What's the "Bottom" Line?

Let’s imagine you are reading a chart, looking for a nice place to “drop a hook”: (LANDLUBBER translation: anchor).  You see a nice cove on the chart, and then you see some odd letters in that cove.  They might read:  S   (or maybe)  M  (or perhaps) Si .  And that would make you happy.

On the other hand, you might see some of these letters:  Rk  (or maybe) Co (or perhaps) Wd! .  And that might make you sad.  Sad enough to seek out another anchorage!

So what in the name of alphabet soup are you reading on the chart?  Answer: the condition of the bottom, or seabed.  Why should you care what is on the bottom?  You probably shouldn’t care – unless you plan to anchor. 

Thus:  S = Sand; M = Mud; Si = Silt.  Pretty good for anchoring as you can sink an anchor into these bottoms and the holding power is great.

However:  Rk = rocky; Co = Coral [huge fines possible if you try to anchor in coral]; and Wd = Weeds.  None of them making a friendly place for your anchor to visit.

Your chart tells you this, and might help you decide if a Bruce anchor, or a plow, or a Danforth anchor might work better – or the chart might convince you not to anchor at all! 

So what’s the “bottom line” to the letters on your chart?  Answer: Giving you enough information for securely attaching your anchor TO the bottom!