How Should I Anchor My Boat?
WE ALL THANK the many boaters who anchor only in ways that preserve the resources we all love, while ensuring the safety of future users!
What is Pin Anchoring (houesboat stking, stake anchoring, etc)?
Lake Powell has a unique shoreline. Sometimes a sandy beach is hard to find to park your houseboat. In these cases, some people have improvised - drilling holes into the sandstone itself, in order to place large pieces of rebar or stakes to tie their anchor line.
What is wrong with Houseboat Staking?
Drilling holes in rock for pin staking is illegal because it impairs the resources. All units of the National Park Service are guided by the Organic Act. This Congressional mandate defines the dual mission of the National Park Service, both to conserve park resources and provide for their use and enjoyment in such a manner and by such means as will leave them unimpaired for future generations.
Pin Anchoring is not allowed unless specifically stated within a commercial use authorization
Determination: The practice of pin anchoring within the boundaries of Glen Canyon NRA is considered injuring, defacing, and disturbing to mineral, archaeological, and paleontological resources. Pinning into sandstone creates a permanent hole. As lake levels rise and fall, water rapidly dissipates carbonate minerals from the pinning hole, weakening the surrounding stone. This increases the development of geological hazards and rock falls as the sandstone fractures and flakes at an increased rate. Glen Canyon NRA has over 2,500 documented archeological and paleontological sites throughout the park. Pin anchoring can cause irreversible damage to these resources. Pins sometimes become permanently lodged in the sandstone, posing a significant safety hazard to visitors and vessels.
Because I can't find a sandy beach it's not safe to anchor my boat without drilling a few holes.
If you cannot find a sandy beach on which to properly anchor your boat, you can tie your line around a boulder, or hold it down with a temporary weight. If you are doing it right, it should take four-six anchor lines at the most.
We also do not recommend using climbing gear as temporary anchors. Sandstone is not solid enough to firmly place this gear. The movement of the water and lines could dislodge climbing cams, and the spreading nature of the cam may further destabilize the rock..
But the holes were here when I got here. I'm just reusing them.
"Reusing" holes only make them deeper and wider - every time someone "cleans the hole out" with drills more of the sandstone is scraped away. This weakens the sandstone and accelerates crumbling and damage. In addition, you might think you need a few extra holes, just to make sure your boat is good and tight. That's how these rock beaches end up with dozens of holes.
Why else should I care?
Lake Powell is constantly changing. The beach you see today may have been fully underwater a few months ago, and the deep water you just swam in today may be completely exposed rock in a few months. When a boat pulls up to a rocky beach, the captain cannot see directly underneath the bow. If there are stakes left in the rock, they could possibly rip through the hull of the unsuspecting boat. Swimmers are also at danger on the sides of rocky beaches.
Is there another way to anchor my boat?
What can I do to help prevent the destruction of Lake Powell's shoreline?
Last updated: May 27, 2022