How to Anchor and Secure a Pontoon Boat at a Sandbar

How to Anchor and Secure a Pontoon Boat at a Sandbar

So, you are planning to go to your first sandbar but are unsure how you’ll anchor your pontoon boat at a sandbar. 

Or maybe you’ve done it several times but still haven’t nailed it when it comes to anchoring your pontoon boat at a sandbar. 

If you love boating, cruising on a pontoon boat is a great way to entertain yourself and your friends or family. 

However, you will need to get out of the boat at some point to stretch a little bit or even grab something to eat. 

With that said, it’s important to learn how to anchor your pontoon boat safely to ensure that you don’t damage your vessel trying to take a break. 

The good thing about pontoons is that they are easy to anchor compared to other fiberglass and gel-coated v-hull boats. You can easily glide right on up to a party or camp whenever you want. 

Even so, you need to keep an eye on the pontoon boat when tying it. Here, I’ll provide some essential tips on how to anchor and secure your pontoon boat at a sandbar safely. 

How to Anchor and Secure a Pontoon Boat at a Sandbar (2)

If you spend a lot of time on your pontoon boat and want to do more while on the water, you need to learn how to beach your vessel safely. 

Many boaters have different ideas on how to anchor a pontoon boat on a beach, but not all work for everyone. 

Some pontoon boat owners use fiberglass anchor rods and poles, while others swear by slide anchor shore spikes. 

Let’s have a deeper look at each option to help you know what will work best for your pontoon boat:

Fiberglass Anchor Rods and Poles

I haven’t used fiberglass anchor rods and poles in the past, but many pontoon boat owners use them when harboring at sandbars. 

There are many commercially-made anchor rods and poles for sandbars and shallow waters to buy, but you can still make your own anchors if you have some DIY skills. 

If you are in search of a strong and solid anchor and don’t want to make one for your pontoon boat, the Titan Shallow Water Stick Anchor doesn’t disappoint. It comes with a fiberglass handle and an aluminum tip so you can easily screw it in the sand. 

Slide Anchor Shore Spike for Pontoon Boats

Slide anchor shore spikes are a great way to tie a pontoon boat at a sandbar.

A high-quality sand anchor like the Slide Anchor Shore Spike Loss-Larger will provide a high holding power and keep your pontoon boat safe at the beach. 

It will screw through any type of sandbar and let you have fun at the beach with peace of mind. You can use two anchors for your pontoon’s front and rear sides to prevent excessive sway on stronger winds. 

How to Beach a Pontoon Boat: Step-by-Step Guide

How to Beach a Pontoon Boat Step-by-Step Guide

Step 1: Lower Your Speed When Approaching the Sandbar

When approaching the sandbar, you should reduce speed and be more cautious as there could be larger rocks, huge floating logs, or even crocodiles beneath the water. 

These obstructions cannot only cause dents and damages on your boat, but can also scare you when the boat hits them suddenly. 

If possible, you can run aground before tying up your pontoon boat. 

Step 2: Create a Clear Path

When beaching your pontoon boat, you should be certain that there are no obstructions that could hinder the parking process or ruin your vessel. 

Look around to see if there are any swimmers around to avoid hurting anyone in the water. 

If you are pulling up into a place you’ve never been to, you also need to be extra careful on the water as there may be sharp objects like rocks and broken beer bottles. 

Ideally, have your water shoes on to steer clear of cuts that could lead to an emergency trip to the hospital.

Be sure to confirm that no kids are playing in the water. Keep in mind that kids love to dive, fetch coins and catch fish in the water, and they may be unseen the first time you check. 

And if you are towing someone with your pontoon boat, ensure that they are off the rope before pulling into the beach as the line could tangle with the boat’s propellers. 

Step 3: Reduce Your Draft

As you sail through the shallow water near the beach, you need to tilt the engine a bit forward and let your pontoon propeller take in some air. 

Then drop the propeller and trim down again for a few inches. About three inches are enough to let the engine move a little bit when needed. 

Slowing down and reducing your draft will also protect your engine by ensuring that it doesn’t suck any mud or sand as you drift towards the sandbar. 

If you have several passengers on the boat, you can ask them to move toward the stern as you drift near the shore to minimize the weight on the front side of the boat. 

Step 4: Pull the Boat Closer to Shore

After reducing your draft, the next thing to do is physically pull your pontoon boat closer to the sandbar. 

You can jump off the boat and do it yourself manually or have a friend or family member do it for you if you have them on the boat. 

Once you step off the front-most-deck, you should be able to touch the floor under the water. If you can’t touch the ground yet, continue pulling closer. 

Step 5: Set Your Sand Anchor

While you may assume that calm waters on the shore will cause no harm to your boat, I recommend setting an anchor to keep your vessel safe. 

Keep in mind that strong winds or a storm can come from nowhere and sway your boat and push it far away in the water. Then you’ll have a long swim to do with your crew to retrieve your pontoon. 

