When you think about boating what are the most important pieces of equipment that come to mind? We’re hoping an anchor featured somewhere in your top 3. Even if you’re a serious landlubber you’ll know it’s essential, before your boat or pontoon hits the water.
So we’ve established you need an anchor let’s bust the myth that you need a very heavy one. If you’ve got a mofo of a ‘toon you’re going to need something pretty solid to hold it steady, but for the average sized vessel that doesn’t weigh more than 3000 pounds, a small to medium sized anchor will be more than sufficient.
Pontoon boats are perfect for booze cruises and days out on the water with the family. They offer loads of extra space and we’ve even seen a few with water slides attached. As fun as they are compared to other runabouts, their size makes them a little more problematic to anchor. Besides the size, the extra flotation device that keeps the vessel stable in rough water also keeps it moving if the anchor hasn’t been set correctly.
In this article we look at the types of anchors available, what you need to consider when purchasing one and we give you the “hull” truth, and nothing but the “hull” truth as far as top 4 choices go. We’ve even thrown in a bonus step-by-step guide on how to anchor a pontoon boat. But first, let’s look at the different types of anchors.
The Different Types of Pontoon Anchors
There are three kinds of pontoon anchors:
- Fluke anchors
- Box anchors
- Grapnel anchors
You’re probably asking which of these is best for anchoring a pontoon? While box anchors are the preferred choice, they’re not going to work in every situation. Grapnel anchors are the second best choice, while fluke anchors come in at number three. But, it’s important to remember the anchor you choose will depend very much on the type of water you sail in.
If you’re looking to buy an anchor for your pontoon you need to consider the following:
To hold down an average sized pontoon you need about 15 to 20 lbs. of weight. Of the three different types of anchors available, the box anchor is available in larger sizes, and are usually the heaviest. In most cases the heavier the anchor the better, but not when it comes to a pontoon boat – don’t look at anything that’s over 30 pounds; it’s really not necessary.
Make sure you choose a galvanized anchor to prevent any damage from humidity.
For a smaller boat, like a pontoon, space is limited, which is why you want an anchor that folds up, and comes with a storage bag.
While it’s not a major deciding factor when it comes to choosing an anchor, it’s always nice to get some value for money. Make sure the anchor you buy either comes with a retrieval ring, a rope or chain or that you purchase it separately. There’s nothing like tossing your brand new anchor overboard only to realize you don’t have a rope attached.
Now you know what to look for when buying a pontoon anchor, let’s take a look at the top 5 anchors that float our boats:
The Fortress Anchor with its 90-day money back guarantee and Lifetime Parts Replacement Warranty makes it ones of the best pontoon anchors on the market, in our opinion. It’s deceptively strong, and weighs half of what other similar sized anchors do; even children (within reason) will be able to throw it overboard or haul it back up. Although it’s lightweight it grips onto surfaces with the tenacity of a pit bull.
The Fortress fluke anchor is made of an aluminum-magnesium steel that’s rust-proof, as are all the assembly bits and bobs. The anchor is easy to disassemble and fits into a storage pouch that’s available as an optional extra.
If you’re thinking about purchasing this particular anchor you’ll be pleased to know it’s gone through extensive testing, including US Navy tests, and has passed with flying colors each and every time.
The Fortress anchor for pontoons isn’t the cheapest option but it is one of the best, and if you treat it well, it’ll last you a lifetime.
Depending on where you boat with your pontoon, a box anchor, or more specifically the Slide Anchor Large Box anchor is better suited to bodies of water with muddy and rocky bottoms, as they fix better than other shapes. For larger vessels, this is the perfect option, as it can hold boats up to 70’ long and it’s available in four different shapes.
The anchor weighs 25 lbs. so it’s not heavy and it folds flat, which means it doesn’t take up valuable space on your pontoon. The anchor is stainless steel and finished off with a galvanized dip that makes it corrosion resistant. The only drawback, according to one or two customers is that a lot of mud sticks to it, which means it’s a bit of a pain to clean but that’s also a positive as far as we’re concerned – at least you know it grips well.
Rocky bottoms call for specific anchors and the Seachoice Galvanized Folding Grapnel Anchor is perfect for this. Popular for pontoons and other vessels, it weighs only 9 pounds, is easy to store and is made of a rust-resistant galvanized metal.
Because of its affordable price, some boaters use it as an auxiliary anchor and it’s ideal for dinghies and smaller crafts. It’s lockable in the closed and open positions which makes it a versatile option. One of the anchor’s major selling points is that it’s much more compact when folded and takes up less space than others.
We think it’s a great choice if you’re on a budget or don’t want to spend a small fortune on anchor.
The Slide Anchor Small Box is a smaller version of the large box anchor reviewed earlier. It’s suitable for pontoons between 18 and 30 feet long and is made from galvanized steel.
We like that it’s foldable, has a stabilizer arm and is sold with a pouch for handy storage. It does take some getting used to as it sets within one foot of the landing spot but it is your best choice for muddy or rocky bottoms.
Not everyone wants to spend a lot of money on an anchor, which is why we’ve featured the SeaSense #13 16LB Galvanized Fluke Anchor. The fluke shaped anchor is designed to penetrate mud, gravel, grass and sandy bottoms and maintain a solid hold.
With a very good holding power to weight ratio, it’s a great choice for pontoons that measure approximately 20 – 25 feet. The fluke anchor is lightweight, easy to handle and its galvanized body means it rust-resistant.
How To Anchor a Pontoon Boat
You’re ready to hit the water but aren’t 100% sure how to anchor your boat or maybe you just need a quick recap. Here’s a quick step-by-step guide that’ll have you setting anchor like a pro in no time at all.
1.Choose a spot
Decide where you want to anchor your boat and make sure it’s facing into the wind or current, whichever one is the strongest.
2.Know how deep the water is
While this might seem obvious to you, it’s not necessarily the case for everyone. Knowing how deep the water is will help you calculate how much line you’ll need for the anchor to grip. Boats have capsized because there wasn’t enough line.
3. Put the engine in idle
Make sure you stop with the bow slightly ahead of where you plan on dropping the anchor.
4.Release the anchor
Make sure the anchor is secured to the cleat and slowly release it. If you just throw it in it could tangle. The slightest drift will ensure the anchor sinks and grips the bottom. If your boat isn’t moving you’ll need to reverse it and let it drift a little.
5.Secure your line
When your anchor is set and you’re in the spot you want to be, make sure you wrap the rode around the cleat twice. You’ll feel the anchor digging into the bottom. Slowly reverse your boat while it’s in idle so you back down on the anchor. This secures it in place.
To lift anchor, pull it up vertically. Make sure you clean off any debris or mud.
As a safety precaution, always store the anchor where no one can trip over it. This is where folding ones are the most convenient. Otherwise pack it away in its storage bag, under a seat or find something that works for you.
There you have it. The best pontoon anchors according to us, a buying guide and a recap of how to anchor your boat. All you need now are your sea legs and a keen sense of adventure.
Is there an anchor we need to know about? Before you go, tell us in the comments below. We always love hearing from you.