A drogue (also known as a sea anchor or drift sock) is a device designed to slow down a boat and help keep it aligned in heavy weather, improving control and safety. 

When the drogue is properly deployed, the boat will not speed excessively down the slope of a wave, and it greatly reduces the risk of broaching. Drogues are best deployed out of sync with the boat by half of the length of the prevailing waves, meaning that the drogue climbs a wave when the boat slides down a wave.


Skelf and Sprite have a drogue attached to their stern, stowed with its rope under the cox’s seat. In the event of large, cresting waves the cox may decide to deploy the drogue to stabilise the boat and reduce risk of broaching during the return to the shore. Once the boat is aligned appropriately (heading towards the shore perpendicular to the following waves), the cox should

  • remove the drogue and rope from the protective bag
  • ensure the rope is not tangled or knotted
  • throw the drogue overboard on the opposite side of the boat from the tiller (port side).

Once the drogue rope has taken up the tension, the skiff’s movements will become slow and steady with waves passing by rather than causing the boat to speed up and slow down on their surface. Rowers should continue to row as normal. Progress may be slow, and waves may break over the stern making progress uncomfortable, but the risk of swamping or capsize will be greatly reduced.

Once the boat reaches the shore, the drogue and rope should be gathered up and placed in the boat. They should be left out to dry in the shed before being carefully returned to the bag prior to the next launch