A small four-pronged anchor often used as such in dinghies and other small craft. Grapnels were also used in the sailing navy days to hold a ship alongside an enemy for the purpose of boarding it by hooking them in the rigging or over the gunwale. They were also used by fireships when attaching themselves to their victims, but when used for this purpose the four arms were barbed like fishhooks. A grapnel can also be used for dragging the bottom for articles lost overboard.
Subjects: Maritime History.