The Different Types And Uses Of Marine Ropes And Dock Lines
It is always important for a boat owner to get familiar with different types of marine ropes and dock lines. In so doing, he will rest easy knowing that the boat is tightly secured at the dock. There are quite a number of ropes (lines) used in boating. They can be classified either by material or the design.
Classification by Material
1. Polyester is among the most popular type of rope used to dock a vessel. It may also be referred to as Dacron or Terylene. Polyester is very elastic and is resistant against ultra-violet (UV) rays as well as rot. It easily sinks in water and is affordable.
2. Polypropylene or in short polyprop is more elastic than polyester and floats on water. It may come as Staple spun, mono or multi-filament. It is very versatile and can be used in many applications. Unfortunately, the rope begins to degrade as time goes by due to exposure to UV rays from the sun.
3. Nylon is one of the most elastic types of ropes. It is therefore able to store energy. However, when it snaps it can cause a lot of damage to surrounding objects or even injure people. It starts to fray overtime due to long exposure to the sun.
4. Steel Wire is made from small strands of long wires. It is the strongest of all mooring lines. Usually, it is used to secure very large vessels. Steel wire lines are more prone to rust hence need regular care such as coating with grease.
5. Natural fibers made up the first ropes. Materials used included sisal, jute, cotton, manila, hemp, coir, silk, leather, linen and more. Natural fiber is not as long-lasting as artificial fibers but is usually more expensive. Nonetheless, they still remain a top choice especially for people concerned with the environment.
Classification by Design
1. Twisted Rope / Laid Rope is a type of rope consists of several strands of fiber/yarn twisted together. Each strand is also twisted from smaller strands. The strength of the rope will be determined by the number of strands and also the type of fiber used. Twisted rope can further be classified as follows:
- Three-strand/ Plain rope: It consists of three strands.
- Four Strand/ Shroud rope: This line is made from four instead of the usual three strands.
- Multiple strands/ Cable-laid line: The line comprises of more than four strands hence making it quite strong.
2. Braided Lines Braided ropes are mostly associated with modern synthetic fibers. The ropes will also be quite elastic (springy) due to the technique used as well as the artificial fibers. However, not all ropes are springy hence you may also find a rigid line. Braided ropes are categorized in the following manner:
- Solid braid: This line is quite strong and won’t start to wear out even after getting cut. Unfortunately, once cut it is quite hard to join.
- No Core Diamond Braid: This is the simplest type of braided line. Since it doesn’t have a core, splicing the ropes is quite easy compared to the coreless or solid braid.
- Diamond Braid with core: This line comes with a solid core thus making it quite strong. Joining the ropes is not as easy as the coreless diamond braid.
Types of Rope Knots
Properly securing or docking a boat goes beyond just acquiring a quality rope. It also entails using the appropriate knot or bind. A poor knot may unloosen hence allowing the boat to drift away. It may also become hard to untie on time. Common types of knots include the following:
- Bowline: Easy to untie and mostly used on an attached object.
- Figure Eight: These knots are quite tough hence can carry a big load.
- Fisherman Knot: Used to tie two rope lengths together.
- Clove Hitch: Used to tie one object to another, for instant a sail on a mast or a hammock to a post.
There are many types of knots. Leaning to tie a rope securely takes some time and practice.
It is essential to research on the most suitable type of marine ropes and dock lines before buying. Factors to consider include the weather and climate, water (fresh or saline), type of dock or mooring (quays, jetties, wharfs, buoys and piers), weight of the vessel, frequency of use, cost and more. Iboats.com has a wide variety of marine rope and accessories to cover all your boating needs. have questions? Speak with a knowledgeable sales rep at 1-800-869-1686.