One of the best family adventures on a boat is heading to a sandbar. Sandbars are destinations that only boaters, kayakers, or paddleboarders can venture. In South Carolina, there is plenty of island oasis that water lovers can visit on their craft. Between boat traffic, currents, and other factors, anchoring can be a challenge. What considerations should be taken and five tips for anchoring at a sandbar in coastal South Carolina.

What is a sandbar

In the coastal waters of nearly every state along the east coast, sandbars can often be found. A sandbar is a sandy island that is surrounded by water. They can be as small as a car’s length or as big as a mansion, or larger. What is interesting about these pieces of land surrounded by water is that they can disappear and reappear.

Tidal changes have a significant impact on the size of the dry area of a sandbar. On some, the incoming tide can completely submerge it to have the island reappear at low tide. Just because it’s underwater at high tide does not mean you can enjoy it. The water may only be a foot deep, so plant your chair and hangout.

How Do You Find Sandbars

No matter if you’re a local or tourist, word of mouth is the best way to find a sandbar in the area. Ask the fellow boaters around you. A second option is to search the internet for sandbar near me.

Just because you find one doesn’t mean you can cruise off to it without understanding the local waters. Sandbars are masses of sand in areas that you may not expect them to be. As a result, the areas surrounding the sandy island can be shallow. Study a chart or ask for guidance on the proper way to approach the sandbar to avoid running aground.

What Is Needed To Anchor At a Sandbar

Anchoring at a sandbar requires more than just supplies. Beyond the boat operator, one or two additional helping hands will make the process much easier.


A bow anchor to keep the boat from drifting away.

A Stern Anchor to prevent the boat from swinging side to side with the tide and the winds.


Having someone who can deploy and secure the bow anchor and another person handling the stern anchor will make the captain’s job much more manageable. Never be afraid to ask for help.

Considerations When Anchoring a Vessel At a Sandbar

A few key elements will work against you when trying to secure the boat at the sandbar. The first is to maintain a sharp lookout for swimmers in the water. Swimmers will venture away from the island and can be challenging to spot in the water.

The second consideration is managing the tides, currents, and wind. The boat can be set down quickly by any of these factors. Sandbars are crowded, especially during weekends, and can result in a collision with neighboring crafts.

How To Anchor a Boat At a Sandbar- Five Tips

Anchoring a boat at a sandbar is no easy task. The operator is faced with many challenges to complete the job safely and in a timely fashion.

Knowing The Water

The sand bar can shift, and waters around may be shallow. Know the depth of the water and how close you can get before running aground. Many boats run aground near sandbars, and sand bar rescue is expensive.

Backing The Boat Down

The boat should be backed down to a sandbar. Have a passenger deploy the bow anchor while backing down with enough scope to hold the craft securely.

A second passenger will handle the stern anchor. Turn the motor and back the boat into the direction of the current to walk it sideways. Drop the stern anchor in so the craft is held at a 90-degree angle to the sandbar.

Check The Clearance 

Once the boat is secure and the engine is off, ensure that enough clearance is available between the motors’ bottom and hull to the seafloor. Wakes from vessels can cause the boat to impact the sand below.

Monitor Tides

Incoming and outgoing tides can significantly change the depth of the water the boat is anchored in. Monitor the tide stage and the clearance between the seafloor and vessel to avoid becoming grounded.

Keep A Look Out

No matter if you’re back into position or securely at anchor, it is essential to keep a lookout. Fellow boaters may find anchoring up is a daunting task and can get dangerously close to colliding on busy days.

Swimmers are all over the place and, at times, may need a place to rest and catch their breath while heading to their boat.

When you leave, take a 360 degree look for anyone in the water to avoid coming close to them.

It’s Time to Head To A Sandbar in Coastal South Carolina

Following a few simple steps will make a boat sandbar experience fun and entertaining for the entire family. Bring along some water floats to drift around and chairs to sit on the sand. Coastal South Carolina has plenty of sandbars scattered across the state inland waterways and one of the most well known is the Bluffton sandbar. Find one near your vacation spot or place you call home.