Is It Time to Replace Your Boat Dock Lines?

How long do boat dock lines last for

Faulty boat dock lines can be dangerous and may even result in the loss of your expensive equipment. Often your dock lines will begin to chafe and may need to be replaced. 

Do you want to learn more about when it is time to replace your boat dock lines? Keep reading this article for more information on the best dock lines and signs you need to replace your dock lines. 

What Are Boat Dock Lines

A boat dock line is used to hold your boat in place when it is at the dock. Because your boat will be in the water and will constantly be tugging at this line, it is important that you get a dock line that is strong and made of elastic. This will allow it to absorb the shock and prevent breakage. 

Most often, these lines are made from nylon, which is able to stretch without breaking. Whether your boat is exposed to strong winds or waves, the rope will absorb the shock instead of your boat. 

Why Do Dock Lines Chafe? 

Boat line chafe is what happens when has too much friction in the same section of the rope. Often, this is because your rope lines are repeatedly scraping on the edge of the dock. This causes the fibers of your rope to weaken and deteriorate. 

Other things can speed up the line chafing, like the sun and exposure to other elements. 

If your dock has too much abrasion, it can completely cut through your rope, which means that your boat will not be attached to the dock anymore. 

Signs of a Failing Dock Line

While some boat lines slowly deteriorate over time, other things, like chafing, can cause them to fail even faster. This is why it is always important to check your boat lines whenever you use your boat. 

This is especially important f you haven't used your boat for a long time or if you dock your boat in an area with high winds or bad storms. 

The first sign that you should check for is fuzzy lines. This is the first sign of fraying, as the rope fibers begin to break. 

You should also keep an eye out for areas of your rope that are vulnerable to chafing. This is often where a rope is rubbing against the dock or other dock lines. 

Another way that you can identify a failing line is if the rope is discolored or unraveling. If they are too old and worn down, they can break more easily. 

Finally, you should test each line by hand. Even when your ropes look good on the outside, there is a chance that they are wearing out the internal fibers. Give each end of your line a good tug to see if it feels brittle or damaged. 

How to Prevent Dock Line Chafe

One way you can protect your boat from shock and keep it securely attached to the dock is by finding ways to prevent dock line chafe. You can make homemade chafe guards that act as protective sleeves for your lines. 

One easy way to do this is by cutting up a garden hose and feeding it onto your dock line. You can make a similar guard by sewing fabric around areas that experience a lot of friction. 

If you do not want to go with the do-it-yourself route, there are other chafe mats and guards that you can buy to keep your dock line from wearing out too quickly. 

However, even with proper chafe protection, your dock lines will eventually wear out and need to be replaced. These chafe guards simply are preventative measures that can extend the life of your dock lines. 

When to Replace Dock Lines

You will typically only need to replace your boat lines if you notice significant chafing or other types of wear on your boat lines, or if your boat line is not big enough for your boat. 

For example, a boat that is too short may result in more shocks to your cleats and deck of your boat, which may result in damage to your boat. 

When you are choosing new boat lines, there are a few things that you should consider, from size to length to style. 

You can get boat lines that are three-strand lines and braided lines. 

There are also several dock line sizes that you can choose from. You want a rope that is big enough to hold your boat and resist chafe, but you don't want it too big that it doesn't absorb shock.

Typically, you should choose a bigger rope for a bigger boat. It is recommended that you have a 1/8th inch diameter of rope for every nine feet of boat length. 

This means an 18-foot boat would need a 1/4th inch diameter rope. 

You should also choose the length of your line based on the length of the boat. The line should be about 2/3 of your boat length. 

Find the Best Dock Line Replacement Options Today

When your dock lines need to be replaced, you do not want to waste any time. It is important to get these replaced to protect your equipment from drifting off. Whether you notice the signs of a failing dock line or want to upgrade your lines, Better Boat can help!

We offer everything from boat cleaners to new ropes and accessories. Shop our whole catalog to learn more about our boat products and to find the best dock line replacements today. 

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