Best Ropes For Mooring Lines

Best Ropes For Mooring Lines | Life of Sailing

Last Updated by

Daniel Wade

April 11, 2023

Key Takeaways

  • A rope for mooring will help keep your boat safe, but you will need more than just one
  • Dock lines come in all shapes and sizes, so research is needed to find the best for you
  • Materials, diameter, and the length of the mooring line determine what works best
  • Nylon rope is the best material, so consider a nylon mooring line for your boat

When securing your boat, you need to make sure your dock lines are going to handle the job. But what is the best rope for mooring lines?

When choosing mooring lines, you should consider the material, diameter, and length of the rope. A twisted rope, square braid, or double braid made out of nylon or polyamide is best. Brands like INNOCEDEAR, LIROS, Kohree, and ACY Marine make great quality mooring lines using the best materials.

Mooring your watercraft securely requires strong ropes, but you do not have to spend a fortune. Thankfully, despite the abundance of options available, only a select few are actually worth your investment, saving you the hassle and expense of trial and error.


Table of contents

Best Mooring Lines to Consider

Dock lines are meant to keep your boat secure when tied to a dock, making them very important accessories for boat owners. Depending on the environment, you might need to have some of the best mooring lines possible without breaking the bank. Below you can see seven of the best mooring line brands to consider:



INNOCEDEAR offers double-braided dock lines made out of military-grade nylon, making them durable and shock-absorbent while also keeping your boat secure. Additionally, the damage-resistant fibers can withstand harsh weather conditions, saltwater, and sunlight.



LIROS delivers quality 24-plait coated cover and a braided polyester core. Its twisted twine construction provides high elasticity with over 15% working load stretch, while maintaining a balanced braiding and excellent handling.

This rope is super flexible, non-kinking, and has superb resilience against wear and weather. It also boasts the highest load capacity, up to 32mm in diameter.



Kohree's double braided ropes are ideal for harsh weather and waves when docking your boat. These nylon ropes are soft yet strong, absorb shocks well, resist abrasion and UV damage, and are suitable for salt water, oil, and rot.

They are also stretchable with excellent shock absorption, easy to handle, and do not spread out easily. The high-quality ropes have a tensile strength of 4,480 pounds and can handle working loads of up to 820 pounds. Each rope includes a 12 foot eyelet and heat-sealed bitter end.

ACY Marine Dock Line

ACY Marine Dock Line
ACY Marine Dock Line

Top-quality dock lines from ACY Marine are highly durable and tested to endure stress. With a unique 12 spliced eye for easy docking and stretching, it has UV protection to maintain appearance and is flexible and abrasion-resistant, reducing maintenance costs.



Jranter bungee dock line offers a great product with the use of polypropylene ropes. Their dock lines are strong and durable, featuring a bungee cord inside and a PE braided rope outside with triple stitch reinforcement at the ends. While these are ideal for small to medium boats, they can stretch out in a range of four to five feet, with slightly longer sizes available.

The bungee cord acts as a snubber, absorbing shock to protect boats, cleats, docks, and pylons. The loop design is easy to tie off to the dock, and the removable sleeve tube allows for a tight attachment to the cleat.

New England Ropes Mooring Line

New England Ropes Mooring Line
New England Ropes Mooring Line

New England Ropes company has everything you could possibly imagine when it comes to a selection of lines for you boat. They feature plenty of different options, such as diameter, colors, and even materials.

Their premium three-stranded nylon rope treated with Marine Tech coating, is a highly sought-after product due to its exceptional wet strength and improved fiber-to-fiber abrasion, making it one of their top-selling items.



For tough, all-weather rope needs, SGT KNOTS offers their Twisted Nylon dock line. Its 100% composition is the strongest widely used, outperforming natural fiber ropes in various applications no matter how tough the job is.

It is resistant to moisture, oil, grease, and chemicals, it withstands prolonged use in harsh conditions without rotting or decaying. The rope's impressive strength and elasticity guarantee optimal energy absorption, tautness, ease of use, and reliability. This is not only ideal for boats, but has been used on oil rigs, ranches, and more.

Why Use a Mooring Setup?

To secure a watercraft, either a shore fixture like a pier or an offshore fixture like an anchor mooring can be used based on factors like weather and water depth. Mooring lines, anchors, and connectors form the system's primary components, with anchors needed for offshore fixtures lacking onshore options.

