Pontoon boat anchors come in all kinds of shapes and sizes and usually do not look like sailors tattoo you are used to seeing. These days they are designed to be lite and efficient, so knowing your pontoon boat weight is not as important as it used to be.
To pick the right anchor for your pontoon, you have to understand the type of anchor that best fits your boat and conditions of the water bed.
Pontoon Boat Anchor Types
The first and most important notion to consider when deciding on an anchor is to remember that no anchor is a “one size fits all.” Some may disagree with that statement, and it may not be far from the truth.
I’ve listed that universal anchor here, see if you can spot it. (hint: it’s toward the bottom of the second list)
There are a few different kinds of anchors that serve a different purpose or different types of boats.
The most common anchors used for pontoon boats are;
- Box anchor
- Fluke anchor
- Grapnel anchor
There are also optional pontoon anchors that I will discuss, and those are:
- The Claw or Bruce Anchor
- The Plow Anchor
- The River Anchor
- The Richter Anchor
- Pontoon Sand Anchor
Best Pontoon Boat Anchor
Box Anchor – Best Anchor For Muddy Rivers and Lakes
If you find yourself mostly steering through waters with muddy bottoms with light vegetation, lakes, and rivers, then you will hardly find a more suitable anchor than the box anchor.
Box anchors work by maximizing the amount of surface in contact with the mud itself to anchor your boat and secure a firm hold.
As is essential with all anchors, it’s paramount when dealing with Box anchors to ensure you have enough line drawn out before you drop in the anchor and let it sink.
As a rule of thumb, you should have approximately five times’ as much line drawn out than the actual depth between you and the mud. In other words, if you were in 10 feet of water, have at least a fifty feet of rope out before you toss the anchor overboard.
What to Know:
- Box anchor is perfect for muddy bottoms of rivers and lakes
- Extremely durable and reliable
- Easy to use anchor
Fluke Anchor – Best Anchor for Sandy Bottom
Fluke anchor works best in waters with a sand or gravel floor, such as sandy beaches off the coast of New England, but it can work well with clay or muddy bottoms.
Unlike some other anchor on this list, fluke anchor does not have to be heavy to anchor a large boat. Instead, the fluke anchor uses its long claws to dig deep into the sandy bottom and hold the boat that way.
When buying this type of anchor, you should primarily be concerned with its size and less with the weight. For instance, fluke with 27-inch claws that weighs 13.4lbs can anchor a boat up to 30 feet long.
What to Know:
- Used for sand and gravel bottoms but can handle clay and mud as well
- Fluke anchor is lightweight compared to other anchors
- Very easy to retrieve and store
Grapnel Anchor – Best Anchor for Rock Bottom
Do you frequently boat in rivers or the ocean where the bottom is rocky?
Do you need an anchor that can hold a tanker and not break? If you do, you need a grapnel anchor.
Frequently people can get away with anchors that are not 100% suitable for the muddy or sandy bottom, but when it comes to rocks, there is no substitute; grapnel is the only anchor that works well with rocks.
Grapnel anchor has four long arms, which grab a firm hold of the rock below. Every Grapnel anchor will require a few feet of drift to find a firm grip on a rock. However, once set, it will have the most secure hold you will see from any anchor.
What to Know:
- The only anchor for rocky bottoms you will ever need
- Very strong and durable anchor, almost indestructible
- Grapnel anchor is foldable for easy storage
Other Pontoon Boat Anchors
Just because I said optional pontoon boat anchors, it does not mean they are not good. If fact, some of them are great, it all depends on the situation and the size of the boat.
The Claw of Bruce Anchor
The Claw of Bruce is a dependable universal anchor that works with nearly all bottom types, including mud, sand, coral, and rock.
Besides its gorgeous stainless steel look, this anchor is also known for its ability to set and reset quickly and the ability to stay stable in a wide range of tide and wind conditions.
- Universal anchor
- Easy to work with
- Dependable and stays in place in rough conditions
The Plow Anchor
The Plow anchor is another universal anchor on this list. It is dependable, looks good, and is easy to use.
The plow boat anchor depends on its weight to grip to the bottom. Because of the weight, it is best to use it with a remote windlass.
If you have a larger pontoon boat, the plow anchor might be the right choice for you if you are looking for one size fits all.
- Universal anchor
- Heavy, use it with remote windlass and anchor winch
- Low center of gravity, sets right every time
The River Anchor
As the name says, this is the best boat anchor for fast-moving currents, such as rivers. The design of the anchor is made to engage rocks, mud, weedy/grassy bottoms, and other structures you can find in the rivers.
Depending on the size of your boat, the river anchor can get heavy, but it works well with smaller boats.
- Anchor built for fast-moving rivers
- Tri-fluke cast iron design
- Durable and dependable anchor
The Richter Anchor
Some will swear that this is the best anchor for pontoon boats. It works with all bottom types, requires a minimal line, sets itself, and it is effortless to retrieve.
