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A houseboat is essentially a house that is a boat. It even resembles a house in its structural features.

Many people who own houseboats like to beach their boats, and will either use a stake or an anchor to do so.

In this article, we’ll discuss why it is important to use an anchor with your houseboat, how to use an anchor, any laws requiring specific anchors, the best anchor for houseboats, and the anchors to avoid.

At the end, we give our thoughts on three anchors that we think would be most suitable for houseboats.

Why use an anchor with a houseboat?

It is important to use an anchor with your houseboat to ensure that your houseboat does not drift away.

A houseboat that is not anchored, or properly anchored, can cause damage to itself, and the vessels, environment, and people around it.

Not to mention, the fines for destruction can be very costly.

It is much easier, safer, and more economical to simply anchor your houseboat, which you can do by using an anchor or a stake.

Many people choose to either stake or anchor their houseboats to the shore.

This is done by hammering the stakes into the ground, or by digging a hole and burying the anchor.

How to use an anchor with a houseboat

It is very easy to anchor a houseboat. The first thing you need to do is find a sandy beach and approach it with caution.

Be aware of any surrounding obstacles both above and below the water, such as rocks, shoals, and coral heads.

Make sure that your desired anchoring location is protected from the elements, like strong winds and rough waves or currents.

Once you have picked out your spot, you can motor the boat up to the shore, but be careful to not beach the boat.

Instead, the boat should be just far enough away to where it will not create a divot on the shore.

The last thing you want to have happen is your houseboat gets stuck on the beach.

Once you have safely positioned your houseboat, you can follow either of these steps depending on if you want to stake or anchor your houseboat to the beach.

Staking

Step 1: Find two suitable ‘anchors’ on shore, like a rock, sandstone, or a compacted part of the beach. The anchors need to be positioned at a 45 degree angle off of the stern cleats for maximum control and security.

Step 2: Hammer the stake into the anchor or ground so that the top of the stake is angled away from the boat.

Step 3: Check the lines that run from the stake to the boat, ensuring there is not too much slack and that the lines are, in fact, tied to the boat.

Step 4: Regularly check on the condition of the stakes in the ground, and be prepared to adjust the slack in the anchor lines according to the new water levels.

Step 5: Leave the beach better than you found it by filling up the holes.

Anchoring

Step 1: Dig two 2-foot holes positioned at a 45 degree angle off the stern cleats.

Step 2: Position the anchors in each of the holes so that the points face down and towards the boat, and then bury the anchors.

Step 3: Check the lines that run from the stake to the boat, ensuring there is not too much slack and that the lines are in fact tied to the boat.

Step 4: Regularly check on the condition of the anchors in the ground, and be prepared to adjust the slack according to the new water levels.

Step 5: Leave the beach better than you found it by filling up the holes.

Laws requiring use of a specific type of anchor for houseboats

Some places do not allow people to stake their houseboats to the beach.

This is because the stakes can cause damage to the natural resources, especially if it requires drilling holes for the stakes.

If you do not know the local rules and regulations, it is almost always better (and safer) to err on the side of caution, and to deploy anchors rather than stakes.

Anchors are just as effective, if not more so, compared to stakes, and they cause little to no damage to the surrounding environment.

It is a good idea to check with the local wildlife association or park rules and regulations to learn more about the laws in that area.

Types of anchors that work well for houseboats

The most popular houseboat anchor types are as follows:

  • Claw Anchor
  • Fluke Anchor
  • Fisherman’s Anchor
  • Mushroom Anchor
  • Plough Anchor
  • Stakes

The claw anchor works very well in muddy, sandy, and rocky bottoms, and is therefore a popular choice among houseboaters.

While setting the anchor can be a little difficult, once it is set, it is very reliable, even in bad weather.

The fluke anchor does not work well in rocky bottoms, but is great for sand and mud.

These anchors are lightweight, inexpensive, and fairly reliable.

Overall, a good choice for a houseboat.

The fisherman’s anchor is great for rocky and grassy bottoms because of its weight.

A good rule of thumb is choosing an anchor that weight 2 pounds for every foot of your vessel.

For instance, if your houseboat is 20 feet in length, then you will want a 40 pound anchor.

Mushroom anchors look like mushrooms, and they work because of how heavy they are.

Normally, however, mushroom anchors stay permanently anchored and act more as a mooring anchor.

They can be difficult to lift out of the water, and are therefore not ideal anchors for exploring new areas.

The plough anchor is ideal for sandy, grassy, and muddy bottoms.

They are great to use in bad weather because the anchor continues to plough into the ground.

These anchors are called plough anchors because they looks like the ploughs that people once used to till fields.

Stakes can be much easier to use because you do not have to dig a hole.

However, they do not work in all types of soil sediments, and are only reliable if you are anchoring in no wind, waves, or current.

Types of anchors to avoid with houseboats

Some anchors are better than others, in that they are safer, or less damaging to the environent.

For instance, you should try to avoid using stakes, as they can destroy the surrounding natural landscape.

Not to mention, they are generally less reliable than anchors.

Anchors are typically heavier, bulkier, and can handle torque, and tug and pull much better than stakes.

Mushroom anchors are also not ideal, as they are really only just a weight and cannot dig into the ground.

Keep in mind that certain anchors are much better suited for certain bottoms.

You should use only anchors that are safe to use in the sediment recommended by that anchor.

Best Anchor for Houseboats

If you’re looking to anchor your houseboat, there are a number of products that may work well for your needs.

It’s important to always consult an industry professional and follow manufacturer’s guidelines carefully before using any new product.

The following products may work well for your houseboat.

Five Oceans Hot Dipped Galvanized Traditional Danforth Style Fluke Anchor, 16 LBS

This anchor is designed for boats between 25-32 feet. It is a great choice for reliable sets because of the ability to control the shank/fluke angle.

It works well in sand and mud bottoms, and has a pivoting fluke.

View at Amazon to learn more about how this product might work for you.

Pros:

  • Made from high quality hot dipped galvanized steel

Cons:

  • Not good for grassy, rocky, or clay bottoms

Norestar Stainless Steel Delta/Wing Boat Anchor

This anchor ranges in weight from 13 pounds to 110 pounds. It has great holding power in muddy, sandy, rocky, and even coral conditions (do not anchor in coral).

It is a one-piece design, which makes it very strong compared to other anchors.

The company offers a lifetime warranty against breakage.

View at Amazon for more information on how this product might work for you.

Pros

  • sturdy, strong, reliable
  • great in many different sediments

Lewmar Galvanised Delta Anchor

This is another heavy-duty anchor that comes in 14 pound, 22 pound, and 35 pound options.

It is made from high grade manganese steel, and is self launching.

In addition, it has a Lloyd’s Register Type Approval.

View at Amazon for more information on how this product might work for you.

Pros

  • self launching
  • durable

Cons

  • high price tag

Anchoring a houseboat is a really simple activity and but should not be taken lightly.

If done with care and the proper equipment, very little can go wrong.

It is important, however, to continue to check the anchor and the anchor lines after the anchor is set because changes in weather can weaken the hold.

Featured image credit: Shutterstock.com Image ID: 363973337