anchor gear[′aŋ·kər ‚gēr]
the apparatus used to lower, raise, and stow the anchor of a ship or other floating craft as well as to hold the vessel at anchor. The principal components of a ship’s anchor gear include the bower and auxiliary anchors, the anchor chains, a windlass or a capstan, and stoppers that secure the chain and the anchor. The hawsepipes and the equipment that is used for making fast the bitter end of the anchor chain or for remote, emergency release of the bitter end are also considered to be among the principal components of the anchor gear.
Anchor-handling machinery is equipped with brakes and sometimes with devices for measuring the length of chain paid out. Such anchor mechanisms may also have a drive that enables pay-out control from the pilothouse. The anchor chain usually consists of several connected lengths, or shots, of chain. Small ships, however, may use cable instead of chain. A ship’s anchor chain or cable is stowed in the chain locker, which is located beneath the anchor-handling machinery.