Course How To

Best anchor and rode for a houseboat

by Michael Stewart
(Grand Rivers, KY)

Typical Houseboat Anchor Types

Typical Houseboat Anchor Types

I have a 90 ft houseboat. We would like to camp out on the hook overnight. However, the anchor and rode they have installed my houseboat does not look like it can hold the boat.

We are on the Cumberland Lake which is a muddy bottom in most parts. I have an approx. 40lbs Danforth anchor attached to a 3/4 line with no chain. Should I be concerned.

Michael from Grand Rivers, KY

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Reply - Answer
That's an excellent question Michael, since many people enjoy anchoring out for the day or overnight in a houseboat. You should be fine with a 40lb Danforth to anchor out with your present setup, however I would add 30-40 ft of good quality chain to help reduce wear and help keep the anchor angle horizontal.

I will list some Tips and Tricks that will help you anchor easily.

You should always have two types of anchors on board your houseboat, so that if one fails or doesn't hold well, you can easily use the other type.

Preferably you would want to have some chain on your anchor rode, since this serves two purposes, one is to add significant weight to hold the angle of the rode horizontal, and it reduces the wear and tear damage that occurs from rubbing on the bottom.

Anchor scope is the length anchor rode "let out" compared to the depth of the water. Typically you will hear terms like 5 to 1, or 7 to 1, or even 10 to 1, which allows for some good overnight anchoring.

Remember to "set the anchor" which means that after you have let out the required amount of anchor rode for the depth of water, you would put the houseboat engine(s) in reverse and gently "set" the anchor to get maximum holding power.

For more in depth look at the specifics of anchors and techniques, look at Westmarine Product Advise section and
see different anchor types and techniques.

I hope this all helps...

IAN - from

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Houseboat Anchors, Rope, and Chain.
by: Anonymous

I have a 16 X 75 Ft. Stardust. What type of anchor do I need and how much rope and chain is needed ?

Reply - Answer
Well, the type of anchor depends on the bottom conditions of where you do your anchoring. You can always have two anchors on board as a safety measure.

I would recommend that you have a look at Anchoring Techniques and Tips to get a very good understanding on how to choose, and get the best performance of your anchor rode and tackle.

I hope this helps, IAN from
UPDATE: thanks for the new link info.

Tips on Anchoring a Houseboat
by: Beached Guy

I have lived a number of years in a dory (7 tons) type boat. We had several types of anchors aboard since we traveled several thousands of miles coastal and inland with it. All in all we found the Danforth anchor the most useful.

It held in mud and rocks with an all chain rode. This is probably not feasible in your houseboat but you certainly need as much chain as you can get to keep any anchor from pulling out under gusty conditions.

Our boat didn't have near as much windage as a houseboat. We let wind or tide move our boat to set the anchor without backing down on it with the engine. We have seen many times that boats used to much power and kept pulling their anchor out in good anchorages and then leaving.

The common anchor selection guides for the anchor size & weight are probably too small for a houseboat unless you are in very sheltered location. It is much better to have more, then not enough anchor and rode.

During our travel we dragged anchor only twice, and having a second anchor ready to be deployed over the stern keeps the panic number much lower.

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