And of top of that, if you are a fisherman, you will not drift away from your fishing spot. Where you set your anchor, is where your boat will stay.
- The best universal anchor in my opinion
- Very dependable in all conditions
- Easy anchor to work with
Pontoon Sand Anchor
This anchor is a bit different than the others mentioned above. The reason why is because you use it to anchor your boat to the beach area, either beach itself or the shallow water next to it.
As the name says, this anchor is perfect for sandy beaches. Try to use it on anything larger than gravel, and this anchor will be useless.
- Not your traditional anchor
- Only works with sandy beaches
- Great for the beach area
Best Location to Install an Anchor on a Pontoon Boat
When it comes to anchoring the pontoon boat, it is not much different than any other ship.
The best location to install an anchor on a pontoon boat is at the front of the pontoon.
And the reason is simple, control.
You can point your boat in any direction you want and drop the anchor at the precise location you think is best.
It is tough to do that if you are dropping the anchor at the back of the boat. Or the side of the boat. So stick to what works best, always install your anchor at the front.
How to Anchor Your Boat
Anchoring a boat does not have to be difficult and is not rocket science. However, many people overlook its importance and fail to learn to do it properly.
There are only a couple of steps involved and learning them will save you from a major headache later. So don’t ignore this subject, learn it, and be a happy boat owner.
When you’re anchoring your boat, there are a few things you want to keep in mind.
Most importantly, you want to know:
- the current
The other two determine the position of your boat and how your boat is going to sit in the water. So figure out where you want to anchor and anticipate where the boat is going to go next.
I would suggest that you are always a certain distance in front of where you want to be anchored (I’ll talk about this a bit later). In other words, have an end goal in mind when anchoring depending on the conditions mentioned above.
So once you’ve determined the wind and the current, you’re ready to anchor your boat. You can either do this manually or with anchor winch.
Here are the steps to properly anchoring a boat:
- Lower and set the anchor
- Have a proper scope ratio
- Give it a good tug
Drop an Anchor
Don’t take a term dropping an anchor literarily. That is a mistake. If you drop your pontoon boat anchor, things could get tangled.
Dropping an anchor is just a term that people use when they lower the anchor. What they do is they lower the anchor gently to the bottom of the lake.
Once you have lowered the anchor facing the direction you want, give it a little tug. You want to do this to make sure that the anchor is catching the bottom.
When you feel the anchor giving you some resistance, start dropping the line out. Knowing how much line you need requires understanding the scope.
Use Proper Scope Ratio
By definition, the scope is a length of mooring rope or anchor cable relative to the dept of the water.
To understand the scope clearly, let us look at the triangle below.
In this example, scope equals a*5 = c or depth of the water times 5 = length needed. This 5:1 ration between the two is the scope.
Your scope should be at least 5:1. In other words, for every foot, meter, yard (what every you want to use), you should calculate at least five times the line to anchor your boat correctly.
I know that in the desired scope is not always possible due to overcrowded docking areas but always use as much as possible.
Set the Anchor
Once your anchor is in the water along with the scope, put your boat into reverse and give it a good tug.
I typically rev my engine up to 2000rpm. It works for me and the condition I’m boating in, your circumstances might be different. I would suggest you ask other boaters in your area of what they do.
Finally, when I feel that the anchor has dug in and is holding the boat well, I typically come a bit closet to it.
If you remember, I mentioned you should be a certain distance in front of where you want to be when you drop your anchor.
Here is a rule of thumb that I am using. If I want to be in a certain position, I drop my anchor 3 boat lengths in front of that location. The scope will take me back 4-5 lengths, and when the anchor is set I’ll pull up to the correct spot.
A pretty simple technique that works for me but you can figure out your own technique.
How to Retrieve a Stuck Anchor
Sooner or later, chances are your anchor is going to get stuck, and you won’t be able to pull it up.
If this happens, you will have three options:
- If not deep, dive to the bottom and unstuck the anchor
- If deep, come back later with a professional diver
- Use a simple zip tie trick described below
Most anchors, including the plow anchor in the picture below, have two holes where you can attach your shackle.
People usually use the one in the back when attaching shackles to their anchors. However, a hole in the front is a much better option, in my opinion.
Here is why.
If your anchor is stuck and you have the line attached to the back of the anchor, pulling on the anchor will do nothing. You will not be able to retrieve your anchor no matter what you do.
If, however, you tie the shackle to the front hole and use the zip tie to link the chain to the back hole, your luck will change significantly.
Now, I don’t want to write the exact way of doing that. I will confuse you. Instead, check out the video below and you will see precisely how it’s done.
Are you looking for the pontoon boat anchor? If you do, you should ask yourself the following questions.
- How large is your pontoon boat?
- What kind of water bottom are you dealing with?
If you have answered those two simple questions, you should be able to pick the best anchor for the pontoon boat based on the information provided above.
I hope I was able to put some light on types of boat anchors, how to anchor a boat properly, and how to retrieve an anchor that is stuck. You don’t want to lose a pricey anchor just because you were not informed.