Choosing the Right Shore Anchor

Using the right shore anchor while out boating will ensure the safety of your boat and your crew. Here's how to choose one.
Sand Shark shore anchors
There are a variety of anchor styles available. Courtesy Sand Shark

Pulling the boat onto a calm beach to go ashore is a common routine while spending time on the water. If you plan to spend more than a few minutes relaxing on the beach, you’ll probably want to anchor the boat, and that’s where spike- or auger-style shore anchors can help. Drive them into terra firma above the high-water mark, and run a line to the boat to ensure that your pride and joy doesn’t drift away. You can use them to keep the boat on the beach or to anchor out away from shore, with your conventional anchor deployed seaward from the bow and the shore anchor line secured to the stern.

Right Size

Make sure the shore anchor is of sufficient size to securely anchor your boat. The Slide Anchor brand, for example, offers spike-style shore anchors in three sizes: a small model for boats to 21 feet in length, a large-model spike for boats up to 35 feet, and an extra-large anchor for ­houseboats and vessels over 35 feet.

Spike Vs. Auger

Whether you choose a spike- or auger-style shore anchor depends largely on the type of soil in which you plan to anchor. For harder shore and terrain that’s mixed with rocks, a spike is the usually the best choice because you can pierce and drive the sharp spike into the ground with a hammer. For loose soil and sand, an auger-style anchor such as the SandShark might be better because it holds more securely in soft terrain.

Integrated Drivers

An integrated driving mechanism eliminates the need to carry a separate hammer to drive in the spike anchor. Slide Anchor’s Shore Spike features a handle that serves as a slide hammer to drive the anchor into the ground and extract it when you leave. The SandShark has folding T handles that let you apply rotational force to screw in and screw out the auger. Tip: Drive the anchor in at about a 10- to 20-degree angle away from the direction of the pulling force to increase the ­anchor’s holding power.

Line Attachment

Not all shore anchors have dedicated line-attachment points, such an eye on the shaft. With those that don’t, use a clove hitch close to the ground to minimize the leverage exerted on the shore anchor. With anchors that have an eye, consider using a snap hook to attach the line from the boat. Slide Anchor’s Slide Hook lets you easily adjust the snap wherever you need it on the line from the boat.

You can use a snap hook to attach the line to a shore anchor. Courtesy of Slide Anchor

Carrying Case

A shore anchor can be awkward to ­carry and stow aboard a boat. The sharp spike or auger can also chip the boat’s finish, damage upholstery fabric, or cause injury. To help prevent any of this, consider a carrying case for your shore anchor. For instance, the SandShark Premium SuperSport Anchor comes standard with a canvas bag. The telescoping anchor retracts, and the T handles fold down to stow conveniently inside the bag.

SandShark Supersport 2.0 Boat Anchor
Use an auger-style shore anchor for loose soil or sand. Courtesy of SandShark

Corrosion Resistance

If you plan to use your shore ­anchor in a saltwater environment, think about opting for a model that features stainless-steel or ­other corrosion-resistant ­construction. Slide Anchor’s Shore Spike, for example, is ­available in galvanized steel, powder-­coated steel and stainless steel (starting at $65, $100 and $119, respectively). Each model offers increased levels of ­corrosion resistance.

Brightly Colored

Having a brightly colored shore anchor and line is about more than boat bling. It alerts shore-goers to help prevent them from stubbing their toes, scraping a shin, or tripping over the shore anchor or line. The bright color can also help you quickly spot your day camp when returning from a spin around the lake.

Read Next: How to Anchor Using Alternative Methods

Boat Lines & Dock Ties anchor bungee cords
Anchor bungee cords make deploying multiple anchors easier. Courtesy Boat Lines & Dock Ties

Anchoring Out 

As mentioned earlier, shore anchors are helpful when you want to secure your boat away from the beach, using the shore anchor off the stern and the main anchor off the bow. Anchor bungee cords from Boat Lines & Dock Ties can also help. The line attached to the main anchor off the bow stretches twice its length, so you can drop anchor, reverse the boat to shore and turn off the motor, hop out with a line and shore anchor, and let the bungee pull the boat back away from the shore. Retrieval is just as easy. Lines come in 10-, 15- and 25-foot lengths. Nylon webbing covers come in seven colors.