What Determines How Big An Anchor You Need
Oddly enough, your choice of the anchor is not solely determined by the size of your boat but more so the displacement and structure.
For instance, boats with larger structures, particularly ones that may resist wind conditions more easily, would typically need a heavier ground tackle. Heavier ground tackle equates to bigger anchors.
On the other hand, boats that are more affected by winds and currents, such as flats boats, would be well advised to stick with something smaller and lighter.
Now, we use the term heavier here to describe holding power rather than the weight of the actual anchor. The same-sized galvanized steel anchor weighs more than its equivalent in anodized aluminum hence, the type of metal the anchor is constructed can also determine the anchors holding power.
The largest problem with having an undersized anchor comes into play during those unforeseen emergencies that will, without fail, rear their ugly heads at the most inopportune time.
So, although you may never arrange to take your boat out in adverse conditions, its that one unplanned-for squall that whips up or the broken needle on the gas gauge that led you to misread your fuel level when out on the open water that will be the true test of your anchors worth and fortitude.
Why Do I Need Anchor Chain How Much Anchor Chain Do I Need
Note: The information presented here is general information for anchoring in conditions up to 30 mph winds. When winds exceed 30 mph, extreme caution must be taken and short scopes are never recommended.
Always use a minimum of 5:1 scope in extreme conditions, and be sure all your ground tackle can handle the anticipated loads.
Similar to choosing the right size boat anchor, the amount of anchor chain you need can also depend on several things, such as:
-Boat length, weight, and beam
-Boating locations – inshore/offshore, or on lakes, rivers, etc
-Conditions: Will you anchor overnight, or just during day trips? Are you close enough to return to shore if the weather takes a turn for the worse?
-Water depth – for extremely deep water, using longer lengths of chains can help the anchor set faster, and with less line let out. This could make a big difference in deep water when letting out 100-200+ feet of line.
Where Are Boat Anchors Stowed On Board
Ploughshare anchors and Bruce anchors can be fixed via a bow roller and are often used in combination with a windlass. Plate anchors can be taken apart and stored in an anchor well. It can take up to 10 minutes until the anchor is assembled and ready for use. Fortress anchors usually have a storage bag for stowing them onboard. For stern anchors there are special holders for mounting them on the stern, bathing ladder or pulpit.
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Bottom Conditions Youll Experience The Most
Holding power and the weight of the anchor is only as good as its ability to penetrate the bottom. Most anchors can easily penetrate hard sand bottoms, for example, which offer consistent holding power. If muddier conditions, for example, the anchor must penetrate to reach a harder secondary bottom material. And lastly, the anchor weight is more important than design in delicate grassy bottoms.
Stowage In Roller And Lockers
Plow and scoop anchors have curved shanks that self-launch much more easily on your bow roller, and are the most common choice if youre using a windlass and want remote-control operation.
Scope: The ratio of the rode length to the height is critical for safe anchoring. More scope is generally better. This example shows about a 4:1 scope.
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Understanding The Dangers Of Anchoring
In my home state of Idaho, 3 people in two separate incidents have died in the last 6 years while trying to anchor a boat. In one of the cases, a man got his leg tied around the anchor line and then tossed in the anchorpulling him to the bottom and drowning him. In the other case, a family was on a small craft and threw out the anchor line which was too short. The boat flipped and was held upside down by the anchor which hadnt reached the bottom.
The Tampa Bay Times reports that 2 NFL football players and a college football player died when improperly anchoring their boat. The anchor was stuck on the bottom 120 feet below and was unretrievable. Having lost an anchor the previous weekend that was unretrievable, the group fought hard to retrieve. They decided to tie the anchor to the stern of the boat, which is unsafe as it is not as sturdy or a platform as the bow. They then proceeded to gun the motor in hopes of pulling the anchor free, but anyone with knowledge of this type of anchor knows that this would only drive the anchor further into the ground. The force flipped the 18 boat and left the four boaters in 65-degree water. Even with life jackets, three of the men died of hypothermia and were lost at sea. One survived.
In 2013, the Home Times reports another anchoring death when a mans hand got caught in an anchor chain as the motor for the anchor was activated, dragging him down to his death.
Jl Marine Power Pole Pro Anchor
Estimated Price: $1,600
JL Marine Power-Pole anchors come in 4 foot, 6 foot, and 8-foot anchor depth sizes. Color options include a white or black powder-coated finish. This anchor system weighs about 26.3 pounds. The Everflex spike comes with a lifetime warranty. Apps can be downloaded to control the anchor settings from your phone.
