What is the best location to install an anchor on a pontoon boat? This is a common question most new pontoon boat owners usually ask. Is it the stern, bow, or sides?
It is not so much which anchor you use but how you use it that matters. Suppose you were asked to design the perfect anchoring system for your pontoon boat. Where would you start?
The purpose of an anchor is to hold your pontoon boat in one place. So, what you need is an immovable object at the bottom of the water to which an unbreakable line is attached. It sounds easy, doesn’t it?
However, that’s not all!
- 1 What You Should Be Concerned About
- 2 What Types of Anchors Works Best for a Pontoon Boat
- 3 The Best Locations to Mount An Anchor On A Pontoon Boat Are:
- 4 Anchoring from the Side is Not an Option
What You Should Be Concerned About
A good location for the anchor on your pontoon boat isn’t enough when devising a good anchoring system.
You need to consider wave action, tide, and wind. Tide and wind exert relatively little force on an anchored boat under normal conditions. But the same cannot be said when the weather is windy.
Your boat is always going to move if the wind blows. But what we are more concerned with is the anchor and the rope system itself, not dragging through the sand and moving.
From there, you can remain anchored on one spot. It doesn’t matter if you are in the river, lake, or ocean.
Understanding how waves behave can help you avoid anchorages that look good in theory but are swept by an annoying swell.
Understanding and compensating for wave behavior is only half of the story. There is often enough residual roll to cause discomfort, especially if the wave strikes your pontoon boat from an odd angle.
So, proper anchoring is the other element for reducing roll and rock.
A wave is a mound of water created by wind pressure that moves up and down due to the water’s lack of friction. A wave also travels down-wind as the force that stacked it up pushes it forward.
The wind pushes the farther waves, the larger they become. The distance over which a wave travels unhindered is called the fetch.
What Types of Anchors Works Best for a Pontoon Boat
The unique design of a pontoon boat will work best with certain types of anchors. Here are the most popular styles to consider.
You need to understand about fluke-style anchors because it is not about the weight of the anchor that is going to hold your pontoon boat. It is about holding power and getting it to set.
The flukes are meant to drag and lay flat on the lake, river, or ocean bottom and dig in, and that is what is going to hold your boat. With a fluke-style anchor, you must have plenty of anchor lines.
It is recommended that you use five-foot of the line for every foot of water.
The reason you need a longer anchor line is that you want this style of anchor far away from the boat so that it can be as horizontal as possible.
The farther you can get the line to be, the more manageable the flukes will hook at the bottom of the water. A fluke style anchor works best for a pontoon boat if used along with an anchor winch or an anchor windlass.
This type of anchor looks like a traditional plow used in farming. It is made up of a hinged shank and an arrow-shaped fluke. The hinge ensures the shank’s weight doesn’t negatively affect the orientation of the fluke.
The hinge also allows prevents the anchor from breaking out during direction changes. This type of anchor is normally crafted from hot galvanized cast steel of superior rust and corrosion resistance.
This type of anchor isn’t difficult to mount to your boat and performs well with all bottoms types.
This type of anchor works well for small pontoon boats. Big mushrooms have been the anchors of choice for mooring pontoon boats.
But that is only when they are expertly affixed to the bottom of the water and properly dug in.
The Best Locations to Mount An Anchor On A Pontoon Boat Are:
Stern Anchor Mount System
One of the best locations to install an anchor on your pontoon boat is the stern. Stern anchoring is recommended for every pontoon boat.
But the thing is, stern anchoring on most coastal sailing vessels typically has a leading chain for weighing down the anchor.
But then again, once you take a look around the dock area and compare vessels that are used close by with ones that are sailed offshore, you will notice that their owners have learned about the importance of having a well-organized stern anchoring system.
The basic requirement of many stern anchors is that they should have approximately two hundred feet of anchor line that is easy and quick to handle when you need to row out a second anchor in a congested marina.
You are always better off with a lightweight anchor like a fluke type.
Fluke anchors, such as the ones made by MarineNow, Danforth, and SeaSense are great choices for your stern anchoring. This is so because they have a superior holding power to weight ratio.
They also stow effortlessly in a roller fairlead or chocks. The roller fairlead on the stern of your pontoon boat should be a direct line with the boat for easy control and retrieval of your anchor.
The fairlead should be uniquely made to prevent chafing and be able to take strong side loads.
You need an ergonomic stowage system for your rode that allows the stern anchor to be shackled as well as wired and ready to be released out the fairlead whenever necessary.
Dropping an anchor from the stern along with a primary anchor is a good thing in some situations, especially when you are anchoring your pontoon boat in a limited space at the marina.
This will help keep your watercraft from swinging into another watercraft. You can also use this type of anchoring to maintain a convenient heading for superior comfort.
