An anchor is an essential for any kind of boat - even pontoon boats. Letting you keep the boat steady as you fish, relax, or enjoy lunch, an anchor is a necessary piece of boating equipment that no vessel should ever be without. But more than just having an anchor, it's important that you know where it should go on your boat and how you should deploy it.
Contrary to what they show in movies, you can't just toss an anchor overboard and get your boat to hold. Anchoring takes precision and care if you want to guarantee a good grip. Wondering where's the best location to install an anchor on a pontoon boat? This quick guide should tell you.
Where Should You Install a Pontoon Boat Anchor?
Experts will tell you never to install an anchor at the stern of the boat and to deploy instead from the bow. Because the stern dips lower than the rest of the vessel, tugging down at the rear with the weight of an anchor could case water to overcome your boat and flood the deck. But the same doesn't apply to a pontoon boat.
Compared to any other kind of boat, the pontoon sits higher on the water with only a portion of its hull submerged. Other than that, the pontoon boat features a flat deck that keeps both stern and bow level all throughout. So it doesn't really matter whether you install your anchor at the rear or the front.
However most pontoon owners assert that it might be a better idea to install your anchor winch where it's closer to the battery. That's because it reduces the need for long wires, making the whole installation process just that much easier.
Where is the Best Location to Deploy Your Anchor?
With your anchor installed and in position, it's time to figure out how to properly accomplish the anchoring process. Again, you can't just toss anchors from anywhere on your vessel. To properly guide you on how to anchor your pontoon boat, here's what you need to do:
Check the Conditions
The first step you should always do is check which way the current or wind is coming at your boat from. Decide whether the wind or current is stronger, and then point your pontoon boat relative to its direction. If you're on a calm lake or river, this might be a little trickier to do.
If you're throwing your anchor from the rear of the pontoon boat, then you should be facing the same way as the current or waves. But if you're throwing your anchor from the front of the boat, your pontoon should face against the force of wind or waves.
The reason for this is that it ensures that your anchor will be dragged across the seabed once it's deployed to secure a proper grip.
Figure Out the Depth of the Water
Now that you know what way you should be facing, it's time to figure out the water's depth. You can use your boats depth finder or a quality pontoon fish finder for this step of the process.
Some sources would recommend that you have at least 5 times your distance from the bottom of the water in the form of rode. But experts claim that you should have at least 7 times the length of rode. So if you're 10 feet from the seabed, your line should be 70 feet long.
Drop the Anchor
First, secure your anchor to the cleat and then drop the anchor into the water, then slowly release your rode. Do not release the anchor line all at once as this can cause tangles in the anchor line. Feed the rode as the anchor falls through the water. It would also help to mark out your rope at regular length intervals so you know if you've released enough chain. Some boaters tie colored ribbon to mark their rope.
At this time, it's also important that you put your engine into neutral. The direction of the wind or current should push your pontoon, and the anchor should start to fall at an angle. This gives the anchor a better chance to dig into the seabed as it's dragged along the surface.
Move the Boat
Now run the engine move forward if you're dropping from the rear or backward if you're dropping from the front. This is so that you can get a feel of whether the anchor has already set at the bottom. As you move with the current or wind, you should feel the line start to get taut, thus signifying that you've already got your anchor set strong enough. This could require some practice.
Try not to pull on the rode once you feel significant resistance as this could trip the line. With the anchor in position, you can now secure the anchor to the cleat. Wrap it twice and use a hitch knot to keep it fixed without making it too hard to undo when it's time to go home.
What If I'm Still Drifting?
There will be times when you successfully and properly deploy your anchor, but still find that you're drifting out of place in the water. This is usually the case when anchoring in currents or wind that are too strong, causing your anchor to drag across the seabed. The best way to resolve the issue would be to drop a second anchor from the opposite end of your boat.
If you have an anchor installed under the deck or if you've got an anchor winch installed and you're still drifting, the solution is the same - just deploy a second anchor from the opposite side. Secondary anchors secured at the opposite side of the boat will counteract the drift and currents, giving your boat another point to weigh it down.
How to Install an Anchor on a Pontoon
Installing a pontoon anchor winch is a pretty easy job you can do over a few hours. All you need is the winch and a ledge to drill it on. The electric winch itself can go either at the front or the back of the boat. But since you're installing on a pontoon, position will hardly matter.
Even then, it helps to keep in mind that most of the ledges available on the market are designed so that they fit the aft of your pontoon boat near the battery. This cuts out the guesswork on the best location to install an anchor on a pontoon.
All you'll need is a drill and a few basic tools like a wrench, measuring tape, a C-clamp, and some bolts. The ledge itself should come with instructions for installation. Always double measure to make sure it fits well.
Once the ledge is secured, it's as simple as drilling the pontoon anchor winch in place. You can see the full instructions on how to install a ledge and an anchor winch by checking our complete guides.
An anchor is no simple accessory. There are some rules and specifics you'll need to follow to make sure your anchor is working safely and properly. So it helps to know the best location to install an anchor on a pontoon boat and how to deploy it. If you know these basics, you should be able to keep your boat safely in place as you soak up the sun and fun in the middle of the water.