Made in Michigan: Chene Anchors ships innovative boat anchors worldwide

FENTON (WJRT) (7/24/2018) - The idea of the Chene anchor started in Fenton and while it's sold all over the world, its production isn't going anywhere.

"We could probably ship that out and have it fabricated quite inexpensively, we know that," said Chip Gardner, Chene Anchors' head of product development. "This is a product that we hope represent more than just a piece and part."

The fluke style anchor had been around for years, but Jim Chene had an idea of his own.

"He thought about this and made a machine to bend it and went from there," Gardner said.

While the anchor is similar to other styles, it does have a few differences.

"The hard part is getting it to come straight back up. The second hardest part is getting it to lock in," Gardner said.

The curve in the shank allows for a full 90-degree rotation of the flukes, which are the sharp parts that dig into the soil.

Making the anchor happens in multiple steps done by multiple people. Each part is cut from American-made plated steel, the shank is bent and then they are welded together.

"Mr. Chene did some engineering to it and as a result of that, it improved its ability to hold, its retrieve-ability," Gardner said. "We did some nicer welding, so the durability is also better."

The Chene anchor is made in multiple models and can be used for different size boats, including kayaks, small fishing boats, pontoons and even large fishing boats.

"We can pretty much, if you want this out of stainless steel, we can make that for you. Or if you want this powder coated to match your boat," Gardner said.

Currently, the anchors are sold at nearly 40 retailers, many of which sell online.

"It's amazing the market out there that is just untapped," Gardner said.

The product made by Epic Machine even played a key role in helping clean up after the 2010 BP Horizon oil platform explosion that led to a massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

"They were intrigued by the fact that they could flip over and reset and the boom would not move," Garnder said. "They were having a dickens of a time keeping the booms within 10 feet of where they wanted them to retrieve the oil."

But its not just oil spills that these types of anchors work ideally for. Having no chain also sets the Chene anchor apart from others, making it work for better for large pontoon boats.

"We like to see it made in Fenton. It sounds corny, but it really makes you feel good," Garnder said. "If they walk in the back door and say, 'Can we buy that?' and we say, 'Yes you can, right up the street.'"

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