When you need your anchor, or you’ve just finished using it, you’ll need to haul your anchor across your boat. This can be a lot physical work, which is especially bad for those with bad backs or knees. This makes the process of anchoring very inconvenient and tiresome. Pontoon anchor winches are the solution to our problems. These are amazing pontoon boat accessories which make everyday boating a whole lot easier.
Regardless of whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned veteran, you’ll greatly benefit from an anchor winch. Once you’ve had an anchor winch, you’ll find that it’s very difficult to go back to hauling your anchor over the side of your boat and lifting it out yourself. They come with many different benefits and advantages, which I’ll explain in a moment.
Not all anchors are the same, they come in a variety of different designs. There are anchors which are designed particularly for pontoons. You’ll need to ensure that you purchase an electric anchor winch for pontoon boats. In this guide I’ll be reviewing a few of the best on the market to help you identify which is best for you!
Benefits of Pontoon Anchor Winches
As I had mentioned previously, there are many great benefits of having an electric anchor winch for your pontoon boat. I’ll try to touch on these benefits in this section.
Firstly, they are almost essential for those with bad knees or back. If you have suffered from such injuries in the past, then you really shouldn’t be putting pressure on your body by lifting and carrying an anchor. They aren’t light for obvious reasons, they must be heavy to keep your boat securely in place.
Another benefit would have to be the convenience that they offer. Even if you’re completely healthy, it can still be a chore to anchor. An anchor winch essentially does most of the work for you.
And who doesn’t love something doing the work for you?
You could use your anchor without having to stand up. You could literally stay seated by the winch and have it do all the work for you. It takes barely any effort. Life has never been easier as a boater!
As you probably know, your anchor is likely to get covered in weeds and other junk and you usually must get all of this off before you drag it into your boat. Another benefit of a pontoon boat anchor winch is that you don’t necessarily have to do this every time. This is because with the use of a winch, your anchor won’t be stored on deck – it will be stored in its own space outside of the boat.
Not only does this save you time and effort but it will help keep your boat clean. It will also save you space as you don’t have to store your anchor on deck.
Installation of Your Anchor Winch
The installation of an electric anchor for pontoon boats isn’t very difficult. There are many different resources online which can assist you. I find that videos are the best for me as I just must follow the steps which are taken in the video. Your winch will also likely come with instructions on how to install it.
Deciding on Placement
Firstly, you’ll need to find a good location to install the anchor winch onto your pontoon. The most appropriate place for your winch is most likely the front or rear of your boat. This is completely up to you, everyone has their own opinion as many people claim it’s more effective to install your anchor winch near your boats battery to prevent you from having to run a wire across your boat.
Installing Additional Ledges
This may not be a necessary step for you depending on your boat. However, if your boat doesn’t have a wide foredeck platform to install your anchor winch onto, then you may have to install additional ledges first.
You could purchase this accessory mount which will accommodate for an anchor winch and a grill. This is great for those who want the benefits of having an anchor winch but also love to have a good time. This frees up a lot of valuable desk space which can be used for other things.
This is a strong and durable mount, built from power-coated aluminium. Most definitely worth the money. There’s not really any drawbacks or disadvantages to this product. Highly recommended, and it also comes with warranty to keep you satisfied.
Another alternative would be an anchor ledge. This is the favored option for anchor winches. This is because you won’t have to drill any holes into your pontoons decking. Just like the accessory mount I had suggest, this product is also powder-coated. This means it’s durable but also lightweight.
An anchor ledge allows for more deck space which can be very useful. This will allow you to raise and lower your anchor from the console just like you would be able to in an expensive yacht. It provides a great deal of luxury for a low price.
The Best Pontoon Anchor Winches for Sale
In this section I’ll be reviewing five of the most popular pontoon anchor winches available for purchase. Though I’d recommend all the winches which will be mentioned later, some are better than others and I have my top pick. Most of the winches are electrical however I’ve included a manual winch for those who prefer a solid anchor reel.
An important thing to remember is that these anchor winches aren’t exclusively made for only pontoon boats. If you have another type of boat, then you should check out the product specification on Amazon to ensure it’s compatible with your boat.
You’ll also need to keep the weight of your anchor in mind. Most pontoon anchor winches are capable of accommodating for most anchors, this is only a problem if you have an abnormally heavy anchor. A typical anchor for pontoon boats will weigh from 10 and 35 lbs.
For some of these products you may have to purchase your own lines, ropes etc… It’s important that you understand you’re purchasing. In the reviews which I’ll provide, I’ll try my best to identify what comes with your purchase – but you should also read the product listing on Amazon before you purchase.
