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Lake Ontario: Can we just anchor in the middle of the lake and sleep over anywhere we want ? Or it has to be on designated spots?

Considering the depth gets to something like 600 feet, make sure you have at least 4,200 feet of anchor rode (chain and line) to maintain a 7:1 scope. Why not just make it an even mile of rode.

Fun aside, you’ll need to make sure you don’t anchor in channels and places designated as “no anchorage” . Why don’t you get some charts and look around. Here’s a place to get some free ones. Keep in mind some charts are from US and some from Canada. Soundings will change from feet to meters and back again, depending on the source of the charts. Just look at the bottom of the charts. Looks like you’ll need to anchor close to land and watch out where you are.

Also what “zero” or “datum” on the chart is different between Canada and the US.

In the US, NOAA uses Mean Low Low tide as zero. ( Each day has 2 low tides. One of those low tides will be lower than the other. Take the lowest of the 2 for every day and average them out. That is your datum. So, you will often have a negative depth – not exactly half of days will dip below zero, but close to that. In Canada, they use lower low water, large tide (LLWLT) – which I don’t understand enough to explain – but it is selected to very rarely be a negative depth.



TLDR; Tides often go negative in USA, but not really in Canada.

I’ve been using Waterway Guide for charts on the east coast and Bahamas. How do their Lake Ontario charts compare to what you usually use?


Look up “anchor light” and “day shape, Anchor Ball”.. if you’re anchored you need to know what these are and you need to use them.

I would not anchor on lake ontario overnight. The great lakes are no joke, and turn up very quickly. No way could i sleep soundly without an anchorage protected from prevailing winds.

No kidding, when they built my marina back in the 50s they screwed up and the one break wall is like 30 feet too short meaning that at the right angle the waves can roll straight into the harbour uninterrupted in one narrow patch. Boats are usually fine but it really messes up the dock anchors.

What you need, in addition to charts, is a local cruising guide. This will give you subjective info about good spots to anchor. Also, books on cruising and anchoring in general will help you to know what to look for in an anchorage.

For Lake Ontario, that is likely the “Ports” series. Available in most local chandlers and online.

Find a safe anchorage at night. (Harbor or river etc) Anchor light on dusk to dawn.

Lake Ontario is more like a small freshwater ocean.

Find a small bay with shallow 6-12 feet sandy bottom, outside shipping lanes.

In calm weather far from shore, some people will heave-to and drift for a few hours. The Lake Ontario 300 race (RIP for 2020) has single handers who sleep while underway.

Depth alarm is essential. Chart plotter or iPhone app with anchor alarm a good idea. (Eg set for five miles of you shut down seven miles from Shore). AIS receiver with danger-close warnings a very good idea.

Don’t try it near the welland canal.

Plenty of sandy spots around Toronto island, Humber bay park, Kingston, etc. But Lake Ontario is generally not protected and is also generally boring. Lake Erie is better. Georgian Bay and the north shore of Huron is way better. Can’t speak to Superior. Probably awesome, but that short season…

Noob question: Where’s the rudder on this boat? Looks like the boarding ladder would prohibit mounting one? Some sort of ‘skeg’ rudder, if that’s a term that’s understood?

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