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Ship Anchor

An anchor is used by a ship to make itself fast to the sea-bed so that it will stay in one place and will not drift due to wind and current. A shop normally carries three anchors, two working anchors, one on each bow, attached to cables and stowed up the hawse pipes. These are called Bower Anchors. One Spare Bower anchor lashed and well secured in the vicinity of the forecastle deck. If one of the working bower anchors is lost, this spare anchor is shackled on to the anchor cable and used.
A fourth anchor may also be carried on small vessels known as Stream anchor, lashed and secured at or near the stern of the vessel. It is meant to be used in narrow channels for preventing the stern of the vessel from swinging. But these days it is hardly ever used for this purpose.

Earlier all anchors had a stock, which was just before anchoring, fixed in position at right angles to the arms. The stock helped the anchors to turn itself so that the arms became vertical and one of the flukes dug itself into the seabed. But this type of anchor was difficult to stow, as it could not heave up the hawse pipe, unlike the stockless anchors.

Nowadays a stock anchor is used on ships only for a stream anchor. Small boat anchors are also stock anchors. Both the Bower and the Spare Bower are stockless anchors. A stock anchor holds better but a stockless anchor is easier to stow as it can be hove up the hawse pipe.

Anchor Parts:


Ring (Shackle): The device used to shackle the anchor chain to the shank of the anchor. The ring is secured to the top of the shank with a riveted pin.

Shank: The long center part of the anchor running between the ring and the crown.

Crown: The rounded lower section of the anchor to which the shank is secured. The shank is fitted to the crown with a pivot or ball-and-socket joint that allows a movement from 30 to 45 degrees either way.

Arms: The parts that extend from each side of the crown.

Throat: The inner curved part of an arm where it joins the shank.

Fluke or palm: The broad shield part of the anchor that extends upward from the arms.

Blade: That part of the arm extending outward below the fluke.

Bill or pea: Tip of the palm or fluke.


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