave it a few minutes to sink in, then try tightening it
  • If it does not hold or you are concerned there is not enough chain out, go out and reset it again


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