Power pole anchors are popular with bass fishermen and people that commonly fish in shallow water. This anchor deploys quietly at the push of a button.
Boat Anchor Gear
Selecting the anchor in an anchor setup is only half the battle. The appropriate size rope, chain, thimbles, shackles, and retrieval system needs to be selected. There are many factors that go into these options such as cost, size of the boat, max anchoring depth and ease of use. Letâs now look at the other gear needed for proper anchor setups.
Braided Nylon Anchor Rope
Norestar Double Braided Nylon Anchor Rope comes in diameters of 3/8, 1/2, 5/8, and 3/4 inch. It comes in lengths of 150 feet, 200 feet, 250 feet, and 300 feet. The end of the rope comes professionally spliced to a thimble. The thimble allows the anchor the be easily attached to the anchor chain with a shackle. The thimble can not be used with a windlass setup. For windlass setups, the rope needs to be spliced directly onto the chain.
3 Strand Anchor Rope
Anchor Buoy With Anchor Ball Ring
Best Boat Anchors Summary
Frequently Asked Questions
What anchor is best for sand?
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How To Anchor A Boat
Successfully setting an anchor has a lot to do with communication between the person steering and the person deploying the anchor at the bow. Because of the noise of the engine and wind, we use a system of hand signals to communicate as we set the anchor. Some crews like to use walkie-talkies. Our anchoring system for setting a boat anchor is:
- Bowman drops the anchor in an appropriate location , while drifting backwards slowly
- Helmsman places marker on GPS and Ipad anchor alarm
- Bowman lets out 3:1 scope
- Helmsman reverses slowly until anchor sets
- Helmsman increases RPM to 1800 and hold for five to ten seconds
- Bowman lets out remainder of rode, depending on the anchorage and weather conditions.
Of course if you plan on sailing onto your anchor there are a few extra steps.
The Plow Pontoon Anchor
The low center of gravity and the self-righting geometry of a plow anchor means it will set nearly immediately. When the current catches the plow, it buries itself for a solid hook. The plows shape allows it to reset easily should the wind or tide swing the boat. Plow anchors are well suited for rocky bottoms, weeds, and grass, but they are not recommended for soft bottoms. This anchors high holding power makes it ideal for windy conditions on open water.
The plow anchor was improved with the introduction of the Delta anchor as described in our top picks.
- The anchor has two flukes, but relies on its weight to hold
- Digs right in and holds firmly
- Sets fast and has good resistance to wind movement
- Ideal for use with a remote windlass
- Best suited for larger pontoons
- Bottom types: designed to hold in a wide-variety of bottom conditions
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Our Top Pontoon Anchor Picks For 2021
Our picks for the best pontoon anchors for 2021 are based on the chart above and assume a pontoon boat size of 20-27, winds speed of 30 MPH, and shoot for an anchor weight of 14 LBS or more. These assumptions should work well for most pontoons in most boating conditions. If you have more specific needs, youll find other suggestions utilizing different anchor types and sizes further down the post.
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Bruce Or Claw Boat Anchor
A Bruce anchor is commonly called a claw anchor. This is my favorite type of anchor and is one of the most popular anchors for fishing boats and recreational boats. I have used this anchor to keep a 40-foot dive boats in place in sandy bottoms in the Florida keys. If the anchor was placed in loose sand near a beach the anchor would slide and not set occasionally. If there was some grass or structure to the bottom the anchor would catch and hold well. This is also the anchor I used in Alaska last season to anchor in around 400 feet of water to fish for halibut. I did not have any problems with the anchor sliding while setting or coming loose once on anchor.
Bruce or Claw Anchor Galvanized Steel
Price Range: $36-$230
This is a galvanized steel claw boat anchor that comes in sizes from 4.4 pounds to 44 pounds. The 32-foot boat I was driving in Alaska had a 22-pound anchor. The anchor was rigged with 75 feet of anchor chain attached to 600 feet of 5/8 inch anchor rope. This worked to anchor in 400 feet of water in high seas and strong currents.
For average anchoring conditions, I would recommend getting a 6-pound anchor for boats under 16 feet, an 11-pound anchor for boats 17 feet â 22 feet, a 16.5-pound anchor for boats from 23-25 feet, a 22-pound anchor for boats 26-32 feet and a 33-pound anchor for boats 33-40 feet. The best size will vary based on the boat weight and intended anchoring conditions.
