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How to pick your anchor rope and chain size, length & more.

  1. Anchor Rodes & Material

  2. Braided or Twisted?

  3. Anchor Rope Length & Size

  4. Anchor Chain Length & Size

  5. What type of chain do I need?

Anchor Rodes

Anchor rodes consist of a length of chain, rope or a combination of rope and chain that connects an anchor to a boat. The rope portion of anchor rodes typically consists of a nylon three-strand rope.

Ideally, the rode for your anchor setup should consist of both chain and rope. The chain should be on the end with the anchor. Why use both chain and rope?

First, it keeps the rode from wearing away by rubbing on the bottom of the seafloor as the boat swings. Second, because the chain is heavy, it holds the rode to the bottom so the pull on the anchor is horizontal, which reduces the chances of your anchor unsetting.

What rope material is best?

For most boaters, the best type of rope to use when anchoring is nylon. Nylon has many advantages for anchoring including:

  • Good shock absorption, light and flexible

  • Great tensile strength and is the most common anchor rope found in marine stores

  • It sinks

Nylon anchor rope more importantly provides elasticity, which helps mitigate shock loads on your anchor and boat. However, the fact that nylon stretches mean that it creates heat and will eventually break down and need to be replaced.

"the fact that nylon stretches mean that it creates heat and will eventually break down and need to be replaced."

However, you will want a strong rope that will absorb the shock from waves and sink, not float. Nylon fits the bill of all of these things.

Braided or twisted rope?

In our experience, generally for recreational boaters, the difference between using twisted anchor rope or braided anchor rope comes down to preference.

Both make excellent choices for an anchor rope but there are some subtle differences between these two styles of rope.

Braided Rope


  • Less stiff and more flexible

  • Typically stronger than twisted rope

  • Easier on the hands


  • Nearly impossible to splice

  • A lot less stretch than twisted rope.

Twisted Rope


  • Easy to splice

  • Provides good value

  • Is stretchier than braided rope


  • Might tend to kink

  • Stiffer and less flexible

How long should my anchor rope be, and what size?

The rule of thumb is:

  1. You should have 8 ft (2.4 meters) of rope for every 1 ft (0.3 meters) of water you will be anchoring in.

  2. Your rope should be 1/8 inches (3.175mm) in diameter for every 9 ft (2.74 meters) of boat. (3.2mm of rope for 2.7m of boat)

In Singapore, the depths around the coastal areas are less than 30 feet (9.1 meters)

Singapore Waters - Bathymetry map
Chart covers Singapore Island and its smaller islands showing submarine contours, Depth of water, types of coastline such as steep coast, sandy coast, reef pebbly or stony coast and others

Image courtesy of: National Archives Singapore; Credit: Professor R. D. Hill

Depths near the shores in Singapore (estimates)

  • East Coast from Marine South to Tanah Merah - Up to 10 ft (3 meters)

  • Around Tanah Merah - Up to 20 ft (6 meters)

  • Around SAF Yacht Club - Up to 25 ft (7.6 meters)

  • Around Changi Beach CP1 to CP7: Up to 8 ft (2.4 meters)

  • If facing Ubin, CP1 can be up to 20 ft (6 meters) further out

Nearby offshore waters are around 80 ft (24 meters) and no more than 100 ft (30 meters) till beyond the shipping channels.

This means a 28' boat would want at least a 3/8" (10mm) or 1/2" (12mm) diameter rope. Rope is one of those things, like anchors, where bigger normally is better.

"Rope is one of those things, like anchors, where bigger normally is better."

We would advise typically adding 4 - 6mm to the diameter of rope (calculated above) for the best results.

How much anchor chain do I need, and what size?

Anchor Chain Length and Size Reference