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Oversizing Dock Lines

by Fred Dieckhaus
Oversizing Dock Lines

We get asked a lot about over sizing dock lines. We have a suggested size chart on the web site and it is certain a reasonable suggested size for most applications. There are those times and those places that require a bit more strength just so you can get somewhat of a good nights sleep. That might be because you are tied up in St. Maarten and there is a bad surge running. It maybe that your main boating territory is within the areas that prone to Hurricanes. Whatever , That question is pose on a regular basis. I have a coupe of alternate thoughts you might consider.


Your vessel has a certain weight  and surface that the weather and tide will exert it forces on. As it does, your vessel will exert a corresponding force on your dock and mooring lines. One of the benefits of nylon dock lines is their ability to stretch. As the size of the lines increases, they become stronger and as such will require more force to activate their ability to stretch. So at some point, the stronger the line , the less stretch is available. Less stretch exerts more load onto your deck hardware: cleat, bollards and fairleads. So there is a point that oversizing has reduced benefits.


The other alternative to oversizing is to keep your normal size but increase the inventory of how many lines you have on board. That way when the elements demand more , you can double up only on those that require more.

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