Dock Cleats: The Ultimate Guide to Keep Your Boat Secure and Close at Hand
A Quick Overview of Dock Cleat MaterialsUsing standard style dock cleats, here's a list of common material options you'll find available: Stainless Steel The most expensive, but most reliable.Stainless steel dock cleats (check price on Amazon) won't rust and arenearly impossible to break. Nylon If you're on a limited budget and don't wanna spend the money on the metal, nylon dock cleats (check price on Amazon)are a reliable, inexpensive option. It may not look as shiny and polished, but if looks are not importantthis is agreat option! Galvanized Metal / Aluminum You also have galvanized metal (check price on Amazon) and aluminum. The fit and finish are not on par with the stainless steel, but they're less money and still reliable.
Different Styles of Dock Cleats
Standard Style Dock CleatCheck out the many materials available for this one in the previous section. The reliable standard cleat is the style you'll find more than any other.Many docks have the standard style of dock cleat, and from my experience,it's the main style found at boat docks. Granted, where you live they may use something different, but this style is most affordable and just plain works. And if it ain't broke, don't fix it.
Pull-Up Dock Cleats
The style has become popular. It's clean, strong and best of all you don't get snagged on it! I've ruined a pair of pants and a new wet suit on the standard style cleats, whereas it's difficult to do on a pull-style. Why? They're down when not needed. They're like a reliable friend who's there when you need them. Not like standard dock cleats, which are reliable but will bite without warning. This style of dock cleat has two disadvantages: First, they'requite expensive and range anywhere from $21 to $80 per cleat. Second, their installation process is not as straight-forward. After you cut the weirdly-shaped hole, you have to reach from below and install nuts on the bolts to secure it. It proves to be more reliable and secure, but the initial install is a beast. Also, keep in mind these "dock cleats" are more for placing on your boat to tie off on the dock, not directly attached to the dock.
Flip-Up Dock Cleats
A distant cousin of the pull-up dock cleat, the flip-up cleat lacks the same disadvantages. Instead, it offers the benefit of staying out of the way when not needed. They're more affordable and don't require the awkward hole cut into your boat. You still have to reach up from below to attach nuts to bolts, but it's a solid, great design. In addition to docks, they're popular on bass boats due to their design.
Solar Dock Cleats
Here's a new dock cleat you might not yet have considered.Solar dock cleats come in the standard style, but also offer a built-in light to guide you along dock passageways. If you're often at the dock past evenings, these cleats are worth the premium price tag. If you're not around at night, however, these are like fancy paperweights. They fill a niche market, but they're simplistic and work well. If you're a marina owner, these would add some pizzazz to your marina at night and allow boaters a safe path.
Zig Zag Dock Cleats
TheZig Zag cleat or as I like to call them, the lazy man cleat doesn't require a knot. To tie up to this dock cleat, boaters simply weave their line in the no-brainer, zig-zag-shaped mold. Tying up overnight, however, should be avoided. These dock cleats are for temporary stops only. Why? Because the boat's line can slowly loosen out if left unattended for long periods of time. In addition to docks, they're also a great "quick stop" for smaller boats (like kayaks). They also often come in both nylon or metal, so take your pick!
Clam Dock Cleats
Clam cleats, much like zig zag cleats, are just for temporary tie offs and not meant for overnight stays at your buddy's lake house.Only meant for small boats just stopping by for a quick jaunt. You pull the rope through and the pressure builds up and traps the rope. Basically, the rope can't go through it one way, but is pulled out the other way.