Anchor Chain – Be Patriotic As You Measure and Mark

Measure Your Anchor Chain

Ever wonder how much chain you really have out? Wonder no more! Measure your anchor chain with red, white and blue. Be patriotic as you measure and mark. Captain Chris shows you how easy it is to mark your anchor chain with a Red, White and Blue color scheme every 25 feet. Need 100 feet? You’ll see Yellow/Gold as it comes out of the chain locker. Each photo in this article has a descriptive caption that allows you to follow along.

We were asked to help out aboard a Kadey Krogen 58 as the owners were pressed for time. They wanted to mark their anchor chain and the little ribbons from the boat store easily shred. So we suggested painting the chain in an easy to remember paint scheme to identify how much rode was overboard.

Tools you will need

  • Clean your anchor chain with soap and a brush to remove any mud or oils that may prevent the paint from adhering. If you have two days for this project then pull out and clean your chain early one morning to allow for the sun to bake it dry. A warm, dry chain will accept paint best.
  • We prefer painter’s tape to mark your chain every 25 feet
  • Rustoleum or a similar spray paint will do the trick to cover chain (and even anchor line). We anchor more than the average boater and we find that this method will last for a few seasons, at least.  When starting this project we prefer to try for a wind-less day but had to be satisfied with sunny and low humidity.
  • So we improvised with boxes to keep our boat neighbors and marina staff happy. Each box worked like a mini paint booth. Be sure there are no holes or slits in the bottom or you will also paint the dock. Lining a box with newspaper addressed this problem for us. Gotta watch for over-spray and the boxes do the trick!

Now for the FUN!

If you haven’t looked at the captioned photos yet, or even if you have, now would be a great time to review all the photos. Your chain should be sparkly clean and played out on your dock ready to mark. Measure out your marks, every 25 feet using the blue painter’s tape to keep your lines sharply defined. We like at least 1 foot of paint but you might want a longer mark so it can be seen easily when the chain is quickly going overboard. Measure twice. Paint once. After all, you want to accurately know how much rode you have over when anchoring. So measure out your anchor chain using red, white and blue paint.

Put one coat of paint on each section marking 25 foot of chain- red at 25 feet from the anchor, white at 50 feet from the anchor, blue at 75 feet from the anchor & yellow/gold at 100 feet.  As American citizens we can easily remember that red, white and blue equals 25, 50 and 75 feet. And we don’t need to consult a color chart like you do with the ribbon method.

By the time you have finished your 100 foot mark on a sunny day it’s time to start back at the first red at 25 feet. Before you spray again, turn the chain inside the box to get overall paint coverage. You may need to do this a few times to find your holidays. Holidays are the places you missed the first time spraying!

To learn more about anchoring, docking, trip planning, navigation, galley tips and more please join us at our next Cruising 101 FUNdamentals seminar in Vero Beach…or Ask Captain Chris 772-205-1859.