When you’re retrieving the anchor with a windlass, judging the amount of remaining rode can prove difficult, especially when using a remote switch at the helm. If you’ve inadvertently slammed the anchor into the roller during retrieval, you know the problem. This mistake can gouge gelcoat, bend the roller and even damage the windlass. To avoid it, I created a warning system by color-coding small sections (about four to five links) of the anchor chain at intervals close to the anchor. The initial warning signal is a yellow section about 8 feet from the anchor; the second and last one is a red section about 4 feet from the anchor. This is my cue to stop the windlass, then bump the switch on and off to carefully ease the anchor onto the roller.