The 3 Best Pontoon Anchors for Any Conditions

Anchoring seems simpler than it is.

When you were in a canoe, just throwing over a brick tied to the canoe was plenty to keep you from drifting.

In a large pontoon boat that catches waves and is pushed by the wind, anchoring must be done properly or you’re sure to drift. whether you’re beaching your pontoon at party island or out in deeper ocean waters, you need a proper anchor!

The 3 Best Pontoon Anchors for Any Conditions

IMAGE PRODUCT DETAILS
Fluke AnchorFluke Anchorbtbtbl-table__imageFortress Marine Anchors - Fortress FX-16
  • Rustproof aluminum-magnesium alloy
  • Easily assembles and disassembles
  • Used and tested by US Navy and US Coast Guard
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Box AnchorBox Anchorbtbtbl-table__imageSlide Anchor
  • Best for use in muddy lakes or rivers
  • Comes with its ventilated storage bag
  • Perfect for offshore, sport boats and cabin cruisers
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Grapnel Style AnchorGrapnel Style Anchorbtbtbl-table__imageSeachoice 41030 Folding Grapnel Anchor
  • For rocky bottoms
  • Made of malleable iron
  • Ideal for use by small watercraft and dinghies
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No anchor is a “one size fits all” but you should be able to get one style of anchor that works well in the conditions where you usually boat, and find it to work well every time.

I did some digging across the internet and found tons of different recommendations from pontoon boat captains. Turns out there are three that are very well regarded, and one of them will surely be a match for the conditions where you usually launch your toon. In addition to anchors themselves, a good pontoon anchor winch comes in handy also!

Option 1: Fluke Anchor (By Fortress)

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Fortress Marine Anchors - Fortress FX-16 (10 lbs Anchor / 33-38' Boats)
9 Reviews
Fortress Marine Anchors - Fortress FX-16 (10 lbs Anchor / 33-38' Boats)
  • The Fortress Anchor Advantage: A hardened High-Tech, rustproof aluminum-magnesium alloy anchor.
  • For boats of 33-38’ feet, Fortress FX-16 Anchor has superior holding power at a fraction of the weight . Easily assembles and disassembles for convenient storage.
  • Highest rating in over 20 independent tests worldwide. Over 1 million+ people have joined the Fortress Marine Anchor family.
  • FORTRESS ANCHORS: offers a 100% Hassle-Free Lifetime Warranty, and a product made in the USA.
  • FORTRESS ANCHORS: provides a product tested and used by the U.S Navy and U.S Coast Guard.

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 doesn’t drift at all. They don’t 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 don’t 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 (Available on Amazon) as well.

AnchorSuit Boat Anchor Storage Bag, fits Danforth & Fortress Fluke-Style...
40 Reviews
AnchorSuit Boat Anchor Storage Bag, fits Danforth & Fortress Fluke-Style...
  • AnchorSuit is a cool and unique new boating accessory designed to mitigate boat damage and injury by softening all impact points of the Danforth and Fortress anchors. It silences nuisance anchor rattle while underway, maintains anchor gear and provides a sleek fit and finish to your Pontoon Boat, Sportfishing Boat, Powerboat or Sailboat.
  • Thick neoprene lined with heavy duty reinforcement fabric.Fully functional carry handle reinforced with stainless steel grommets. Enough room to stow 12' of rode chain on the inside. Provides a nice fit and finish to the interior of your yacht or boat.
  • Unique new boating accessories always make a great gift for the boater in your life.
  • SIZING: Small fits Danforth 3-5lb utility anchor / Medium fits Fortress FX-7 and 8-9lb Danforth Anchor / Large fits the Fortress FX-11 and the 12-14lb Danforth Anchor / X-Large fits the Fortress FX-16 and the 16lb - 20LB Danforth Anchor / XX-Large fits the Fortress FX23 and the 25lb Danforth Anchor

Option 2: Box Anchor

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Slide Anchor - Box Anchor for Offshore Boat Anchoring, Galvanized, Large Size
392 Reviews
Slide Anchor - Box Anchor for Offshore Boat Anchoring, Galvanized, Large Size
  • MORE CONTROL OF PLACEMENT - Regardless of the water conditions, this marine anchor will set into any bottom condition with NO need for mechanical power from your boat.
  • TOSS IT IN AND RELAX - Simply kill the engine, toss the anchor overboard, and it will set within 1 foot of it's landing.
  • EASY RETRIEVAL - Just pull the line to bring the boat over the top of the anchor and the lack of upward facing surface area will allow the anchor to pop right off the bottom.
  • COMPACT STORAGE - The best part of this powerful anchor is that it will fold flat for quick and easy storage. Simply release the stainless steel stabilizing arm and pack away in its ventilated storage bag. Storage bag color may vary.
  • WATERCRAFT COMPATIBLE - This Lage Galvanized Box Anchor is perfect for offshore/sport boats measuring up to 40 feet, and cabin cruisers up to 32 feet.

Works best in muddy river/lake bottoms or light vegetation.

If you’ll mostly be in mud (lakes and rivers), then it’s tough to beat a box anchor. Box anchors work by maximizing the amount of surface in contact with mud to get a firm hold.

It is essential with all anchors, but especially important with box anchors to make sure you have enough line out. If your line is too short, the arms will not have the correct angle necessary for digging into the ground and a proper hold will not be achieved. You should have 5 times more line out than you are deep. So if you are in 20 feet of water, you should have out 100 feet of rope.

If I could only pick one anchor, it would be this box anchor linked to above. Very well made and gets excellent reviews.

Option 3: Grapnel Style Anchor

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SEACHOICE 41030 Folding Grapnel Anchor – for Small Craft and Dinghies – 9...
112 Reviews
SEACHOICE 41030 Folding Grapnel Anchor – for Small Craft and Dinghies – 9...
  • Dependable anchor can be folded up to reduce its size for easy storage when not in use
  • Versatile anchor can be locked in either the open or closed position
  • Rugged anchor is made of malleable iron
  • Heavily galvanized for long-term corrosion-resistant performance
  • Ideal for use by small watercraft and dinghies

Works best on a rocky bottom.

Rocky bottoms require a specific anchor. With many boating situations such as mud, sand, and vegetation, you may find that one anchor will do fine in each of the conditions. With rock bottoms, however, it really is best to get a grapnel style anchor. Some pontoon boat captains use a fluke style anchor on rock bottoms with good results, but others report it not working at all.

The good news is that this type of anchor is quite inexpensive usually, and it will fold up to be stored neatly in the boat in much less space.

The grapnel anchor has at least 4 large arms which reach out to grab a firm hold of rock below. Any grapnel style anchor may take a few feet of drift to find hold on a rock, but once it’s set, it’s probably the most secure hold you’ll find from any anchor.

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 anchor—pulling 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 hadn’t 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 man’s hand got caught in an anchor chain as the motor for the anchor was activated, dragging him down to his death.

Anchoring is not an inherently dangerous activity, but incidents such as these prove that there is always need for caution when boating. Be careful out there.

Comments

  1. Thank you so much for this useful information. We purchased our first boat, a pontoon this year… I am looking for an anchor but got a little concerned of the dangers after reading your review. I will take extra precautions when we get out on the lake and using the anchor. I will prob purchase the fluke anchor.

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