Bow Anchor Mount System
The next best location for installing an anchor on your pontoon boat is the bow. A bow anchor mount would require you to use an anchor roller, anchor windlass, or anchor winch.
An anchor roller offers a rolling surface that allows you to easily drop and weigh your anchor from the bow location without banging the topside of your pontoon boat.
There are two types of anchor rollers, which include a single bow and a hinged double bow.
A single bow roller makes dropping and weighing an anchor easier as well as reduce chafe, prevents scratching and dinging.
It provides a secure place to store your anchor when used in conjunction with an optional stopper.
Most single bow rollers feature stainless steel finish for toughness, rust-resistance, and corrosion-resistance. It is also easy to install because it can be used with common tools.
A hinged double bow anchor roller, on the other hand, has a hinged nose and a double roller designed to retrieve and deploy an anchor automatically.
This design also helps to secure an anchor once retrieved. The hinged double roller construction offers a low friction operation for self-launching.
This makes it easier for dropping and retrieving an anchor. A good design comes with a captive pin that is spring-loaded and quick-release for retaining anchor warp.
An anchor roller, whether single bow or double bow, allows you to weigh and drop your anchor by hand.
It acts as a fairlead for your anchor rode, therefore, preventing chafing of the anchor line. The integrated anchor mounts ensure your boat anchor is cradled on the bow.
This keeps the anchor ready for deployment.
One of the latest advancements in anchoring systems is an electric anchor winch, which makes bow anchoring simple with power-up (for anchor retrieval) and power-down (for anchor release).
Electric anchor winches may come with an integrated or separated davit.
Models with an integrated davit can be extended further over the bow before installation. To install an electric winch, you need to locate the best spot at the front of the bow.
The anchor davit must be positioned at the edge of the bow. Consequently, that the roller extends over the edge and allows the anchor to clear the bow when it is docked.
You must always be sure that the anchor rode has enough clearance. Check under the bow for any blockades underneath the anchor davit and winch location.
Also, make sure you’ve sufficient space for the winch rode reel to be centered on the anchor davit roller. You must ensure there is a clear path for routing the battery wires from the winch to the battery.
For the best bow installation, you will have to drill holes and bolt the winch to the deck of your pontoon boat.
You can also use an anchor windlass for installing your anchor on the bow of your pontoon boat.
A windlass is a piece of deck machinery used mainly for powering up and down an anchor. An electric motor powers anchor windlasses.
A complete windlass kit includes an up/down foot switch, an up/down rocket switch, a circuit breaker, a dual-directional solenoid, and wattage.
The best model will have a 900-watt motor that is enclosed inside a stainless steel housing.
The aforementioned example needs a voltage of twelve volts and will draw fifty-five to seventy-five amps.
For the bow installation of an anchor to be reliable, a windlass must have a superior pull. A typical design may have a maximum pull of up to one thousand four hundred and fifty-two pounds.
It should also have a great retrieval speed of about seventy fOnd drop speed; on a good drop speed the other hand, should be around one hundred and thirty-one feet per minute.
The control arm and stripper should be ergonomically designed for easy operation and safety. Any anchor windlass you choose must be able to meet the extreme weather conditions out there.
The anchor line needs to be flexible, rust and corrosion-resistant, and highly durable.
Vertical Vs. Horizontal Mounts
You’ve got two options to consider when dealing with anchor windlasses, vertical and horizontal mounts.
With a horizontal windlass, the motor is sealed inside the housing, which is mounted on the deck. Because the motor is on the deck, it is easy to service and doesn’t take up any room in the locker.
The rode need only make a ninety-degree turn before dropping into the anchor locker. The rode drops straight down into the water.
With a vertical windlass, the motor is installed below deck in the rope locker for a lower and sleeker profile.
The rode, however, makes a one-hundred-and-eighty-degree turn around the gypsy and then turns ninety degrees into the locker.
The additional turns mean superior grip on the rode, but the rode may not feed as smoothly as it does when horizontal.
Remember not to mount a vertical windlass close to the bow as it tends to throw the rode forward into the locker, causing it to pile up in the stem.
Anchoring from the Side is Not an Option
You will rarely find a pontoon boat anchored from the side. If you must anchor sideways, then it should be nearer to the stern or the bow of the pontoon boat.
You normally anchor your pontoon boat to stop it from drifting. Once you have arrived your pontoon watercraft, water will be flowing past it effectively.
However, if you install your mount on the side of the vessel, the anchor will hold your watercraft across the current. So, there will be too much force from the current pushing on your pontoon boat.
This situation may force the anchor to fail or drag at the bottom. If you consider the unique shape of a pontoon boat, the position may not be stable.