Dock lines are what you use to keep your boat in place at the dock. As such, choosing the right dock lines is important in order to keep your boat secure. However, there are many options out there on the market, so many that it may seem a bit overwhelming. That being said, there are ways to narrow down your choices in order to find the right dock lines for your needs. Here’s how:
When it comes to dock lines, you want them to be strong and flexible enough to withstand any shock loads from the wind and waves. Nylon is the best material for this. With high strength and durability, a nylon dock line is unlikely to break. Plus, the material is resistant to rot and mildew, an added bonus for something that’s going to be in wet conditions.
Choose your construction
The construction of your dock line is also an important thing to consider. Which one you choose will depend on your preferences and the kind of dock and boat you have:
Three-strand lines are best for wood docks as they slide around wood pilings and poles fairly easily. They’re also less expensive than other types of dock lines, but keep in mind that they come in fewer colors and can be rougher on your hands.
While on the more expensive side of things, double-braids are nonetheless softer on your hands and come in an array of colors. However, they have less shock absorbency, and they tend to snag, especially on wooden poles.
Mega braids are strong, flexible, and are easy to handle. They’re an excellent choice, but are only available for boats that are 40 feet or larger.
When it comes to the diameter of your dock lines, bigger isn’t always better. As a rule of thumb, you should use 1/8-inch diameter for every 2 inches of your boat cleat length.
The length of your dock lines should depend on the dock. For transient docks, your spring lines should be as long as the boat and your bow and stern lines half the length of the boat. Permanent dock lines, on the other hand, should be cut and spliced according to water change levels.