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Thread: Anchoring a pontoon boat

  1. #1

    Default Anchoring a pontoon boat

    I'm a newbie boater. I've watched several YouTube videos about anchoring a pontoon boat. They all secure the anchor line to a cleat, but they never show anyone actually doing that. I have a Bennington 20 SLL. There's very little space around the playpen at the bow. To secure the anchor line to a cleat at the bow, I would need to hold on to the aluminum frame of the boat with one hand and tie a cleat hitch with the other --precarious even in calm water. A guy I met, who has been boating for 45 years, tells me he just ties a hook to the end of his anchor line, then attaches the hook to the eyelet at the tip of his middle pontoon. Seems like a great idea. My only caution is that if I back away in reverse-idle to set the anchor, that may stress the toon and cause problems over time. Any thoughts?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Edwardsville, IL
    Posts
    311

    Default

    Backing away at an idle to set an anchor ain't gonna come close to stressing your pontoon, even over decades of use. Pontoon boats are designed to take a lot more stress than you think.
    1994 Tracker Party Cruiser
    115 hp Merc, 2 stroke

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    Boat at Lake of the Ozarks Missouri
    Posts
    644

    Default

    Hey Docpit:

    I agree with belercous about the stress factor. Should not be a problem at all. In fact, a few 'toons
    use the center eye as a winch point when going on the trailer. (Not many but I have seen this more than once.)

    Generally if your model has little or no front bow platform it makes it difficult to tie up, store anchors or bumpers
    and step off when docking or beaching. This is one of the main features a buyer should consider when buying new or used.

    Some desirable features are often not available when in the heat of the purchase decision, however you can work around this.

    I'd suggest using a semi-permanent line secured over the cleat, about 3 foot long, with a bowline loop on the free end and
    you can leave it on the boat but hook your anchor line to it when you need it. Pay out the scope and back down slowly.

    Actually when anchoring like in a cove I will put out a 2 fluke danforth type anchor off the bow plus a 15 lb.
    mushroom anchor off the stern to keep us from swinging into others in the cove.

    Just an idea !!
    Captain Tony
    2005 Summit by Triton - 220T Platinum 3Log
    2005 115HP Mercury Optimax - 228 Marine Master Trailer
    St. Louis & Lake of the Ozarks, MO.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2020
    Location
    Canada
    Posts
    5

    Default

    I stay away from cheap danforths and use a small plow and a 4' of chain, it has superior holding capabilities especialy if you will be swinging a bit, it sets on the first throw.

  5. #5

    Default

    Thanks very much for the info. Much appreciated.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2018
    Location
    Live in the Raeford NC area.
    Posts
    71

    Default Have the right set up

    Anchor set ups....anchor rodes.... are argued by many. However, sailboaters will tell you there is only one way to do it right.
    First, pick your anchor. If you are doing lake outings mostly there is not a thing wrong with an decent Danforth anchor.
    Where most go wrong is from the anchor up. You need at least 10 foot of chain between the anchor and your rope. Many say not true....and they have problems setting their anchor.
    The purpose of the anchor chain is to lay on the bottom thus making the anchor lay as well and bite better. Just rope and rope has a tendency to want to be buoyant and thus not helping the anchor bite.

    Drop your anchor and let out a good bit of line. There are formulas for determining the amount of line to let out based on the depth you are anchoring.....google it.

    Once your anchor and line is out....have your other half or somebody SLOWLY back up your boat while you hang on to the anchor line. Once it has bitten in and almost pulls you off the boat...then you are good. I tie off to the hook where I normally put the trailer wench.....not a cleat.

    There are a couple of free anchor monitor apps that will let you know if you start to drag anchor for your phone. If you set it properly in a lake you should be good.

    Again, like belly buttons, everyone has an opinion and so do I. Google anchor rode and do your research.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    Boat at Lake of the Ozarks Missouri
    Posts
    644

    Default

    Hey Richinnc:

    Lots of truth in your comments.
    As to type of anchor, again correct. It depends on what the bottom is like in the area you frequent.

    Not all anchors are perfect in all types of boating locales.
    My prior comments to DocPit are based on my boating at the Lake of the Ozarks.
    Some areas have a gravel / rocky bottom but many are just mud bottoms.

