Why To Stem The Current While Anchoring The Ship?

I am sure when reading about anchoring of ship, you must have definitely studied in the topic of anchoring procedures that we should “Stem the current” while approaching the anchoring position.

Have you ever wondered why?

Before understanding the reasons behind stemming the current, let us first understand the meaning of Stem the current.

Stem the current means to make headway against the current. In simple words, it means to proceed against the direction of the current.

Now, let us understand why we should stem the current while making an approach to anchoring position.

Following are the main reasons for it :


  • Helm is still usable even when the ship’s speed over ground is zero.

  • Speed is reduced to acceptable levels, due to opposite current, which is favorable for us as we want to reduce the speed as we approach the anchoring position. But as the speed is reduced, the vessel’s manoeuvrability is still good due to the opposite current.

  • It is also done so that anchor chain can get laid up instead of piling up at one place only.

Hope this will clarify that why it is always preferable to stem the current.

Do let us know if you find this information useful. For more such information, do read our other articles.


Ankit Chauhan

Sailing on High Seas as a Merchant Naval Officer since 2011, believe in sharing the knowledge he has gained over years.

3 thoughts on “Why To Stem The Current While Anchoring The Ship?

  • March 16, 2018 at 2:23 pm

    Dear I would like to elaborate that main reason for steaming current or wind is that when we stemming them its easy for us to drop anchor which will lead the ship astern and anchor will get laid up.

    Second is we can a avoid all the possible scarves and damages to ship stem from anchor chain

    • March 16, 2018 at 3:06 pm

      Yes, those are also important points. Thanks for pointing it out.
      Will include them too 🙂

  • April 9, 2018 at 12:36 pm

    Practically, when the vessel stem the current , it will possess slow and controlled speed particularly when approaching anchor position


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