Boat owners use these components to attach to a mooring fixture so they can park their boat. Without proper lines and a mooring system in place, boats are at risk of floating away and being damaged along the way.

What to Look for in a Mooring Line

To ensure the optimal performance of your boat, it is crucial to select the most suitable mooring line from the various types available. With numerous options to choose from, this can be daunting, particularly for beginners in boating. Nevertheless, being selective will help you find the right mooring line for you.

Materials of Mooring Line

Nylon is the preferred material for mooring lines due to its strength and ability to absorb shock and return to its original length. Nylon mooring lines are also highly resistant to abrasion, UV exposure, mold, and water. While it may degrade in high temperatures, this is unlikely to occur in a marine environment.

Size in Diameter

Mooring lines' diameters vary and it affects their performance. Typically, a mooring ropes’ size should be around 1/8 inch per nine feet of boat length. For example, a boat of 27 feet or less should use a 3/8-inch mooring rope, while a boat of 35 feet or less should use a half-inch rope.

Length of Mooring Ropes

To determine the right length of your mooring lines, you should consider using bow and stern lines that are around half the length of your boat. So if your boat is around 37 feet, then the bow and stern lines should be 18.5 feet. Spring lines should be at least as long as the boat, but can be longer, and never shorter.

Does a Mooring Rope Use Synthetic Materials?

A mooring rope would typically consist of polyester, polypropylene, polyethylene, or polyamide, often in combination with one another. With that being said, you should look into what type of material your mooring line is made with in order to get the best bang for your buck.


Polyester belongs to the group of polymers characterized by the presence of the ester functional group within each repeat unit of its main chain, making it a durable mooring rope material that stays strong under heavy loads and abrasion. It has a high melting point, low friction, and high elasticity, making it a versatile choice.


Polypropylene, derived from propylene monomers consisting of three carbon atoms and six hydrogen atoms, is a multifaceted plastic. This is also elastic, but has lower temperature resistance and may not perform well under cycling loading.


Ethylene molecules bonded in long chains make polyethylene, which is the most prevalent plastic globally. This mooring rope material is commonly used in small ropes for water sports like fishing and water-skiing.


This mooring line material is also called nylon, which is the most common used synthetic fiber with strong abrasion and temperature resistance. It is highly elastic, but loses around 10% of its strength when exposed to water.

Aramid Fibers

This material in a mooring line is resistant to melting or deformation at high temperatures, have low stretch but are strong, and can withstand significant tension before becoming fatigued.

High Modulus Polyethylene (HMPE)

With this mooring line material, it offers strength, low stretch, and minimal friction but may not perform well in high temperatures.

Liquid Crystal Polymer (LCP)

A mooring line made out of LCP shares these qualities but has better temperature resistance than HMPE and resists fatigue, abrasion, and deformation.

Different Uses of Mooring Lines

Proficiency in handling marine mooring ropes is crucial given the various mooring lines, enabling autonomous boat mooring in tranquil conditions. There are six types of lines you need to know how to tie, as well as find the right mooring line to use in those locations.

These are:

  • Bow (head of the boat)
  • Stern (back of the boat)
  • Forward breast (near bow, pull in boat closer to you, keep close to dock)
  • Aft breast (near stern, pull in boat closer to you, keep close to dock)
  • Forward/Head spring (secures boat from back and forth near the bow)
  • Back/aft spring (secures boat from back and forth near the stern)

How Many Dock Lines Should You Use?

To keep your boat secured at the dock, it is important to have bow and stern lines in place. Every boat, no matter the size, requires at least four dock lines, including one bow line and one stern line.

In some cases, two dock lines on each end of the boat will do the trick, as it will give you a piece of mind when parking your boat. These lines may be necessary depending on the dock and environmental conditions such as wind and currents.

To ensure smooth docking on either side while traveling, it is advisable to have two bow lines and two stern lines. Additional lines per side may be helpful for frequent travelers.

Taking Care of Your Mooring Lines

Mooring lines offer secure boat anchorage against external forces like wind and current. They are fixed attachment points between the moored boat and the shore or dock. The length of your boat rope will need to be checked periodically, in the event that your mooring line has been worn down.

When worn down, mooring lines can snap under pressure, endangering navigation and causing injuries or fatalities. Therefore, maintaining and replacing damaged lines promptly is crucial.

Mooring lines can still get damaged despite being sturdy. To ensure they can function as permanent dock lines, inspect them monthly for wear and tear. Replace any doubtful mooring lines immediately.

