‘Below Deck’: Captain Lee Explains How He Measures Anchor ‘Shots’

Below Deck fans are used to hearing the captain tell the deck team to give him a certain number of “shots” when they lower the anchor. While the term may be familiar, how exactly is it measured?

A fan asked Captain Lee Rosbach about how he measures anchor chain and he generously explained. “Anchor [chains] are painted different colors to indicate how much chain you have out,” he replied. He also described how the team determines depth.

“We have depth finders on board and charts, so you try and use a minimum ratio of 5 to one, which means 5ft of chain for every foot of water,” he described. “So in 10 ft of water you would let out 50 ft of chain. I much prefer 7-1 or 10-1 myself. More is better than not enough.”

Captain Lee Rosbach and Rhylee Gerber lower the anchor on Below Deck
Captain Lee Rosbach and Rhylee Gerber lower the anchor on Below Deck | Karolina Wojtasik/Bravo/NBCU Photo Bank

Captain Lee also explained where the term ‘shot’ or ‘shackle’ comes from

Rosbach previously explained where the term “shot” or “shackle” came from. “Ok, here is where the term shot or shackle comes from and the length of a shackle was revised in 1949 to be the same length as a shot,” he tweeted in 2018. “A shot, one of the forged lengths of chain joined by shackles to form an anchor cable, was usually 15 fathoms long (90 feet (27.4 m)).”

A fan also asked when Rosbach calls shots on the boat. “Sometimes we hear you call out the shots before they lower the anchor. Is this based on your estimate on what the depth you have on the bridge instruments indicates?” the fan asked on Twitter. “Yes, based on the conditions at the time and depth of the water will regulate how many shots you may want,” Rosbach replied.

Also, he shared that extra anchor chain length is designed to add more weight to the bottom.

‘Below Deck Med’ showed how quickly the anchor chain can tangle

Even when measurements are precise, sometimes anchoring doesn’t always go as planned. Anchoring in the Mediterranean can be tricky and Captain Sandy Yawn from Below Deck Mediterranean dealt with a twisted chain on more than one occasion on the show.

The chain became horribly tangled when the crew tried to raise the anchor during Below Deck Med Season 2. “That just happens,” Yawn explained in a Bravo digital original. “Boats turn on anchor. I was not going to leave that anchor.”


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The crew spent nearly an entire day untangling the anchor chain, which was an extremely daunting task. Thankfully they managed to untangle the chain but weather conditions can move the boat, which causes the anchor to drag. In fact, the Med is so unpredictable, winds can kick up to 70 to 100 knots and can come out of nowhere.

“It’s so weird,” Yawn recounted to Showbiz Cheat Sheet about a time winds became unexpectedly violent. “It was 100 knots of wind for 15 minutes. But then it calmed right now. But the Med is really unpredictable.”