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Rope Knowledge

What Is the Purpose of a Dock Line?

by Fred Dieckhaus
What Is the Purpose of a Dock Line?

Docking your craft requires few tools to be successful. One of the key components, though, is a dock line. 

The purpose of a dock line is to keep your boat anchored and in place at the dock. Dock lines can be used in both more permanent and situational or overnight applications. Using a line is fairly simple, but a basic understanding of sailing as well as the process of docking is required. 

The Purpose of a Dock Line 

Dock lines are used in all sorts of applications, but the main thing to keep in mind is that dock lines are the ropes used to tie your boat to the dock. 

Dock lines serve the purpose of anchoring your boat, absorbing shock loads, and being resistant to all sorts of weathering including sun, abrasion, and other damages. 

A rope is almost always required for any sort of boat or boating where docking will be required, and although the uses of dock lines are split into several categories - the permanent and temporary - these lines are ultimately used for the same purpose. 

Many supply stores offer three major types of dock lines. 

  • 3 Strand Nylon - created from 3 strands and the least expensive 
  • Braided Nylon - a stronger variant that is easier to handle 
  • Double Braided Nylon - which is the strongest, easiest to handle, and resistant to damage 

All of these variants can be used for a similar purpose. It is important to consider the length of time and whether in which these lines will be used as these factors will be crucial in determining the type of line purchased. 

The longer the rope will be employed for docking and the harsher the weather, the more likely a thicker and higher quality rope will be needed. If a docking line is used permanently or semi-permanently, a much tougher line is required.  

Dock lines are effective with all sorts of docks as long as the rope is elastic and durable to prevent any unnecessary wear on the rope. 

Summing It Up 

Purchasing your next dock line and deciding upon which line you will purchase is important to consider.  

Dock lines are and will continue to be one of the most important aspects of boating. You can have fun until you actually have to dock for the night, but at that point, you’re going to have to anchor. 

Because dock lines are going to be employed to keep your boat anchored and in place, choosing the right line will be necessary. 

Dock lines vary in shapes and sizes, mainly dependent on the length of your boat and the time period in which it’s going to be docked. 

Dock lines are extremely important, so great significance should be placed on deciding on the type of line you will use for specific situations. 

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