Chafing plagues most mooring lines, which results from repeated rubbing against hard surfaces or edges. To avoid chafe, use mooring lines carefully, avoiding sudden changes in line angle, and consider using chafe guards or abrasion-resistant guards.

To prevent further damage to mooring lines, avoid prolonged sunlight exposure and keep them away from heat sources, even if they are UV-resistant. Proper storage of your mooring lines is crucial for protecting ropes not only from the sun and heat but also from chemicals used on boats.

How Long Do Mooring Lines Last?

Rope lifespan is a popular meeting topic with no clear answer due to multiple variables that affect it. These variables include installation time, mooring hours, and regular visual inspections for damage, which some of these are typically out of the crew’s control. With proper experience, you can help increase the lifespan of ropes.

Replacing dock lines every three to five years is recommended for casual use, but depending on your setup and exposure to the elements these can change. Lines can deteriorate due to rain, mildew, and salt water, but regular cleaning can help extend their lifespan. However, lines may need to be replaced more often if you use your boat more and expose the lines to harsher conditions.

Type of Boat

The type of vessel determines the frequency of rope usage, the overall mooring arrangement design, cargo, and other factors. Boat length will affect how long of dock line you will need, causing you to use more and expose more dock line.

Design of Mooring Setup

Mooring arrangements can cause excessive rope abrasion if not designed properly, which highlights the importance of considering this factor during the vessel's design phase. Dock lines should not come in contact with other dock lines, as they will wear on each other.

Mooring Line Position

The unique mooring arrangement and frequent usage of spring or breast lines result in a shorter lifespan. So depending on where you put your dock line, it can affect how that particular line is used (stress, wear, and tear).

Boat’s Travel Span

The ropes of a vessel that has a longer sailing route will be used less frequently compared to those of a vessel with a shorter route. In other words, you could plan for longer trips to slow down the process of aging on your dock lines.

Setup at Ports

The condition of equipment and environment varies among ports, and poorly maintained equipment can potentially harm ropes. Furthermore, some ports utilize trucks to move ropes on the pier, leading to significant abrasion damage.

Storage and Environment

External factors such as weather, tide changes, wind, and the sun can all impact the lifespan of dock lines. In addition, improper storage of dock lines in dirty environments or constantly exposed to the elements when not being used will also affect the lifespan.

How to Prolong a Mooring Lines Lifespan

While some elements are out of the crew’s control, there are some actions you and your crew can take to help prolong the life of mooring lines. For ropes to last longer, it is vital to handle, install, and maintain them properly.

Crew members require in-depth training on manufacturer manuals and guidelines, and they should keep a watchful eye on mooring ropes. Regular inspections, on-board testing of residual rope strength, and close collaboration with the manufacturer are also essential.

Installation of Mooring Rope

For larger boat's that require an experienced crew, they must carry out installation following the manufacturer's instructions to avoid mistakes like incorrect drum winding and adding twists that weaken the rope, possibly causing it to break. A rotating platform can prevent twisting, while using two colors to mark the rope can aid in detecting any twists.

Routine Maintenance of Mooring Equipment

Maintaining mooring equipment is crucial to prevent fiber destruction on rough surfaces and sharp edges. Well-maintained Panama chocks are the most effective, whereas roller fairleads require more upkeep and can stop rolling. To enhance rope strength and lifespan, aim for a large D/d ratio, with OCIMF MEG4 recommending a minimum ratio of 15 for mooring fittings.

Treat Mooring Rope with Respect

To avoid damage, the crew should handle ropes carefully and adhere to the manufacturer's instructions. In addition, the crew should properly store all dock lines in a safe place away from the elements, chemicals, and direct sunlight.

Proper Usage

To ensure peak performance, use identical ropes in parallel positions. Different ropes can lead to unequal load sharing and reduce the lifespan of the rope with lower elongation. Length, diameter, mooring hours, construction, and design also impact this.

Further Protection of Ropes

Minimize rope damage with protective measures like a braided jacket covering the rope or purchasing separate chafe protection. These can greatly reduce the wear and tear of elements that are out of your control.

Best Ropes For Mooring Lines
Daniel Wade

Daniel Wade

I've personally had thousands of questions about sailing and sailboats over the years. As I learn and experience sailing, and the community, I share the answers that work and make sense to me, here on Life of Sailing.

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