The best way to secure your boat at a sandbar is by tying a taut line to a tree on land, if there is any, or burying a sand anchor into the sand. 

If you don’t have a sand bar anchor yet and are looking to buy one for your pontoon boat, you may want to try an auger anchor like the Lite 36 Pontoon Sand Anchor. This auger anchor works perfectly for shallow water, beach, and sandbar.  

It uses military-grade composite material with stainless steel to ensure that it’s strong enough to secure your boat and prevent it from getting away in the wind. 

Make sure there is a bow anchor and a stern anchor to keep the pontoon boat safe in case of strong wind, waves, or wakes from other watercraft in the water. 

Two anchors will also ensure that your pontoon boat doesn’t sway excessively as you carry on with your activities at the sandbar. 

If you put one anchor on dry land and assume that your boat will be fine in strong winds, the anchor may pull out, and your pontoon may float away from the sandbar when you are not watching.

Nonetheless, if you intend to tie one side of your pontoon boat, do it at the bow as it’s than the rear side. 

Step 6: Add Fenders to Secure the Boat 

If you are harboring on an overcrowded island, you may need to add fenders on the boat’s square rails for extra security and peace of mind. 

When choosing the right fenders for your pontoon boat, you don’t want to overlook the quality if you want to have a worry-free experience at the sandbar. 

Pick the best quality pontoon boat fenders of the appropriate size to protect your boat’s hull. Depending on how large your pontoon boat is, you will need at least three fenders. 

How to Anchor and Secure a Pontoon Boat Overnight

How to Anchor and Secure a Pontoon Boat Overnight

All of the above tips come in handy when beaching and securing a pontoon boat overnight. 

Whether you want to camp or have a pontoon party overnight at a sand bar, you should ensure that your boat’s anchors have adequate holding power. 

Before you pull your anchor lines and toss them into the water, consider the above points and slow down to ensure that you stop at the right spot. 

Be sure to find an area where your anchors will have the most holding power to keep your boat safe. Otherwise, strong winds, tides, or unexpected storms may carry your boat away from the beach when you are not on the lookout. 

You should also pay attention to the sandbar’s details, especially if it’s your first time in the area. You don’t want to simply pull off and set an anchor on a risky beach. 

Ideally, find a safe beaching spot and anchor your pontoon boat overnight so you can easily start the motor and continue with your boating trip in the morning. 

How to Unbeach Your Pontoon Boat

How to Unbeach Your Pontoon Boat

When it’s time to go after having a great time at the sandbar, you may also wonder what you have to do to safely ‘unbeach the pontoon boat. 

All you have to do is have your passengers get back into the boat using the foredeck gate. But this means that you’ll have to clean the boat carpet and sweep sand off the vinyl. 

If you don’t want to have to clean sand from the boat afterward, you can have them use the pontoon ladder off the backside. This will ensure that any sand is washed away in the water before they get back on board. 

Once your passengers arrive on board, ask them to sit towards the back of the boat to minimize the weight on the bow before you trim the engine back down and sail away.

If you have a heavy load or fishing gear on the boat, you should also keep them toward the boat’s rear when trimming the engine back down.



Q: What Anchor is Best for Sand?

A: The best anchor for sand is one that uses a shore spike or screw, as explained above. Other common anchors for boats like fluke and delta may not hold better on the sand. 

Alternatively, you can use two anchors of different styles for extra security against strong wind or a large tide as you have fun at the beach. 

The best anchor size will depend on the size of your boat, the water body you are boating in, and how long you intend to anchor. 

You’ll need a larger and more sturdy anchor when harboring a large boat in deeper water for more than a few days. 

At the same time, a small but solid anchor made of quality materials like stainless steel may be enough when anchoring at a sand bar for just a few hours.

Q: How Do You Anchor at a Sandbar?

A: To anchor at a sandbar, you need to have the right anchor and line to provide enough holding power against the wind and waves. 

When drifting near the sandbar you intend to anchor, you should slow down and watch out for other boats nearby. 

Then drop your anchor line on both sides of the boat to set two anchors in the front and rear to keep the boat stable. You don’t want it to sway excessively or float away with the strong winds as you rest. 

Final Thoughts

Final Thoughts

Anchoring a pontoon boat allows you to take full advantage of your vessel. You can camp, swim, and enjoy a leisurely afternoon at the beach. 

While you could simply drop any type of anchor and rest off the boat, harboring your boat incorrectly can be dangerous to you and other boaters on the water. 

To ensure that your boat stays stable and safe at a sandbar, you need to invest in the right sand anchor and pay attention to the points explained in this article. 

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Lisa Hayden-Matthews

Lisa Hayden-Matthews

An avid Skier, bike rider, triathlon enthusiast, amateurish beach volleyball player and nature lover who has never lost a dare! I manage the overall Editorial section for the magazine here and occasionally chip in with my own nature photographs, when required.

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