After studying the chart for water depth, swinging room, and bottom type, try to foresee if the anchor spot you have chosen will shelter you from the wind and seas. Check wind and current direction and predicted weather, then position the boat so that you won’t be set onto shore if the anchor should drag or if conditions change.
If other boats are already anchored, do a “drive by” and see what they did. In a crowded area, follow their method, e.g. one anchor off the bow, or two, or bow and stern, to minimize the chance of collision while swinging with the wind and current.
As you are making up your mind where best to anchor, look for alternate locations, in case you need options. Have a plan ‘B’. Consult charts and cruising guides for information where to anchor and to find anchorages for pleasure craft.
My friend Salty Clay says it’s a good idea not to anchor in marked channels, in busy traffic, and in shipping lanes. Also stay away from areas marked on the chart as prohibited, such as restricted areas, cable crossings and anchorages for explosives.
Be kind to your playground and never anchor on top of coral. Also be kind to your fellow boaters: if you have a choice, don’t drop your hook right next to someone else. Finally, don’t make wake in the anchorage.