There have been times where I have been on my friends pontoon boat in an average lake and we would drop anchor to go fishing but struggle to get the anchor out of the water. On some occasions, we had to cut the line and chalk it up as a loss.

Moving the boat to try and get a different angle while anchored seems risky and ill-advised. What are some ways to get back an anchor that doesn't want to budge?

The type of anchors used were mushroom and Danforth.

  • Do you have any idea what your anchor may have gotten stuck on? I imagine getting it wedged or hooked on a heavy rock might require a different approach than if it's tangled in a lot of dense vegetation.
    – csk
    Jun 20 at 16:07
  • 1
    @csk from the times we do pull it up, its often a ton of muck. Mud, twigs, small rocks, all caked on the anchor.
    – Timmy Jim
    Jun 20 at 16:19

Securely tie a second line, called a "trip line" to the crown of the Danforth anchor. This line needs to be longer then the anchor line and not coiled around the anchor line so it never has tension on it as the anchor line would. Many designs of this fluke-style anchor have a metal ring or hoop called a "trip ring" for ease of releasing the anchor from the lake or seabed. A short length of chain connected to the trip ring first will extend the life of the trip line.

danforth anchorSource: http://myboatsgear.com/2016/12/28/anchor-types/

If yours does not have this ring the trip line can also be lashed or tied securely to the anchor by using a figure-8 pattern around the stock ends for short term use because the tied end will be constantly buried everytime the anchor is used.

To ease the "dredging" of the lake bottom don't keep pulling anchor all at once. After you pull a few feet, try relaxing the line a little for a second before pulling again until you know you have cleared the bottom. The idea is to allow looser debris to fall away.

Each anchor's design is important to it's resistance to drag. Mushroom anchors are good for calm waters and muddy and sandy bottoms where it will sink into the sediment where suction holds it in place. Fluke anchors such as Danforths are good in heavy winds and current and for hard sand, grassy, and moderately rocky bottoms, but are less effective in clay where clumps can foul the flukes and prevent them from gripping well.

EDIT: Danforth's are prone however to become dislodged and not re-engage seabeds if the vessel pulls at the anchor perpendicular to the shank die to current or winds.

segments paraphrased from: https://www.westmarine.com/WestAdvisor/Selecting-The-Right-Anchor

  • 1
    I've actually noticed that ring before, never knowing what it was for. Good to know.
    – Timmy Jim
    Jun 23 at 2:30
  • 1
    @TimmyJim I added a line "EDIT" That escaped missed getting into the answer. Be safe.
    – user21388
    Jun 24 at 21:53

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.