Which dock line is best?
You can’t just put a boat in park, turn off the engine and head onto the shore. You need to secure it in place first with a good dock line. There are two types of dock lines you should have — transient lines and permanent lines. Each has its own considerations.
The best overall dock line is the Innocedear Premium Navy Blue Dock Line Two-Pack. It’s made of tough nylon with a double braid, so you can rest assured that your boat won’t be going anywhere.
What to know before you buy a dock line
Transient vs. permanent
Transient and permanent dock lines are both required due to their differing functions.
- Transient lines are used when you’re away from your standard dock. They should be about two-thirds the length of your boat so you have more flexibility on objects you can dock to. They rarely have eyelets.
- Permanent lines are used at your regular docking place. They should be about half the length of your boat so they don’t take up more space than necessary and prevent your boat from drifting too far from the dock. They usually have eyelets.
Your dock line needs to be thick enough to withstand the weight of your boat as it pulls away. You should have a minimum diameter of one-eighth of an inch for every 9 feet of boat length. For example, if your boat is 45 feet long, you should have a line that’s five-eighths of an inch thick.
What to look for in a quality dock line
Dock lines are made from a variety of materials.
- Nylon is the main go-to for dock lines. It’s durable, flexible, ultraviolet- and fray-resistant and typically affordable. It doesn’t float though, so don’t drop it.
- Polypropylene is a cheaper alternative to nylon. It isn’t as resistant to UV rays, fraying and temperature changes. However, it’s still reasonably durable overall, and it floats.
- Polyester is a costlier alternative to nylon. It’s the most durable and resistant, but it’s stiff, making it harder to work with.
- Natural lines are also available, but they’re more meant for decoration than actual use due to low durability around water.
Eyelets are loops at the end of some dock lines that are used to quickly secure to cleats, whether on your boat or the dock. Some lines have eyelets on both ends.
Chafe guards are tubes made of various materials, including foam and leather. They are placed toward the ends of lines to help them resist fraying.
How much you can expect to spend on a dock line
They can cost as little as $10 or as much as a few hundred dollars. Short and thin lines shouldn’t cost more than $15, while the average line costs $15-$30. Lines costing $50 or more are extra long and thick.
Dock line FAQ
How should I maintain my dock lines?
A. Maintaining a dock line involves proper storage and cleaning.
- Storage is as simple as keeping it neatly coiled when not in use. There are several methods you can use to store it properly, including tying it to the lifeline so it can hang freely and untangled.
- Cleaning a line is also simple, but it takes more effort. To get rid of grime, scrub the line with a brush and some soap while you submerge it in warm water. Then, rinse it off with a hose and hang it to dry. To give it back lost flexibility, place the line inside a secured pillowcase and wash it with plenty of fabric softener inside your washing machine, but let it air dry.
How long does a dock line last?
A. If you maintain it as best as you can it should last for two or three years on average. If you use it hard and constantly, it may only last for roughly six months.
What’s the best dock line to buy?
Top dock line
What you need to know: This durable double pack ensures you won’t need to buy another dock line for a long time
What you’ll love: The line is made of double braided military-grade nylon. It’s also treated to withstand the damage of salt and fresh water, weather and sunlight. It comes in three sizes with shorter lengths also having smaller diameters to fit any boat’s needs.
What you should consider: The nylon and treatment make this line feel a little slick in the hand. A few consumers received a different size than they ordered.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Top dock line for the money
What you need to know: It’s a short line that’s great for quick tying.
What you’ll love: It comes in 4-, 5- or 6-foot lengths. An internal bungee cord gives it some stretch and snap back, plus it has eyelets at both ends for easy and strong security. Foam chafe guards protect the line and also float in case it falls in the water.
What you should consider: This is best used for short-term transient docking rather than permanent security. It can wear out after a few months if used heavily.
Worth checking out
What you need to know: This line has a medium length and diameter for a low cost.
What you’ll love: It’s 15 feet long and a half-inch in diameter. It’s made of multi-filament polypropylene for durability and flexibility, plus it has a chafe guard and eyelet on one end. It floats for easy retrieval, and it ships in a recyclable storage box.
What you should consider: A few purchasers had issues with fraying. Others reported a tendency for wood posts to leave splinters in the line.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Want to shop the best products at the best prices? Check out Daily Deals from BestReviews.
Sign up here to receive the BestReviews weekly newsletter for useful advice on new products and noteworthy deals.
Jordan Woika writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
Copyright 2022 BestReviews, a Nexstar company. All rights reserved.