But little is known about the distribution, age, origin and abundance of anchors, says the Nautical Archaeological Society (NAS), which is why it has been running its Big Anchor Project (BAP) since 2008.

At the end of last year the project website was all but destroyed by a malicious hack, however, and the NAS is now hoping to raise £2500 to relaunch it.

“The Big Anchor Project is a simple and fun way to record these important maritime features and this is why we’re asking for heritage enthusiasts to support our crowdfunding project,” says NAS Chief Executive Officer Mark Beattie-Edwards.

"Old anchors can be found all over the world, in every port or coastal town"

Often rusting away in forgotten corners, set up on plinths as memorials, or even decorating roundabouts and gardens, they play an important part in our maritime heritage.

“We have records in our database from America, Australia, Cambodia and Turkey as well as those from the UK.”

The NAS says that the funds would not only help it to rebuild the website but to improve it and make it more user-friendly.

The crowdfunding exercise closes on 8 February and the site can be accessed here.

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