During the off season, it is a good time to really inspect your dock lines. We use them regularly throughout the season, but most of us don't pay much attention to them. Spend a couple of days at an old crusty marina, for example, and do not be surprised to find wood splinters buried in the strands of the lines, often weeks later. We get under way, lines are coiled and placed out of sight in a locker, and we don’t think about them until the next time they are needed.
So, it is a good idea at this time of year to put on a pair of mechanic’s gloves, uncoil each dock line in turn, and carefully run them through your fingers to find and remove any foreign matter than inevitably works into the braided or three-strand nylon. Your crew's hands will thank you for it.
Once three-strand nylon line begins to unravel, it is essential to take action to stop it as you lose inches then feet off the dock line, and it is all but impossible to fix that. Whip or seal the line and cut off the loose strands.
As dock lines weather, they become stiff from exposure and salt crystals. Once a season, soak them overnight in a bucket of water mixed with fabric softener, such as Downy. This does wonders to clean them of dirt and restore the flexibility and feel of the nylon.
I do suggest that you rinse and dry the lines before recoiling them and putting them away. Unless you don’t mind that your lazarette smells like a laundry room.
Enjoy these other boating and cruising articles by Bill Parlatore:
- A Paradigm Shift In Cruising
- Consider Buddy Boating
- A Matter Of Staying Safe While Boating
- Should I Carry A Gun While Cruising?
- A Boater's 3-to-5 Year Plan
- Learning To Handle A New Boat
- What's The Best Cruising Boat?
- Boat Tools: A 4-Part Series
- Provisioning Your Yacht For Extended Cruising - Bahamas
- Provisioning Your Yacht For Extended Cruising - Alaska
- The Evolution Of The Trawler Yacht
- The Vital Yacht Broker