News Archives

Maintaining Your Dock Lines

With spring just around the corner, our friends at Seattle Yachts remind us it’s the perfect time to inspect and maintain dock lines

By Bill Parlatore of Seattle Yachts

During the off season, it is a good time to really inspect your dock lines. We use them regularly throughout the season, but most of us don’t pay much attention to them. Spend a couple of days at an old crusty marina, for example, and do not be surprised to find wood splinters buried in the strands of the lines, often weeks later. We get under way, lines are coiled and placed out of sight in a locker, and we don’t think about them until the next time they are needed.
So, it is a good idea at this time of year to put on a pair of mechanic’s gloves, uncoil each dock line in turn, and carefully run them through your fingers to find and remove any foreign matter than inevitably works into the braided or three-strand nylon. Your crew’s hands will thank you for it.
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Once three-strand nylon line begins to unravel, it is essential to take action to stop it as you lose inches then feet off the dock line, and it is all but impossible to fix that. Whip or seal the line and cut off the loose strands.
As dock lines weather, they become stiff from exposure and salt crystals. Once a season, soak them overnight in a bucket of water mixed with fabric softener, such as Downy. This does wonders to clean them of dirt and restore the flexibility and feel of the nylon.
I do suggest that you rinse and dry the lines before recoiling them and putting them away. Unless you don’t mind that your lazarette smells like a laundry room.
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Additional helpful links on lines:
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Samsonrope.com In business since the 1880’s, these folks know their ropes!
Check out their Resources pages … the following is just one of their helpful pdfs.
Samson Technical Bulletin: Inspection & Retirement Pocket Guide https://www.samsonrope.com/docs/default-source/technical-bulletins/tb_inspection-retirement-pocket-guide_aug2013_web.pdf?sfvrsn=c3d63bbd_2
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West Marine on the subject of dock lines:
https://www.westmarine.com/WestAdvisor/Dock-Lines
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… and while you’re looking at info about lines, you might want to read an article or two on spring lines!