swinging on the anchor
We were anchored off of San Clemente once, to dodge a bit of weather. As the sea bed fell off rapidly, and our boat's anchor chain is of limited length, we were anchored rather close to the rocky shoreline. (Our boat was a 80-foot tuna fishing vessel converted to a trawler).
As the most junior member on board (by far), I got the mid watch (midnight to 4 am). San Clemente is famous for its squid population, so we did not run any lights. The squid are attracted by light, and can swarm up around the boat, to block its bilge pump outlets. If that happens, the boat takes on water and cannot pump it back out. Not a good thing.
My main job was to try to make out the line of surf and make sure that the boat does not end up on the rocks as the turning tide and currents swing the boat around the anchor. It was not easy to see the surf, as it was a cloudy night with no moon.
Fortunately, a little bit of geometry, regarding the length of the anchor chain, and the likely depth of where the anchor lay, convinced me that we would never come close enough to the shore to present a hazard. That is, unless we dragged the anchor, that would be very bad indeed.
Fortunate for me, the watch passed uneventfully. (Unlike several other occasions that this very junior member of the crew thoroughly embarrassed himself).