Navigating the open lake during the day is half of the fun of any houseboat trip. Once the sun begins to approach sunset, you'll need to guide your houseboat to a safe spot for anchoring or staking for the night as boat operation is not allowed during the night hours. If you've never staked or anchored a houseboat before, we are here to help!
Find the Right Spot
All of our Forever Houseboats are equipped with stakes or anchors and are stored on the forward posts for easy retrieval. Since houseboats are quite long, the ropes are already tied to the aft (rear) cleat of your boat. Be sure to double check the location of the stakes before leaving the marina if you have any questions.
After your day of traveling on the water, you'll want to find a location to beach your houseboat, mainly one that is out of the main channel and high-traffic areas, where there are no underwater hazards. A nice wide, sandy beach with plenty of room for setting up camp should work best.
Beaching the Houseboat
When you've found the right spot to beach, you can prepare the houseboat by turning off the generator (to avoid sucking sand or matter into the cooling intake). Then, from the helm (not the flying bridge if your houseboat is so equipped) you will approach the shoreline with your motors running typically at 800 to 1000 RPMs. Once you're at this low speed, you will then ease your houseboat up to the shoreline. Watch for any underwater hazards or unexpected shallow areas; pull the houseboat out to the water and try for a different spot close by if you encounter any difficult areas.
Once you have beached your houseboat, you will keep your motors running at the low speed until you have completed securing the houseboat. It is important that the operator stays at the helm until the boat is secured. Do ensure that passengers are not on or around the back deck of the boat when the motors are running and the boat is parked.
Start securing your houseboat by first throwing the ropes to the beach and then move your stakes or anchors from the front of the houseboat to positions approximately 45 degrees from the boat (see illustration below). Use the provided hammer or shovel to either pound in your stakes, or dig anchor holes. Sturdy work gloves are a good idea for this task and you may want to bring your own to be sure you have them handy. If it is windy, start from the prevailing side - the direction from which the wind is coming from; this will help keep the houseboat in position during tie down. If the wind pushed the houseboat out of position, during tie-down, the operator can steer the motors and apply a slight amount of throttle to straighten the boat.
Most lakes will use very strong steel stakes to tie down the houseboat. Pound in the stakes at an angle pointing away from the boat to provide the most leverage on shore. Tie the rope to the stake. When all stakes are set, retie them as tightly as possible. Very long ropes will have some slack from the weight of the rope.
Using Sand Anchors
If your houseboat doesn't have stakes, then it will be tied down with large sand anchors instead of stakes. To set the anchors, you will need to dig a large hole 2 to 3 feet deep and wide enough to fit the anchor. Drop in the anchor and tie on the rope. You can set the anchors by alternately pulling and tightening the ropes. Fill the holes with sand to cover the anchor - you can even pour water over the sand to "set" the anchors if you wish. Tighten all the ropes at the anchors until the houseboat is secure.
Use the power of the houseboat motors to further tighten the ropes by swinging the rear of the boat slightly toward the rope being tightened. Using your boat motors to do the work for you makes rope tightening easy and ensures that your boat is secure. Only after all ropes are secure should you turn the motors off. It is a good idea to clearly mark your stakes and anchors if they are showing above ground - even cover them with something so that they are easily visible in the dark so that your guests don't trip or get injured walking near them.
If it becomes windy and you are concerned that your houseboat may come loose, remember you can use the motors to provide additional resistance to the wind. Ensure that none of your guests are on or near the rear deck while the motors are operating. It is also important to be aware that fluctuating lake levels may require you to move the houseboat higher or lower on the beach each day, adjusting the ropes accordingly.
If you have any additional questions about staking or anchoring your houseboat, please be sure to bring them with you to your houseboat orientation. One of our trained houseboat staff members will be able to help you better understand the process of successfully beaching and anchoring a houseboat.
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