After you deploy your anchor, you need a way to secure your anchor rope to your boat. How you do this will depend on what type of water you are anchoring in.
If you are in a lake or other bodies of water where there isn't any current or very little, you can tie off as solid as you feel comfortable without much worry, but you still want to be able to release your anchor line (get off anchor) quickly, in the event of some unforeseen incident.
In a river or other bodies of water, where currents are a factor, debris can come at you quickly and you will need to get out of the way or you could lose your boat or even worse.
I was on the river one day and watched a boater up river lose control of his boat and could not get his motor started. He began floating on a collision course down river towards several boats that were anchored below him and they had seconds to react and get out of the way or they would have been in trouble.
Out of the 5 or 6 boats in the path of harms way, only 1 was able to react quick enough to get off anchor quickly. This person secured his anchor line using a clam cleat, also known as a jam cleat. Luckily, no one got hurt that day, but it was a close call! So having a good method to tie off your anchor line while on anchor is critical.
This type of cleat system is highly recommended where it is possible to only have a few seconds to react to a situation like this and get off anchor quickly.
One year I was fishing and anchored up on the river in spring time when the water was high and there was a lot of debris coming down from the spring run off and a big tree stump, about 2 foot in diameter was heading my way. By the time I saw it and got up to the bow of the boat, it had rolled up on my anchor line. Fortunately, I had my anchor line setup in a clam cleat in my anchor nest and my excess rope in an anchor rope bag with a buoy already attached to it. At that point, all I had to do was lift the anchor rope bag up, pulling the anchor line out of the clam cleat and toss it overboard, which only took a second or two.
As soon as I saw the stump coming at me and I was reacting to the situation going up to the bow to release the anchor, I had my dad start the boat to move out of the way of the stump once the anchor was released.
The whole ordeal, once I saw the stump to the time we were out of the way, didn't take more than about 15 seconds or so, at most.
Now, if you don't have a quick release method and have your anchor line tied off to regular cleat using half hitches or other method, it could take a lot longer just to get it untied and you could run the risk of sinking your boat or worse!
Now that you understand the importance of how to tie off your anchor line while on anchor, here you can see a couple of quick release systems.
Happy and Safe boating!