Anchorage Areas

An anchorage area is a place where boats and ships can safely drop anchor. These areas are created in navigable waterways when ships and vessels require them for safe and responsible navigation. A variety of designations refer to types of anchorage areas or restrictions, or even to alerts of potential dangers within an anchorage area. Every boater and captain should be aware of the various types of anchorage areas.   So why should ocean planners pay attention to anchorage areas?

  1. There are different types of anchorage areas. By viewing the data attributes, users can determine what types of anchoring are allowed (size of boat, type of anchor), who created the anchorage area (U.S. Coast Guard, local government, county government, or state government), and the authority in charge of the anchorage area. Marine planners need to know which marine areas, including anchorages, are currently being used by industries or various recreational groups to avoid conflicts.
  2. Many ocean activities require anchoring at some point. Although many larger vessels, such as those used for wind farm construction, might not need to anchor, knowing the locations of anchorage areas is still wise. These areas are often used by larger vessels when they need to find safer areas than shipping lanes or coastal areas during extreme weather. Anchorage areas are also often used in case of emergency or when vessels need to wait for a pilot boat or docking space in a port.
  3. This data set reconciles data of various scales for easy use. The information behind’s data set comes from the NOAA Office of Coast Survey’s Electronic Navigational Chart (ENC). Within the ENC are overlapping charts at different scales and anchorages that may straddle a chart boundary. This can result in multiple polygons representing a single anchorage. The team worked to verify and clean up the data for each anchorage area. The data set also links back to the original data so users can research what types of anchoring are allowed within each area.

Quick Caveats As always, data within the registry are not intended for navigational use. updates all data sets on a regular cycle. This data set is included in that cycle; however, the data within the data set do not change often so they might not be recorded as updated. Users should also note that this data set is not all-inclusive. For more information, go to NOAA’s Office of Coast Survey website or refer to the Code of Federal Regulations.

Data-Source Experts
Kyle Ward, Navigation Manager Southeast, Office of Coast Survey, NOAA

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