    My 2 flute Danforth works just fine. I use a 5 to 1 scope because I use the mushroom anchor at the stern.
    If I would use only the bow Danforth then I would like a 7 to 1 scope.

    Of prime importance is the chain before the rode. For our area I find 4 to 5 foot of chain is more than sufficient.
    Also as important is, "Have Fun when Boating - but Be Safe".
    Captain Tony
    2005 Summit by Triton - 220T Platinum 3Log
    2005 115HP Mercury Optimax - 228 Marine Master Trailer
    St. Louis & Lake of the Ozarks, MO.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2018
    Location
    Live in the Raeford NC area.
    Posts
    71

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Captain Tony View Post
    Hey Richinnc:

    Lots of truth in your comments.
    As to type of anchor, again correct. It depends on what the bottom is like in the area you frequent.

    Not all anchors are perfect in all types of boating locales.
    My prior comments to DocPit are based on my boating at the Lake of the Ozarks.
    Some areas have a gravel / rocky bottom but many are just mud bottoms.

    My 2 flute Danforth works just fine. I use a 5 to 1 scope because I use the mushroom anchor at the stern.
    If I would use only the bow Danforth then I would like a 7 to 1 scope.

    Of prime importance is the chain before the rode. For our area I find 4 to 5 foot of chain is more than sufficient.
    Also as important is, "Have Fun when Boating - but Be Safe".
    No argument from me. Some swear by the box anchor as well. Type and size of any anchor counts. That is one place where a good fish finder system can come into play. I never drop anchor without doing a little survey of the bottom with my Humminbird Helix 5 CHIRP. I can see if there are obstructions, vegetation or whatever before I drop anchor.

    All that said.....just like there will come a day you forget the plug on your jon boat....there will be a day you lock up your anchor. Have a mask handy as it makes it easier to see underwater when you dive down to clear it from whatever obstruction!!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2019
    Location
    Central Texas
    Posts
    94

    Default

    Just to be different....(LOL)..... When we anchor, it is usually in a quiet cove. We also often spend the entire night out anchored on that cove. The only wave-action is usually during daylight hours as most boaters on our favorite lake (Travis) head back in by sundown, and only a very few are out until 10PM or so. It’s rare we aren’t all alone out there.
    I have two anchors on our tritoon... a Danforth and a good ol’ 25lb “Navy”. The rode has a length of chain and the rest is 3/8” twisted nylon, on both anchors. I most-often use only the Navy anchor, and almost never both anchors because we’re usually out there all alone with no reason to be concerned about drifting about the bow anchor.
    I usually drop the Navy and let the chain settle...and almost never “back down” to “set” the anchor.....again because it’s a quiet cove with little or no wave-action when everyone else leaves. I step outside the playpen and tie it to a cleat, but there’s certainly no reason the center ‘toon “eye” can’t be used. It would certainly be a good, strong attachment point. When there is any wave-action, it’s been our experience the chain will allow the bow to “bob about” lifting/dropping the chain.... but it does not dislodge the anchor..... and that IS the point of using a chain.
    When sleeping I prefer to allow the boat to swing-about the bow-anchor, and we’ve never experienced any problems dragging that heavy Navy around. (Travis is a hard bottom in most deep areas and “our” cove is about 35’ deep where we anchor.)
    We typically anchor and light a charcoal fire in the Magma kettle (mounted over the water on the starboard rail), and while the fire settles-down we jump overboard and float around visiting. After the fire is ready we toss some steaks and ears of corn (or sometimes pre-baked-potatoes wrapped in foil) or burgers on the fire and enjoy dinner. Roasted marshmallows or “s'mores” later on.
    Breakfast in the morning is usually coffee with Migas, breakfast tacos, or eggs and bacon or sausage we cook over a LPG range (Magellan from Academy) mounted over-the-water on the opposite gunwale (playpen rail) from the Magma kettle. We love the serenity of the early morning in this remote cove, and about mid-morning we’ll motor back home, which is a 20 mile cruise back up-river.

    Don’t overthink anchoring unless you’re in open water. Don’t let “anchor snobs” get to you. You don’t need “designer anchors” to enjoy your pontoon.
    2015 SouthBay 522FCR w/150 Yamaha

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