How To Anchor A Pontoon Boat

Pontoons are one of the most popular boats in the market due to their flat design and spacious deck, capable of accommodating large groups of people. Since its introduction in 1951 by Ambrose Weerus, these boats have become a favorite among many as they are endlessly customizable and highly buoyant.

If you have — or are planning to invest in — a pontoon boat, you are about to be given access to several water-based activities that you and your family will surely enjoy. However, there are a few things to learn before you set sail, and one of them is how to anchor a Pontoon boat.

Pontoon Anchoring: An Overview

As mentioned before, the design of a Pontoon makes it extremely buoyant. The very Pontoons that keep it afloat make it difficult to anchor down when needed, which is why it is essential to be well versed in Pontoon anchoring before you can begin sailing. 

This article will cover the process of anchoring a pontoon boat, including:

  • Choosing the Right Anchor
  • Choosing Your Position
  • Releasing the Anchor
  • Ensuring the Anchor Has Dug In

Learning how to anchor correctly is crucial when sailing, as it will prevent your boat from drifting away or getting caught in potentially dangerous currents. In turn, ensure your vessel is equipped with safety gear at all times in case of an emergency.

Choosing The Right Anchor

Pontoon boats typically carry a lot of weight due to their holding capacity and customizations. However, most pontoon boats come with factory-fitted anchors that cannot hold the boat in place. Choosing the right anchor for your pontoon depends on a couple of things. The first factor you must consider is the body of water you are sailing in. If you plan to sail your pontoon in a river with high currents, then river anchors and navy anchors, which are most commonly fitted on pontoon boats and rely on their weight to hold a boat down, will not do much good.

Consider investing in a hurricane anchor. Unlike old school anchors, hurricane anchors rely on their design rather than their weight to hold the boat down. For example, a 2 lb lightweight titanium hurricane anchor would perform the same as a 22 lb hurricane anchor of the same size, as their functionality is based entirely on design. If you have a pontoon boat, want to entertain a large group of people, and usually sail in waters with a current, spending some cash on a proper anchor is an investment you will not soon regret.

Choosing Your Position

You will want to begin by choosing an anchorage that is clear of any obstructions or other boats. Keep an eye on the current as you will need the nose of your pontoon to be facing it. In certain scenarios, you might want to determine what type of terrain you are working with. 

To do this, drop an extra anchor if you have one on board, as it could also give you an indication of any potential obstacles under the water. If the first anchor doesn't drop smoothly, then consider moving to another location.

Releasing The Anchor

The next step is to select the correct rode length. As you might have already guessed, this depends entirely on the depth of the anchorage. It would be best if you ideally have a rode length between five and seven times the depth of the water and then add the distance between the waterline and the anchor point on your boat. Finally, proceed to maneuver the boat into the desired position with the bow just ahead of where you want the anchor to drop and bring your boat to a halt.

You can now proceed to drop the anchor. Slowly lower the anchor into the water from its bow. Before you do this, double-check if the anchor is correctly attached to the boat to avoid losing it altogether. As you lower the anchor, allow your boat to drift backward with the current until it puts tension on your line, keeping your boat in place. Be mindful not to put too much pressure on the line, which could potentially cause it to break.

Ensuring The Anchor Has Dug In

Once you confirm that the anchor is set, you should test its holding power. 

You might need to set the boat into reverse for this. Be very careful, and don't use the power from your motor to do this. The aim is to check if it is secure and not pull it off the anchorage or damage your boat. Take notice of a landmark when you anchor your pontoon. Checking on its position from time to time will provide a marker if you drift away from your chosen spot.

Tips And Tricks

  • When purchasing an anchor, make sure to choose one that would be appropriate for the size of your pontoon. Fifteen-foot pontoons will require an anchor of at least 20 lb - 30 lb in weight for it to hold. It might be a good idea to request someone from the store to take a look at your boat and recommend the most suitable one.
  • Most Pontoon owners will recommend that you have a second anchor installed at the stern of your boat to keep it from swinging. Doing so will also give you the chance to fit in one anchor for all purposes and another that is specialized to work in your usual sailing environment.
  • If you are regularly sailing in deep waters, consider fitting a heavier anchor as it will prevent your lightweight pontoon from drifting away. You also have the option of adding a chain to your rode.

Summary

Ensuring that you have the correct anchor is equally vital as the method employed when securing your pontoon boat. Remember to check the conditions in which you plan to drop anchor, and maintain a landmark for visual reference. While the process can be relatively straightforward, always ensure you follow proper safety precautions when performing any of the tasks mentioned above.