Do you know that recurring movie scene where an enthusiastic overly-confident guy on a boat throws an anchor over only to hit the bottom of his boat, creating a massive hole? Well, the purpose of this article is to help you not be that guy.
Today, I’ll be walking you through the best way to anchor a pontoon boat. We’ll also take a look at some of the best anchors on the market, along with some tips and tricks to ease the process for you and ensure your safety.
Anchoring boats might seem like an easy business, especially when we’re talking about pontoon boats that are known for their relatively light weights. Find the perfect spot, lower the anchor, and we’re done!
Unfortunately, it’s way harder than this. I learned that the hard way, but that’s a story for another time.
So, How Do I Anchor a Pontoon Boat?
The real challenge when you’re anchoring a pontoon boat is its size. The more space there is, the more it’ll be floating around. This means that it’ll keep moving if you don’t anchor correctly.
- First, you need to decide where you want to anchor. Choose an area that’s clear of obstacles and other vessels. Also, check that there are no cables or any obstructions at the bottom.
- Next, you need to get an idea of the depth of the water and the nature of the bottom. Our preference is sand or mud.
- Then, calculate how much you’ll need to release from the anchor line. The best practice for that is to release five to seven times the depth of water from the line, plus the distance between the water surface and the anchor’s attachment point on deck.
- Locate the anchor’s attachment point on your pontoon boat, this will probably be at the forefront or aft. An anchor ledge will be a convenient option for your pontoon, as it doesn’t require you to drill holes or destroy your pontoon.
- Afterward, you need to secure your anchor line to the bow cleat. Secure it at the point of the line where you’ve measured-where it should stop. Point your boat to the wind’s direction. If the current is stronger than wind, point it at the current’s direction. Put the pontoon’s engine to idle and make sure your boat stops in a position where the bow is forward, facing where you intend to drop your anchor.
- Once all is set, start to drop the anchor slowly and gradually. Don’t throw it. Make sure to have your life jacket on when you’re doing this. As the anchor lowers, your boat should drift backward, according to the wind/current direction. If your boat doesn’t drift backward by itself, turn the engine on-reverse and move slowly backward as you watch your anchor lowering.
- You need to keep your boat facing the anchor so as not to tangle the rope and the anchor itself. The only way to do this is to ensure that the anchor rope has tension. Keep monitoring the rope’s tension throughout the anchoring process.
- If you feel it’s not tensioned as it should be due to strong wind, for example, you might need to use your engine to move a bit forward, counter to the generated backward drift.
- You should be getting to the position you want now. It’s time to secure the anchor and let it dig in!
- Secure the rope and let the anchor dig in on its own. When you feel the anchor has settled in, you can stop the boat and get your engine back on idle. Note your landmarks and check against them every now and then to make sure you’re in position and not drifting.
Congratulations that you reached that point! Weighing anchors should be easy for you now. Just make sure to lift it vertically on removal, and try not to hit the boat with it.
Best Anchors for Pontoon Boats
Knowing how to anchor is the hard part, but getting a valuable anchor is equally important. Let’s take a look at some of the best anchors on the market that are suitable for pontoon boats.
This 25 lb anchor from Extreme Max holds your pontoon boat well against the strongest water currents. Despite being sturdy with great capabilities to hold a heavy watercraft, it’s light and easy to pull. It works with or without a winch.
This anchor’s wide base is its strong point, where it grants a stable position for your anchor and your boat. The only downside is that it comes in one size. However, no reviewers complained of using it with their pontoon boats.
- 25 lb. anchor designed to work with anchor winches like Minn Kota Deckhand, Power Winch,...
- Perfect for use on pontoons, fishing boats, and runabouts up to 25'
- Designed for precise anchor positioning
- Provides hold in lakes and rivers; mud, sand, or rocks, no chain needed
- Excellent hold with 45° angled flukes, wide base, and split / flat flukes for steady,...