Bruce or Claw Anchor Stainless Steel
Price Range: $99 â $2,300
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Option : Fluke Anchor
Works best in sand or gravel on the bottom
The purpose of a fluke style anchor is for the arms to dig down into the bottom and grab a hold so your boat doesnt drift at all. They dont necessarily have to be incredibly heavy, which is a nice benefit. In fact, a 15-pound fluke style anchor can often hold even a big 30 pontoon boat in calmer conditions, or a 24 pontoon boat even in rougher conditions.
When selecting a fluke style anchor, keep a few things on mind. First, choose your fluke based on the size as the primary consideration and weight only as a secondary consideration. The weight only does a little to hold the boat. Weight is really only necessary to drive the arms into the ground enough to get a good hold. So if you boat on muddy bottoms, you may find that you dont need as heavy of an anchor as if you boat over sand, which needs more weight to drive the arms into.
Not all anchors are equal. While a fluke style anchor is, for the most part, a fairly generic product, not all perform quite the same. The Fortress anchor seems to stand out even among other fluke style anchors with that extra bit of holding power.
If you tend to toss your anchor beneath your pontoon seats, you may want to invest in this storage bag as well.
Works best in muddy river/lake bottoms or light vegetation.
If youll mostly be in mud , then its tough to beat a box anchor. Box anchors work by maximizing the amount of surface in contact with mud to get a firm hold.
Factors To Choosing The Right Anchor Type
With a large variety of options, you are probably thinking: so, which one do I choose?
Most boaters agree that you should have two different styles of anchors. This will allow you to use one based on where you are and what you need.
This also allows you to set multiple anchors if needed. This can help with crowded areas or extreme weather. Setting an anchor off the front and back of your vessel can reduce your swinging range when that is important.
There are 3 factors to look at when picking the right anchor for you.
One major factor to look at is the bottom of the body of water you plan to boat in.
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Anchor Size And Rode Guide
Below are some tables to help you choose the correct sized anchor for your pontoon boat.
The first table refers to the weight of the anchor you need and is based on the weight of your boat.
Just bear in mind that knowing the type of marine environment you will regularly boat in will go a long way in helping you choose the correct anchor size and type. If you take your pontoon boat into areas with strong wind or strong current then you will obviously need an anchor with more holding power than if you boat only in still water.
As I already mentioned I always keep 2 anchors onboard any larger boat that I am in and I make sure each is a different anchor type with a different weight just in case I need to change the anchor or double anchor the boat.
Anchor size guide
Please take into consideration everything I have said in this article and do not just solely rely on the table below to make a decision. Wind and current, as well as the type of bottom you are anchoring in, are all very important factors that should influence your choice of anchor size!
Manufacturer Recommendations And Bottom Conditions:
If you find it difficult to determine the perfect anchor, you should always refer to the anchor manufacturers recommendations and specs before buying.
Its also a terrific idea to consider more than one anchor, the main one at the bow and a smaller one to set the stern.
Its also important to note, if youre unfamiliar with the ground conditions in the area you are boating in, it will be important to do a little research and map out the area before settling on one anchor or another.
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Choose The Right Anchor Size
After you determine what type of anchor you need for where you are going, you will want to make sure you apply the size charts listed under each anchor.
This is to make sure you pick the proper weight for your particular boat.
When in doubt with any anchor I mentioned above, opt for the heavier option. This will provide more stability and security, no matter what conditions you might encounter.
Some boaters like to have one lighter anchor for calm conditions and a more robust anchor for overnight anchoring.
The final thing to consider is what your anchor should be made from.
What Size Anchor Do I Need
When it comes to choosing an anchor, bigger is almost always better. Bigger anchors have more strength to resist breaking, occupy more of a surface area to resist pullout and will have more weight to penetrate deeper. Go with the biggest anchor you can get by with for the size of your watercraft the last thing you need when rough weather arrives is an inadequate anchor that doesn’t do the job.
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Anchor Types For Expected Bottom Conditions:
Lets take a look at a few different types of anchors and the ground conditions they are commonly suited for:
|Anchor Type||Why This is Best|
|Danforth||The design of the two large triangular flukes joined to the stock enables the flukes to position themselves to the sea bottom at an angle for maximum holding power.||
|Plow||When deployed, it first lands on its side and then rights itself while it, like the name indicates, plows into the seafloor.||
|Mushroom||The silt from the bottom builds up over the anchor, resulting in extreme holding power.||
|Grapnel||Holding power comes from hooking onto another object.
Although not the most reliable, it can create immense holding power. This can also make retrieving the anchor difficult.