How to Anchor a Houseboat

Guest Blogger (Troy Sherman - Beach Bag Anchors)
Posted On
Mar 3, 2023
How To, New Places and Faces, Specials, Tricks of the Trade

How to Anchor a Houseboat

Rental houseboat from Lake Powell’s Antelope Marina anchored on a rock beach with the Beach Bags Anchor System


Anchoring. For many, it's the most unfamiliar aspect of houseboat vacationing. But it doesn’t have to be. By acquainting yourself with the information below and participating in your marina’s pre-departure orientation, you’ll be ready for an adventure of a lifetime. 

And, depending upon your vacation’s destination, anchoring your rental houseboat can truly be as easy as Fill & Chill. More on that and a special promotion for Lake Powell rental customers hailing from Antelope Point Marina at the end of the article...(sneak peek)

The key to establishing an effective houseboat beach anchorage, the kind that gives you the peace of mind to blissfully slumber the night away and to continue enjoying your vacation in the face of winds or impending storms, is understanding and implementing the 3 Elements of Houseboat Anchoring. They are:

  • Knowing Your Anchor System

  • Anchor Placement Zones

  • Maintaining Proper Anchor Line Tension


Knowing Your Anchor System

There are several houseboat anchor types, each having pros and cons. Your rental houseboat will come with one of the following:

Fluke Anchors
Also known as a Danforth, these anchors are lightweight plow-style anchors used for mooring houseboats on deep sand beaches. Securing flukes to the shoreline involves digging multiple 2-3 foot deep holes (one for each anchor) and burying the anchors with the point down and toward the boat.


  • Highly effective, when properly seated and buried at the recommended depths.


  • Limits anchoring locations to sandy beaches.

  • Requires a strong crew capable of digging several 2-3 feet deep holes.

  • Can take as long as 1 – 1.5 hours to complete the anchoring process.


Stake or Pin Anchors
These are steel rods driven into solid ground with a sledgehammer or inserted into holes created by an impact drill. They should be positioned so they are pointing away from the houseboat at an angle. Once placed, the houseboat’s anchor lines are tied to the rods.


  • A quick and highly effective anchoring method when properly used.


  • Cannot be used to anchor boats on sand.

  • Pin holes can accelerate shoreline erosion.

  • Abandoned pins trapped in the ground can damage boats and injure swimmers as lake levels change.

  • Pin holes can damage or destroy the fossil record, including dinosaur footprints.

  • Pinning and stake anchoring is illegal in areas such as Lake Powell.  


Natural Anchor Points
Objects such as boulders or trees are abundant on some shorelines and can serve as “anchors” to which houseboat lines can be tied.


  • A very fast and easy solution for anchoring. Just run your lines and tie them around the object.


  • Trees or boulders might not be available, or in the right location, when needed.

  • The objects may not be as strong as they appear and could fail during strong wind events. Make sure to test your lines during any weather events to confirm they are holding.


Anchor Placement Zones

Rental houseboats come with multiple anchors. The number used will vary based on your houseboat’s size. (Your rental houseboat’s marina will supply you with the right number of anchors for your boat). Some of your anchors will be placed off the houseboat’s sides. These are called Side Anchors. Others will be placed off your houseboat’s nose. These are called Bow Anchors. Place each anchor type in the following Anchor Placement Zones:

  • Side Anchor Placement Zone:

Position in an area that is no greater than 90° and not less than 45° in relation to the side of the houseboat on which they are located. (You’ll typically have one or two Side Anchors on each side of your boat)

  • Bow Anchor Placement Zone:

Position in an area that is no greater than 45° and not less than 15° in relation to the side of the houseboat on which they are located. (You’ll typically have two Bow Anchors, one on each side of your boat).

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There are two simple methods for finding your Anchor Placement Zones. They are:

  • Smartphone Method

Using a smartphone app for finding angles, orient the phone so the length of the houseboat is the fixed side (0°). Rotate the phone away from your houseboat until the angle measures no greater than 90°, but not less than 45°. Mark the shoreline location the smartphone is pointing to. This is the Zone where the Side Anchors should be placed. Follow the same process for the Bow Anchors, remembering that they should be placed in a Zone no greater than 45°, but not less than 15°.

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  • Walking Distance Method
    Walk a straight line perpendicular to the side of your houseboat. Stop only after traveling a distance that is greater than the length of the houseboat. This is the Zone in which the Side Anchors should be placed. (For example, if your houseboat is 70’ long, walk a distance of at least 70’). Deploying an anchor at a distance greater than the length of your houseboat will place it at an angle greater than 45°. Use the same principle for placing your Bow Anchors.

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Maintaining Proper Anchor Line Tension

The three most important things for maintaining a successful beach mooring, keeping your family safe, and enjoying your vacation are keeping your anchor lines tight, keeping your anchor lines tight, and keeping your anchor lines tight. This means having them tensioned to the point where there is no slack in the lines under normal conditions. This is true for all anchor types, whether they be flukes, stakes, pins, natural anchor points, or Beach Bags. 

Maintaining properly tensioned anchor lines helps keep the wind loads placed on your rental houseboat, and subsequently your anchor lines, static. Movement of your houseboat from a combination of strong winds and slack anchor lines allows dynamic forces to be placed on your anchors. These types of forces, when high enough, can cause your anchors to move and your mooring to fail.


It is very difficult to achieve and maintain proper tension by pulling on an anchor line and tying it off to a cleat – a anchoring practice common among rental houseboats. When line tightening aids such as a windlass or winch are not available, a block and tackle pulley system, such as Tightrope, can be used. It’s readily available to all houseboaters using Beach Bags Anchoring Services on Lake Powell. 

Beach Bags Anchor System
Beach Bags are an innovative houseboat anchoring solution available for houseboat renters hailing from both the Antelope Point and Wahweap marinas on Lake Powell. Highly engineered and powerfully strong, they are comprised of a portable bladder system filled with water and an ingenious anchor line tightening system called Tightrope. Anchoring with Beach Bags is as easy as Fill & Chill.


  • More places to anchor your houseboat – easy to use on both rock and sand.

  • Preserves shorelines – eliminates holes caused by digging, hammering, and drilling.

  • Legal – approved for use on Lake Powell by the National Park Service.

  • Improves houseboating safety by allowing you to easily keep anchor lines tight.

  • Offered through a Full-Service Anchoring program.

Know Where To Go – The anchoring service shows you the best locations on the Lake.

Effortless Anchoring – Their crews do all the anchoring work.

A Great Night’s Sleep – Relax, knowing you’re professionally anchored by beach bags.

More Privacy – More locations to escape the crowds and enjoy the lake.


  • Only available on Lake Powell for houseboats departing from Antelope Point or Wahweap marinas.


Enjoy The Adventure Of A Lifetime!

Thoughts of anchoring your houseboat can be worrying, but they don’t have to be. Come prepared, understand and implement the 3 Elements of Houseboat Anchoring, and relax, you’re on vacation!

Book in March and get 15% off + FREE anchoring when you depart from Antelope Point Marina!


Give us a call at 888-454-8825 or fill out a Contact Form and an agent will get in touch with you.






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