Using Lines and Knots
All boat operators routinely use lines or ropes to secure the boat to a dock or attach it to a mooring post or buoy. Lines can be made of either natural or synthetic material. Each type of material has its strengths and weaknesses.
- Nylon rope is strong, stretches, absorbs shock, and resists rotting from sunlight. For these reasons, it is often used for tying up to the dock. However, nylon rope will sink, not float. It usually is not recommended for use as an anchor line.
- Polypropylene rope is inexpensive and will float, but it deteriorates quickly in sunlight. This type of rope usually is used as a ski rope and is not recommended for use as a dock line or anchor line.
- Other rope materials to consider include polyester and natural fibers such as cotton, hemp, and sisal.
Regardless of the type(s) of lines or ropes you use, make sure they are well-maintained. Store ropes dry, clean, coiled, free of kinks, and out of the sunlight.
Tying knots is an important skill for boat operators that improves with practice. Knowing how to tie knots securely will not only keep your boat and equipment secure when tying off to piers and mooring buoys but also may be crucial in an emergency if you are forced to anchor in open water during bad weather.