Seachoice’s utility anchor is what they call a “Danforth Anchor.” It’s a type of anchor that consists of two long flukes that go down and bury themselves in the bottom. The Utility is great for muddy or sandy bottoms. It’s lightweight, but it has good resistance, thanks to its flukes “digging in.”
This anchor offers a long handle instead of the rope and does an excellent job of stabilizing your boat.
- Penetrates deep in a variety of seafloor compositions
- Slip ring shank makes it simple to retrieve stuck anchor
- Recommended for boats 15-19 feet in length
- Fluke Length: 9-1/16 inch
- Stock Width: 12-5/8 inch
If your boat is on the lighter side, this mushroom vinyl-coated anchor would be more than perfect for locking it in place. The wide area of the mushroom cup means greater stability to your pontoon boat, and the vinyl coat protects it against rust and abrasion.
Yet, this is still a small anchor for a lightweight watercraft. We don’t recommend this for big pontoon boats, as it might be susceptible to drifts.
- Boats Anchoring Docking Anchors
- The vinyl-coated mushroom anchor is an economical solution for lightweight boats
- The wide-area mushroom cup produces sufficient holding power in mud and weeds
- Vinyl-coating makes the anchor resistant to rust and abrasion
- Weighs 15 lbs.
Want Some Help – Get an Anchor Winch!
If you want something to take off the hassle of lowering and weighing anchors off your shoulders. An anchor winch could be your way to go.
Pontoon anchor winches aren’t only for luxury. They come in handy if you’re someone who likes to go on boat trips alone with no one to help you do your anchor work.
This device is about to end all your back pain problems! Its principle is to lower and lift the anchor using electrical force, thanks to its 12 volt generator that grants smooth operation and has strong holding power.
Trac’s winch is priced above average because of its anti-reverse internal clutch that prevents free spooling, which means it’s totally safe to use under minimal supervision from you.
- Assembly hardware and instructions
- 100' of 0.20" pre-wound braided anchor rope
- Separate roller davit
- Automatic resetting circuit breaker
- Sealed membrane UP/DOWN switch
Where Should I Install the Anchor on My Pontoon Boat?
According to the method we described above, it’s better to locate your anchor at the front of your pontoon boat. This way, you’ll get better control over it and minimize chances of drifting.
If you’re using a winch, then you can install it at the front or rear. I know that you’ll probably be tempted to install the winch at the back to be near the battery. While I can see why this is logical, it doesn’t always yield the best results. Especially in case of a boat whose front shape is different from its rear, it’ll be prone to drifting if you place the anchor at the rear.
Small pontoon boats have an imbalance with most of the weight at their back, so it’s non-negotiable here that you have to place the anchor at their forefront.
Do I Really Need an Anchor for My Pontoon Boat?
Yes, you do.
Investing in a quality anchor can extend the lifespan of your watercraft, as it keeps it stable and steady even in case of strong currents or moving wind. Besides, it’s pretty affordable.
Cleaning your anchor after every use is essential to maintaining it, especially if it’s been used in salty water. You need to rinse it thoroughly. We also recommend you change the rope regularly as it might wear out as a result of weather conditions and repeated use.
One good advice is to get a padded or mesh storage unit for your anchor to protect it and make sure it doesn’t damage the boat. Having rope backups is also a good idea.
If your boat is big, or if you know you’re going somewhere with strong currents, you can use two anchors! A heavier central one at the front to position the boat, and another one at the stern to stabilize it. It’d be better to choose one of them based on the bottom of the water you’ll be in; sand, mud, or rocky.
Knowing how to anchor your boat is as important as knowing how to drive it. It’ll take some less-than-perfect trials till you get the hang of it. Yet eventually, you’ll be able to do it flawlessly.
Never compromise your safety when it comes to watercraft. Make sure to test your equipment before setting off and have all your safety gear on deck. It’s always better to wear your life jacket while laying and weighing the anchor. Having someone along with you onboard to help is preferable too.