Everyone loves a day on the water. But a big part of the excitement of a boat comes from exploring new land or getting out of the boat for a sandbar party. Before the party can start, knowing how to safely anchor your ski, runabout, or pontoon boat at a sandbar is a must. Here are 5 tips to help you safely anchor at a Sandbar:
1) Consider the Tide
Knowing the scheduled low and high tides helps novices and experts alike. Boat anchoring can be simple at low tide since the water will only get deeper throughout the day. However, boaters must be more cautious when approaching a sandbar at high tide. Being too closely anchored to the sandbar at high tide will require constant attention to guarantee that the boat does not get stranded in the sand as the water slowly disappears. No one wants to end up high and dry when the tide goes out!
2) Use the Correct Type of Anchor
Anchoring a boat requires a knowledge of current conditions at the sandbar. For a sandbar that is mostly sand, go with a fortress anchor, which allows easier handling and more efficient digging into the sand. A grapple or rock anchor is better suited for a rockier sandbar. Boaters can take extra precautions by always having an anchor of each type on board. One never knows when they may lose an anchor, need a second anchor, or need to change them out.
3) Pay Attention to Other Boats Nearby
Seeing how and where other boaters have anchored can help smooth the process of anchoring at a sandbar. Little boats and flats boats will likely be in the shallow area of the water, while all larger boats will be in the deeper areas. Scoping out these other boats can help a boater gauge where their boat will best fit in comparison.
4) Avoid High Speeds and Wake
Slowing down or approaching the sandbar at idle helps a boater ensure their keel will not get stuck and their boat will not run aground. Additionally, coming toward the shore at no more than 5 MPH allows every party more safety, as the boater avoids creating wake and waves that could smash into other boats or people.
5) Be Conscious of the Bow and Stern
A crucial step in anchoring is setting the boat in the correct position. As mentioned, being mindful of how other boaters position their boats will provide insight into how the bow and stern should face. A stern that is exposed to repetitive waves can be damaged. Keeping the bow pointed towards the open water and the stern toward the sandbar is typically the best position.
The anchor should be thrown once the boater is sure of the position their boat will be sitting in once they are holding. Always put the bow anchor out first before using the transom anchor if using two anchors. Throwing the transom anchor first is more difficult to set and will typically cause the boat to spin and drift over the anchor line.