Pontoon boats (sometimes known as tube boats) are a type of boat used leisurely on rivers, lakes, and even the ocean; they are also used for water sports in some regions. They are usually crafted of very buoyant materials and while this is great in ensuring you stay afloat, their buoyancy also means it’s impossible for them to stay in one spot on the water without extra help.
This extra help is where anchoring comes in. Think of it like parking a car, but in a way that requires you to attach the car to something so it doesn’t roll off into the sunset.
It can be a bit tricky knowing how to anchor your pontoon boat but it is a skill that can be learned and you’ll find everything you need in this guide whether you’re a beginner at pontoon boating or an old-timer.
To enjoy the best boating experience, read on to learn how to anchor a pontoon boat, what you need to anchor a pontoon boat, how to choose an anchor style, the best anchors out there for you to choose from and so much more.
Table of Contents
Tools You Need To Properly Anchor A Pontoon Boat
- Anchor Chain
Recommended to be equal in length with the length of your boat or a minimum of 10’ – 15’ while having a size ½ the size of your rode, the anchor chain is what connects our anchor to the rode, creating optimal angles for anchoring and stopping the rode from rubbing against the seabed.
The rode is the rope or cable that is connected to the pontoon boat and the anchor (usually to the anchor chain). The recommended length is usually based on the condition of the water bed but ideally 8 feet of rope for every 1 foot of water you will be anchoring in, while the thickness of the rode should be ⅛’ per 9 feet of the pontoon’s length.
Nylon rods are a more advisable option than twisted rope rods due to their better elasticity and strength.
Other tools to have:
- Anchor Winch/WindLass – used in regulating the speed of release and retrieval of the rod tangling and for anchor storage.
- Anchor Ledge – makes anchoring more convenient, you won’t need to hoist it overboard during and after use.
- Extra Rode – because you can never be over-prepared.
- Depth Finder – for accurate estimation of the water’s depth.
- Anchor Storage Unit – preferably a padded unit, mesh, or PV-coated storage unit to prevent damage to the pontoon boat
- Anchor Light – very important if you’re going to be anchoring at night. It not only helps you see clearly but helps other boats see you as well.
How To Decide What Anchor Style To Use
There are different anchor sizes and designs, depending on the conditions in which it would be used. In summary, there are no “universal” anchors or one size fits all. Anchor styles are usually affected by boat weight and size, condition of the water bed (is it sandy or rocky?), water depth, wind strength, etc.
Here are the different anchor styles and where they can be used.
● Box Anchor
Also known as a River Anchor, this style of anchor is best for areas with light vegetation or muddy surfaces. It can however not be left out in the weather year in and out as it easily loses shape when left out in the elements.
● Fluke Anchor
Best for water bodies with sand or gravel beds, as well as beds covered in rubble. It is the ideal choice for anchoring in water deeper than 6 feet and is also known as the Danforth Anchor. In choosing an anchor of this style, pay more attention to the arms rather than the weight.
● Grapnel Anchor
Referred to also as the Richter Anchor, it resembles a grappling hook and is designed for water bodies with rocky beds and a good one must be chosen as anchoring on rocky beds is the most challenging.
Other anchor types:
- Plow Anchor – also called “Digger”, it is used in water bodies with sandy beds.
- Mushroom Anchor – resembles an upside-down mushroom and can be used in place of a box or fluke anchor.
How To Pick The Perfect Anchor Size
The size and weight of the anchor you choose are influenced by many things just like it is with the style of anchor. The most crucial is the size of your pontoon boat as the amount of anchor power you need is directly proportional to your boat size. However, it is ill-advised to have an anchor weighing above 30 pounds.
Here’s a table that shows how to pick the perfect size of anchor for your pontoon boat based on your boat’s size.
|Size Of Pontoon Boat (Inches)||Anchor Weight (Pounds)|
|19 and below||10|
How To Anchor A Pontoon Boat - Steps
You now know what you need for anchoring and how to choose the best anchor for your boat size and environment, here are the steps you need to follow in anchoring a pontoon boat.
Step One: Choose A Position Clear Of Obstructions & In The Direction Of The Wind
Whether it is other boats or a massive boulder out of nowhere, you want your anchor site to be free of obstructions in order to prevent accidents. It is also important that the water bed does not have any visible projections that may make anchoring difficult or impossible.
Note that you should position your boat a little further away from the exact spot you want to anchor and be sure your pontoon boat is facing the direction of the wind or current as well; it must always be in the direction of the strong current if any.
Step Two: Lower Your Anchor
Take your time at this point so you get it right. Secure the anchor to the pontoon boat using the rode and make use of a winch to lower it slowly in order to stop the rode from tangling.
Step Three: Test The Resistance
After lowering the anchor, you should be drifting backward if you’re facing the current’s direction. Once the pontoon boat settles, test the resistance by pulling on the anchor or doing a slow reverse. Your anchoring is successful if you meet with strong resistance.
Step Four: Pick A Landmark To Continuously Check Your Location
Once you’ve settled in, it is important you pick a landmark or some form of visual depiction like a tree or rocks as a reference point to help keep you oriented as to your location. This will help you know if for some reason your anchoring fails and you begin to drift.
Step Five: Hoist Up Your Anchor
At the end of the day, be sure to hoist up your anchor in a way that does not lead to damage to your pontoon boat. Slowly pull up the anchor in a vertical position to prevent damage to the rode or chain.
Best Anchor For Pontoon Boats
It would be a shame if you got equipped with all this great information but got stuck with a barely usable anchor, so I’ve put together a list (in no particular order) of the best anchor for pontoon boats in 2021 to make your life easy.
- Extreme Max Products
- TRAC-Outdoor Products
- MinnKota Deckhand 40 Electric Anchor Winch
- Slide Anchor Box Anchor
- SEACHOICE Hot Dipped Galvanized Deluxe Anchor
- Digger Anchor Marine Freshwater Boat Anchor
- Lewmar Galvanised Delta Anchor
- Danielson River PVC Coat Anchor
- Fortress Marine Anchors - Fortress FX-7
- Danforth S-600 Standard Anchor
- Shoreline Marine Vinyl-Coated Mushroom Anchor
- Five Oceans Traditional Danforth Style Fluke Hot Dipped Galvanized Steel Anchor
Although these are among the best, you can still get a decent anchor, not on this list but just be sure it is also durable and lives up to its promises.
Anchoring is not rocket science once you have the right information, which is exactly why this information on how to anchor a pontoon boat was made for you.
Note that drifting might still happen if the water current is really strong and in such a case all you have to do is re-anchor. However, if you notice that you need to re-anchor every time the current changes, your anchor might be too light for your pontoon boat. Simply recalculate your anchor size in relation to your boat size and get the right one.
Keep in mind also that most times, having two anchors is a better guarantee of getting the job done than having just one; especially if you’re anchoring near the shore. Don’t be discouraged if you need more than one try to get your anchoring right, don’t stop doing it, and in no time mastery will come.