Most people who are new to pontoon boats wonder where the best location to install an anchor on a pontoon boat is. Is it the bow, the sides, or the stern?
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, right?
But! Where exactly do you install an anchor on a pontoon boat? Let’s find out in detail in this post.
- 1 What Types of Anchors Works Best for a Pontoon Boat
- 2 Best Location to Install an Anchor on a Pontoon Boat
- 2.1 Anchor Off the Bow (Front of the Pontoon Boat) – Step By Step Guide
- 2.2 Step 1: Face Into the Direction of the Wind or Water Current
- 2.3 Step 2: Have the Anchor Secured to the Cleat
- 2.4 Step 3: Determine the Scope of the Anchor Line
- 2.5 Step 4: Set Up Your Anchor
- 2.6 Step 5: Drop the Anchor
- 2.7 Step 6: Check for Any Abnormalities
- 2.8 Step 7: Pulling Up Your Anchor
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 types to consider.
The thing you need to understand about fluke-style anchors is that 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 easier 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 types of bottoms.
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.
Best Location to Install an Anchor on a Pontoon Boat
Having known the best types of anchors that work for a pontoon boat, we can now learn the best locations for installing an anchor on a pontoon boat.
Anchor Off the Bow (Front of the Pontoon Boat) – Step By Step Guide
The bow or the front of your pontoon boat is the best location overall because the bow of the boat stays in about the same spot.
So, the boat swings in a small radius, which is the approximate length of the boat.
This particular anchor will not be so easily swept by an annoying swell.
Here are the most important steps to follow when anchoring a pontoon boat from the front:
Step 1: Face Into the Direction of the Wind or Water Current
Two of the most important factors that may interfere with your perfect pontoon boat anchor are wind and water current.
Expert sailors and captains are continuously finding ways to get the perfect anchor drop.
You have to point the bow of your boat in the direction of wind or current.
This way, you will face less instability because the wind or current will be breaking at the hull.
Facing the direction of wind or water current guarantees the stability of the anchor when dragging it at the bottom of the water.
The only significant challenge here is to determine the direction of the wind or current.
Step 2: Have the Anchor Secured to the Cleat
In nautical terms, a cleat refers to a metallic device for tieing or securing a rope when anchoring or mooring a pontoon boat. Here is how you tie an anchor rope to a cleat:
Wrap the line under the horn of the cleat, around the backside first, then the side furthest away from the opposite attaching point.
The angle of the line from the cleat to the other attaching point should be less than ninety degrees.
Turn the anchor rope three-quarters around the base. Make sure you don’t cross over the rope under the horns of the cleat that goes towards the opposite attaching point.
Then lift the rope over the cleat, while crossing the top, and then bind it under the horn. It should appear like you are making a figure eight.
Pull the line back over the top towards the opposite horn on the cleat, crossing over the line you just wrapped around the horn of the cleat.
Create a small loop in the rope and position the loop over the opposite cleat horn and pull tight. Avoid spinning the line the other way.
Step 3: Determine the Scope of the Anchor Line
Scope refers to the length of the anchor line you let out about the depth of the water.
It is also the single greatest variable that can affect the holding power of the anchor regardless of where the anchor is installed.
You can determine the scope by adding the depth of the water and the height of your pontoon boat deck or from the cleat you have tied the anchor line.
Then multiply the results by five when the waters are calm and by ten when the waters are rough.
If the water is twelve feet deep; for example, and you tie your anchor to your pontoon boat three feet above the water, and the waters are calm, then this translates to a scope of seventy-five feet.
The reason you want plenty of the scope is to allow the anchor to function the way it was designed.
If the aforementioned calculations are confusing for you, then you can determine the scope the traditional way.
This involves stretching your arms apart while holding the anchor line. You can assume that each arms-apart length of the line is equivalent to five feet.
Step 4: Set Up Your Anchor
Before deploying your anchor, you must first set it up for the perfect anchoring system down the bottom.
- Set-Up the Lead Chain
Although some people may overlook this factor, it is important to use a lead chain to make sure that the bow anchor mounting is solid.
It is unwise to directly tie the line to the anchor without the lead chain.
This is so because the weight of the chain and the length of the chain helps keep the plane angle of your line from the front of your pontoon boat even almost parallel to the bottom.
This will allow your anchor to effectively dig into the bottom.
- Set-Up a Reef Trip
The most important thing to remember when setting up your anchor is a reef trip, which is important when retrieving your anchor.
Your anchor can easily dig into a rock or a snag. What you don’t want to do is to connect the chain just by the end of the shaft.
It looks logical that’s where the chain is supposed to be connected, but things may get illogical when the anchor gets stuck during retrieval.
Fluke anchors do normally have a tripping ring. What you should do is use a shackle to connect the chain to the tripping ring or hole.
So, when you ever do pull from up high on your pontoon boat, you could easily pull your anchor out of the snag.
But you still need to position the chain along the length of the shank and zip-tie it to the hole at the end of the shank.
The zip ties are enough to hold your pontoon boat on the anchor. If the anchor gets stuck in a rock, you can bump your boat in gear with enough force to break the zip ties, which then turns around and lets the chain pull the anchor from the back to pull it out of the snag.
Step 5: Drop the Anchor
At this point, you have your pontoon boat facing the ideal direction about the wind or water current, you have tied the line to the boat’s cleat, and you have the perfect scope for letting off the anchor. Now, here is how you drop the anchor.
There are two important things that you must avoid doing when lowering the anchor into the water.
First, don’t have the line almost upside down because it will be pulling from the bottom of the pile. This could easily create a tangle.
If you have a short rope, you want to make sure that you have it to where the rope is pulling from the top before you deploy the anchor.
So, take a minute or two and set your anchor, and get things ready before you deploy.
Second, don’t throw the anchor into the water. Anchors are heavy and repairs on your pontoon boat are expensive.
If you drop or throw and hit your pontoon boat, you can damage it in a big way.
The best way to deploy your anchor from the front of your pontoon boat is to ease it over the deck.
Have your anchor on your right hand and your chain on the left hand and keep the rope off your feet.
Then release the anchor slowly as you let go of the scope one hand over the other.
At this position, you can get yourself in trouble if the anchor line wraps around your foot. So, we can’t stress enough the importance of having your feet away.
Release the rope until you reach the maximum scope as you tied on the cleat earlier.
Step 6: Check for Any Abnormalities
You will know when your pontoon boat gets anchored because as soon as it comes tight, the bow is going to spin up into the wind.
So, if you drop the anchor and you somehow notice that you are drifting, then this means your bow may be at an off-angle. That is a clear sign that you are sliding on the anchor.
Such things happen now and then. You can come loose, you can have a rope come undone, you can have a damaged anchor at the bottom, and so on. Things go wrong at some point in the water.
But, as long as you know and feel the bow of your pontoon boat is up into the wind, then you know that you are tight on your anchor.
Step 7: Pulling Up Your Anchor
Pay attention to your rope folks. A simple hand signal can let you know that the rope is loose and the anchor is coming out.
If your anchor doesn’t come loose on its own, you can take a wrap around the cleat and gently use your pontoon boat to break it free.
Let the boat help you pull the anchor to avoid unnecessary injuries.
Once the anchor is loose, pull the line hand over hand, making a nice pile in front of your feet.
When the anchor is directly below the deck, bend your knees to get the strength you need to pull the anchor over the deck.
Get it to hand over hand on the chain to avoid damaging your boat.
Then grab your anchor and lift it over the gunwale.
You can go ahead and remove the chain and the line from the anchor for storage.
Avoid dropping the anchor over your pontoon boat, the repairs are expensive!