For years I have wo ndered about an anomaly in rhe customs of rh e sea:
Why is a fouled anchor-an anchor Thar has a line or cable wrapped around its shank-uni versally and even proudly displayed as a symbol ofnaval pride?
All sailors know rhar ir is dangerous for a line ro become wrapped around an anchor.
An upward pull on a fouled anchor cable can easily dislodge rhe anchor from its hold on the bottom, allowing it to drag and, quire possibly, to cause its craft to collide with another or to go agro und.
To permit an anchor to become fouled is widely accepted as evidence of careless or incom- petent seamanship.
My effort here is to shed light on how this so-call ed “sailor’s disgrace” has become an accepted,
The Strange Story of the Fouled Anchor even cherished, symbol among the world ‘s navies, yacht clubs and sailors.
In rhe United Kingdom, where in its modern form the symbol of th e fouled anchor originated,
Most of the world’s navies follow the British custom.
In the Uni red Stares, the foul ed anchor is perhaps best known for its appearance on the ensign thar privateyach rs and boars fly on their stern.
Ir is also on the cap badge of all US naval officers; iris ar rh e center of rh e well-known emblem of rh e US Marine Corps,
The Strange Story of the Fouled Anchor in accordance with regulations first promulgated on 24 August 1797.
These regulations also describe the buttons on officer’s uniforms as “yellow metal, and ro have the fo ul anchor and American eagle on rhe same.”
Many yacht clubs aro und the wo rld have a fouled anchor on their seals, rheir burgees, bl azer parches, and newsletters.
Commercial uses are also common; witness, for example, the trademark of Anchor Steam Beer.
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