TOP PICK: TRAC Electric Anchor Winch
Without doubt, this must be my favourite anchor winch for pontoon boats. This electric anchor winch by Trac provides outstanding value for money. This is one of the most popular winches on the market so it’s possible to find resources on it all over the internet. There are many videos which explain the installation and maintenance process.
This anchor winch features an anti-reverse internal clutch which is very effective at preventing free-spooling. This is always a great feature to have on your winch as free-spooling could result in you losing your anchor. This winch has two finishes, for fresh water and salt water. The salt water finish will provide extra corrosion protection and added UV inhibitors. This makes the product suitable for any type of water you decide to boat on.
Another one of the best anchor winches for pontoons must be the Minn Kota Deckhand 40. This winch will save you8 a lot of time and effort just like most electric winches do. Though, this one has many great features and an amazing product specification. I’d recommend this product to anyone.
The winches universal David stows anchor horizontally which prevents the anchor from swimming. You use a remote switch to raise and lower your boats anchor, it couldn’t be much easier than this. Bear in mind that you’ll need a 12-volt battery which is not included in the Amazon purchase.
This is another great electric winch suitable for pontoon boats. As you can probably tell, TRAC design very high-quality products. Though it’s not my top pick, it’s still one of the best on the market. You honestly can’t go wrong with any of the products that I’ve put on this list.
This product has an AutoDeploy feature with automatically releases the rope required to hold the boat securely. The winch is button operated, there are three available; a up, down, and auto deploy button. The wireless remote is included in the purchase.
Though I’m a fan of electric anchor winches, some people prefer manual anchor reels. These are great as you don’t have to worry about your gears or motors breaking. These can be expensive to replace so manual reels are always great.
One thing which I really like about this winch is that you can stop the reel anywhere on the line. Whereas with most electric winches, you can’t land precisely where you want to on the line. For most this isn’t a problem, but the pros may notice the difference.
The installation is very simple and easy, anyone could do it. Bare in mind that hardware is not included in the purchase.
No matter what you’re doing, you should always ensure that your safety is your number one priority. This is especially so when you’re working with heavy objects. Anchors can be potentially dangerous if not operated properly.
Imagine the pain of having an anchor dropped on your foot!
Some anchors can be more dangerous than others. You’ll find that many types of anchors will have hinged shanks with sharp edges. These could cause serious injury if you don’t handle them correctly.
Pontoon anchor winches help prevent injuries and keep up safe. This is because, we don’t have to run the risk of dropping the anchor on ourselves whilst lifting/carrying it. It also keeps the anchor hanging from outside of the boat, rather than the inside of the boat. This not only saves us deck space but prevent anyone from stepping on one of it’s shanks.
Anchoring a Pontoon Boat
Okay, so now you have a pontoon boat anchor system in place, but what good is it if you don’t know how to actually use it?
In this section, I’ll be explaining how to set your anchor.
Firstly, you arrive to the location where you’d like to anchor. Now you want to determine the depth of the water. This will help you calculate the amount of rode you want to release.
According to the U.S Coast Guard, you should release 5-7x as much line as the water depth, including the distance from the water to your anchor winch.
Next, you should prepare your boat by positioning it so that its heading into the current. You also want to put your boat into idle and put it to a complete stop.
Slowly release your anchor into the water. If you release it too quickly, you risk tangling the line. Normally you’d throw it away from the boat but if you’ve got an electric anchor winch then you can operate the winch using it’s controls.
As you’re dropping your line, your pontoon may begin to drift backwards slowly, this works in our favor as it prevents the anchors chain from piling on top of it and not allowing the anchor to dig into the water bottom. If the current isn’t strong enough then you may have to slowly reverse your boat yourself as the anchor is being dropped.
When you’re happy with the spot you’re in, wrap your rode around a cleat, twice. You should then feel the anchor digging into the water bottom. To secure it, put your engine in idle reverse and back down onto the anchor.
Best Location To Install An Anchor On a Pontoon Boat
You’ve just bought your electric anchor winch and are not sure where to install into onto your your pontoon. So whats the ideal spot to install your anchor?
Truth is, there isn’t a ‘best location’.
Personally, I anchor off the front of my pontoon. I do this because it allows me to get my boat in the best location and get it secured easily.
Despite this, I know a lot of people who have their winch installed on the back of their boats. Also I’ve found that most pontoons with pre-installed winches have them on the back.
In conclusion, there is simply no best place to install your anchor. If you’ve not got the room for a winch on the front of your pontoon then the side or back will be your only option, likewise if you have no space on the back of your pontoon.