How to Count Your Shots
-Anchor chain is measured in shots.
-Each shot is 90ft or 15 fathoms long.
-The linkages between shots are marked so that the exact number of shots let out can be ascertained at any time.
-The markings consist of a number of chain links painted in different colors, and a series of wires wrapped around
the "detachable link."
-At the One Shot mark, one link on either side of the detachable link is painted white, and one turn of wire is
wrapped around each stud. Traditionally, the detachable link at One Shot is painted red, though this practice is not always
-At the Two Shot mark, two links on either side of the detachable link are painted white, and two turns of wire
are wrapped around each stud. This detachable link is traditionally painted white as well. From there on, an additional link
is painted on either side of the detachable link for each additional shot.
-Also, at the Three Shot mark, the detachable link is painted blue, at Four it's red, at Five it's white,
and the pattern continues on, red-white-blue.
-The second to last shot is painted entirely yellow. Why? Because if you see that yellow chain coming
out of the spill pipe fast and the anchor still hasn't hit the bottom, you want to get the heck out of the way because the
chain likely won't stop running by braking alone.
-Likewise, the last shot is painted entirely red. If you see red, run or your dead.
-The location of the marking is also important to note when lowering or raising the anchor chain as a reference point
is needed in order to measure the length of chain in the water.
-The marking can be said to be "On Deck" when the marking is at the top of the hawsepipe, or "On
the Water" when the marking is just above the water. If asked how many shots are out, always give a reference point,
even if that reference point doesn't sound official. Saying "On the Windlass" when the mark is at the crest
of the windlass or "At the pipe" is usually perfectly acceptable.