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How to Anchor a Pontoon Boat in 7 Easy Steps

Written by J. Harvey / Fact checked by S. Numbers


A pontoon has a lot of room to offer. This statement may have a positive impact as it promises comfort when sailing. However, this feature means extra floatation, which is not beneficial when anchoring.

‘How to anchor a pontoon boat?’ is a good question a boater would ask about. To answer this query, you have to calculate the depth of the water and the pontoon’s position to lower the anchor.

It’s just the first step and there’s more to know. This article is your guide in doing the correct process of anchoring your pontoon.

The Ideal Type of Anchors for a Pontoon

Box Anchors


When sailing with your pontoon on a river or lake, a box anchor can keep it still. It’s the anchor that works very well in light vegetation or muddy surfaces due to its ability to maximize every ground that it comes across.

To bring on its optimum performance, you have to provide a line with enough length and excellent grip. Without these factors, your pontoon will drift. 5:1 scope should be applied to obtain the recommended length. It refers to the gap between the boat’s bottom and the water.

Fluke Anchors


This anchor is good for sand and gravel. Thus, it simply means that you have to pick it when you take your pontoon to the sea and the ocean. The weight of the fluke anchor is not the main thing that you have to be concerned about.

The arms dig into the surface to keep the pontoon stable. That’s why it’s better to give more importance to these parts.

Grapnel Anchors


You can stabilize your pontoon in rocky bottoms with this anchor. It’s not hard to find it as there are numerous models offered in the market.

Rocky surface is more challenging to anchor than the muddy bottom. Hence, you have to make sure that you got an incredible and efficient grapnel anchor.

Step-by-step Guide in Anchoring a Pontoon Boat


Since the ample space of the pontoon makes it buoyant, it’s crucial to develop skills to anchor it properly. Even lowering the anchor needs the proper technique, which handles the rope with the appropriate amount of slack.

This guide will be comprehensive even for beginners.

Step 1: Positioning the pontoon

Spot the area where you want to settle. This action is the very first step that you have to mind about anchoring. You also have to consider safety measures like keeping your pontoon away from rocks and banks. So, no one will get hurt on board.

Pontoons are vulnerable to wind. Hence, there’s nothing to worry about when the water is calm along with a bit of breeze. Your boat’s position won’t be altered at all.

When there’s strong wind or current, the nose of the pontoon should face the direction of the strongest one among the two elements. For instance, angle the pontoon with a tipped nose when the current strongly goes to the north.

Positioning your pontoon well is not only for anchoring but also for preventing you from struggling every time you sail.

Step 2: Calculation of rode

The next thing that you have to check is the water depth. You can ascertain the necessary rode’s length with the identification of the kind of bottom or seabed. A depth finder can make this process easier for you.

After you acquire the depth, you have to multiply the number by five. Then, you can get the correct digits for the rode length.

Step 3: Anchor preparation

Once you get the correct length of the rode, you can prepare the anchor. See to it that the pontoon is as static as possible. Make it happen by putting the engine in its idle state.

It’s also good to put the bow slightly forward to the direction where you choose to anchor.

Step 4: Dropping the anchor

You don’t just mindlessly drop the anchor into the water. The anchor’s length should be five to seven times longer than the depth of the water. Secure the anchor first on the boat, then lower it slowly.

Tie it twice on the cleat. There are different kinds of knots to create as long as you’re willing to learn. It’s fine if you notice that your pontoon drifts backward. What you only need to avoid is entangling the anchor line.

Step 5: Checking the resistance

The anchor should reach the bottom to dig in the surface. It would much help if you had some time to make sure that it’s doing what it’s supposed to do. The pontoon will move along with the current at the same time.

If the anchor is on the left, the pontoon will likely move backward. Let it be until both of them stop moving. When this happens, it won’t hurt if you recheck the resistance for reassurance. You can put the engine in reverse.

Step 6: A landmark as a visual indicator

A boater should be observant of the things in the surrounding. If you don’t have this trait, you may find yourself questioning why you’re in a certain area. You have to try to memorize the markers occasionally.

As an example, you can remember a tree that is parallel to the pontoon’s nose. The tree may sometimes shift in its relative proximity. In this case, you have to re-evaluate and may need to anchor your pontoon for the second time.

Step 7: Retrieving the anchor

When you drop the anchor in the water, a time will come that you need to retrieve it. A knowledgeable boater can tell when to get the anchor back. Safety precaution is another concern.

Gradually pull the anchor with care to not cause damages to your pontoon. It should be at a vertical angle.

Some Tools That Can Help You Anchor a Pontoon Boat Properly


A winch or windlass

It’s a handy boat accessory that makes anchor storage more convenient. You can use it with any type of anchor. Casting your anchor will be trouble-free when you have a winch.

With the help of a winch, you won’t have to worry about tangles. Thus, your anchor won’t have a lot of mud that can stain your boat’s upholstery.

A quality anchor ledge

This tool ensures the safety of your boat and strengthens convenience when anchoring. Its job is to lower or raise the anchor. An anchor ledge can also make storage of anchors together with the winch trouble-free. Moreover, it can help you save space.

Anchor storage unit

Keeping an anchor, rope, and chain is not as simple as ensuring that these things don’t cause any damage. Hence, a mesh, PV-coated, or padded storage unit should be on your list.

There are different kinds of storage bags, making sure that you get the one that’s durable and doesn’t tear easily. You can also get a pontoon storage anchor block set.

Extra rope

Be prepared when you’re sailing with a pontoon, like having an extra rope. You have to be selective with the rope. The thickness should be 1/8 inch per 9 feet of the pontoon’s length. Excessive length is not advisable due to the reduction of the line’s elasticity.

Some Tips and Tricks

  • You must choose an anchor with a weight that suits your pontoon’s length. Pontoons with a length of 14 to 16 feet can be secured by anchors from 20 to 30 feet long. You can check out the pontoon anchor guide.
  • The assurance of secure anchoring calls for more than one anchor. Experts have an anchor on the bow and another one on the stern. Following this practice assures you that the pontoon won’t swing excessively.

It’s also good that you have a generic anchor that you can use on any surface. Some pontoon owners selected a specialized anchor for the seabed or bottom where they anchor.

  • Get a heavier anchor when you are always sailing on deep water. Pontoons are lightweight. That’s why they’ll tend to drift. The additional weight from an anchor makes the pontoon remain in its position.

In this matter, you can also add a chain with rope as anchor guides suggest.

Sum it Up

Think how lightweight the pontoon is. This fact will make you realize that it’s essential to know how to anchor a pontoon boat. It’s for your safety and other passengers. Proper anchoring can also stop damages from ruining your pontoon.

Once your pontoon is anchored well, there’s no need to worry about waves and the probability of swamping under extreme weather.

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