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Rope Knowledge

What Size, Length, and Quantity of Dock Line Do You Need?

by Fred Dieckhaus
What Size, Length, and Quantity of Dock Line Do You Need?

To keep your boat in place once a day of sailing is done, it is crucial to not only have a high quality of line but to also have the correct length, size, and quality of line. 

Picking the size, length, and quantity of dock lines you need can be an ordeal, however, it is important that your ropes meet the correct specifications for your boat. 

The size, length, and quantity of dock lines you need are determined by the size of your boat. Depending on the size of the boat which you are attempting to dock, the size and length will vary greatly. All methods of securing a boat, no matter the size, require at least 3 ropes. 

What Size Is Optimal 

The optimal size of your dock line will change greatly depending on several factors. The most important factor to consider, however, is the length of your boat. 

The ideal size, also called the diameter, of your dock line, can be calculated with this guide so you can find the perfect rope. 

Overall, 1/8" should be added to the size of your docking line for every 9-10’ of length of your boat. 

What this means is that if your boat is 30’, your rope for that boat would be roughly 3/8" thick. Although the thickness can also vary depending on the length of time that your boat will be docked, the factor of the length of the boat is the most important consideration. 

What Length Is Best 

The length of your dock line is incredibly simple to calculate. If you are intending to dock your boat for temporary purposes, your docking lines will need to be roughly 2/3rd the length of your entire craft. 

If, however, the boat is going to remain docked for an elongated period of time the length of the rope for your boat can extend as much as the entire length of the craft. 

How Many Do You Need 

One of the final questions regarding dock lines is how many you will need to secure your boat. Depending on the boat the amount can vary, but a good guideline is that the amount will never dip under three ropes. 

The most common ways of securing a boat to the dock will require at least three ropes, and although some methods may require more, these methods are less common. 

Because of this, always purchase at least 3 ropes with which you can fasten your boat to the dock. If looking to dock your boat more permanently, however, it will almost always be necessary to purchase more. 

Sail Onward 

Docking your boat is always a repetitive task, so keeping your line the correct size and quality is going to be crucial. 

Knowing the size, length, and quality of the lines you’re going to need will ensure that your boat is safe and properly docked.

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