Often called “line” in the boating industry, boat rope serves many different purposes and comes in many different lengths, widths and materials. Any boat will need an assortment of these kinds of ropes.
Boat rope is either made of natural or synthetic fibers. These fibers are twisted, braided or plaited into yarns and grouped together to form strands. These strands are then twisted, braided or plaited into rope. The way in which the rope is twisted determines its “lay.” Rope can be right or left lay, and, depending on its intended use, it is usually either plain laid, plaited or double braided.
Plain laid line, also called three strand line, is made of three twisted strands. The strands can be twisted to the left or to the right, but they are most commonly twisted to the right. Braided line is usually formed by braiding three strands together. It comes in different construction types, such as hollow braided, stuffer braided, solid braided and double braided. The most common of these is double-braided, a braiding style that is usually constructed with nylon. In addition to nylon, materials used for boat rope include: polyester, dacron, polydacron, polypropylene and kevlar.
A well-stocked boat that is ready to sail safely needs many ropes. The boat will need at least six dock lines on hand (two bow, two stern and two spring). The length of these lines is determined by how and where a boater moors the boat. Anchor line, which most commonly comes in nylon and polypropylene, is an essential boat rope for any boat operator who does not wish to drift away without recourse. Another type of rope that is good to have around is general purpose rope, preferably polypropylene. Because it floats and usually comes in one or more bright colors like yellow, this type of rope is perfect for attaching to a life ring, inflatable boat or any other flotation device. It is also often used in water recreation, like waterskiing, tubing and wakeboarding. Other types of boat rope include: utility rope, mooring line, fender line, launch line, dock line and marine bungee cord.