PAM SAYS: Choosing Galvanized Chain For Your Boat

g4When I go around the country giving seminars at the Boat Shows, I find that many seminar attendees want to know more about chain, anchor chain!  They either need to buy new, replace old, or even purchase (on my advice!) an electric windlass for deploying and retrieving their anchor and chain ground tackle.  In a nut shell, it is important to know what kind of chain you want if purchasing new chain or replacing old rusty chain.  Here are a few important considerations.

There are basically three kinds of chain:

Proof Coil, a long link, not very strong,  and sometimes not compatible with windlass gypsies (a windlass gypsy is the grooved ring that the chain goes around when going out or coming in.  The gypsy has to be compatible with specific chain style and diameter)  Proof coil chain is the least expensive chain and will always have a G-3 stamped on each link.

Triple B, is a short stubby link, very strong, and often used on cruising boats around the world.  Triple B chain also has to be compatible with a windlass gypsy.  Triple B is costs more than Proof Coil but is much stronger and will always have BBB or 3-B stamped on each link.

High Test, is also a short stubby link, and even stronger than Triple B chain.  and is often used to save weight on boats sensitive to weight in the bow, like catamarans and race boats.  It is stronger than Triple B Chain and the diameter can be reduced to save weight and still retain appropriate strength.  High Test chain is the most expensive and should always have a G-4 or HT stamped on each link. 

Besides the style of chain you also must carefully consider the diameter of the links.  The diameter is as important as the style of chain you purchase for it to be compatible with your boat and with a gypsy on a windlass.  The diameter must be measured as it is not stamped on the links.  A typical 40 foot cruising boat usually has 3/8 inch BBB chain, but this size can be reduced to 5/16 inch HIGH TEST chain if weight and space in a chain locker are a consideration.  Remember HT or G-4 chain in smaller diameters weighs less than BBB or 3-B in a larger diameter like 3/8 inch and there no loss of strength.

Then we can talk about the value of stainless steel chain but will wait for another Pam Says!!!

Any questions about this, please contact me at

I hope this helps a bit in choosing the correct chain for your boat, and will have a lot more to pass on to you in another Pam Says!