The 5 Heaviest Anchors Ever Built

An anchor is a device that secures a vessel to the bed of a body of water, usually made of metal, so the craft does not drift.

There can be permanent or temporary anchors. Permanent anchors are used to create moorings and are rarely moved. When they need to be moved or maintained, a specialist service is needed. 

Temporary anchors are carried by vessels, which can be of different weights and designs. This has spurred interest to explore the heaviest anchors ever built. Stay tuned to learn more:

heaviest anchors

1. East River Anchor

Steers Inc., a renowned New York-based contracting company that specialized in bridge and pier construction, tunnel, foundation, and sewer and drain work, between 1929 and 1987, pulled this anchor from the bottom of the East River, near 33rd St., in November 1974. For many, it was one of the greatest discoveries ever at the time!

As a result of its very early invention, the East River anchor was made of wood. However, it remains one of the heaviest anchors ever built in history with a weight spanning thousands of pounds.

Mostly, it is predicted that it is up to 5000 pounds and 15 feet long from the surface of the ground. 

2. The 63rd Street Tunnel Anchor

One of three old ship anchors found in 1971 in the East River, this anchor was located by men excavating for the 63rd Street railroad and subway tunnel that connects Manhattan and Queens.

Under the East River and Roosevelt Island, the tunnel consists of two tunnels with four tracks each; the upper level would house the IND 63rd Street subway line (today’s F and Q), and the lower for the new LIRR East Midtown connection.

The 63rd Tunnel Anchor is one of the greatest discoveries in history. The 63rd tunnel anchor is one of the heaviest anchors ever built with a weight of around 5000 lbs.

3. HMAS Canberra Anchor

HMAS Canberra Anchor

A heavy cruiser of the Kent subclass of County-class cruisers, HMAS Canberra (I33/D33) was named after Canberra, the capital of Australia.

A Scottish-built ship, she was commissioned in 1928 and spent the first part of her career operating in Australian waters, with some deployments to the China Station.

Canberra was initially used to patrol and escort convoys around Australia at the start of World War II. During July 1940, she escorted convoys between Western Australia, Sri Lanka, and South Africa.

Canberra participated in this deployment, which lasted until mid-1941, in the hunt for several German auxiliary cruisers. The anchor used in the HMAS Canberra is one of the heaviest anchors ever built with a gross weight of 4000 pounds. 

4. Lightship 101 Anchor

Originally based at Cape Charles, Virginia, the United States Lightship 101 that is now known as Portsmouth is a museum ship.

The ship is currently on display at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard Museum. Lightship station Portsmouth did not exist; however, when the vessel was dry-docked there as a museum, she took on the pseudonym Portsmouth.

It is one of only a few lightships left in existence that have been designated National Historic Landmarks.

By 1915, Pusey & Jones had built Lightship Portsmouth (LV-101). Her first assignment as Charles was in the Chesapeake Bay near Cape Charles, Virginia, between 1916 and 1924.

One of the heaviest anchors in history was used on the United States Lightship 101 in order to make it exceptionally wind resistant. The Lightship Portsmouth anchor had a gross weight of 5500 pounds. 

5. Hook Lighthouse Anchors

On Hook Head in County Wexford, Ireland, there stands a lighthouse known as the Hook Lighthouse (also called the Hook Head Lighthouse).

The Lighthouse of Hercules in Spain is the second oldest operating lighthouse in the world and one of the oldest in the world.

It marks the eastern entrance to Waterford Harbour and is operated by the Irish Lighthouse Authority, the Commissioners of Irish Lights.

It has been standing for 848 years as of 2020. Two pieces of the heaviest anchors ever built are located in this building.

It’s no surprise since this building is surrounded by water. Each of the Hook Lighthouse anchors weighs at least 6000 pounds and the two anchors have a gross weight of 12000 pounds.

Scroll to Top