Neatness counts, especially because
itís also safer. Donít throw lines in heaps about the boat. Theyíll
kink, tangle or jam when you need them and you and your passengers are
likely to trip over them.
Get into the habit of coiling your lines when they are not in use, and
flemishing any lose ends on deck or dock. There is a good reason for
this (besides looking good): stepping on a loose line can be like
stepping on a marble, while stepping on a flemished line is like
stepping on a mat. It also protects your lines from unnecessary (and
unsafe) wear and tear and helps preserve the lay of twisted rope.
Twisted rope should be put into round coils. Right-laid rope, as most
twisted rope is, should be wound clockwise, while left-laid rope should
be wound counterclockwise. Preserving the lay of the rope in this way
will make for line that coils easily and plays out smoothly.
Braided rope has no preferred direction and often loops into figure
eights naturally. This will also run out smoothly.
Take three or four feet of line from the back of the coil and make three
turns around the coil. Pass a loop of the free end through the top of
the coil. Pass the free end through the newly created loop. Take the
loop over the top of the coil and pull the free end to fasten. The free
end should hang slightly longer than the coil so it can be located
Another method better suited for
storing the line in a rope locker is to double the end of the completed
coil to form a long loop. Pass the loop, in a clockwise turn, around the
head of the coil, passing the end of the loop under its own midsection.
Take another turn around the coil to the left of the first one and tuck
the end of the loop under this second turn. Pull tight so that the end
of the loop stands free and can be used as a hanger. Again, make sure
the free end hangs down a bit so it can be located quickly.
Chafing (repeated rubbing of an area of the rope against an abrasive
surface) will greatly weaken the line and make it unable to bear strain.
Protect the line from chafing by sliding a snug plastic tube over the
area that comes in contact with a dock or other surface. Alternatively,
cover the surface with a smooth, sturdy material.
Tying knots or hitches in the same place often will cause that part of
the line to weaken. Occasionally switch the line ends (like rotating
your tires) and try to tie knots and hitches in different areas of the
line. Prolonged exposure to rust, dirt, sand or mud deteriorates rope.
Any stiff or hard lines should be replaced.
Whichever lines you choose to use make sure they are kept out of the sun
when not in use, clean, unfrayed, dry and coiled neatly. Don't leave
knots in a stowed line for long periods of time. To clean rope, scrub it
with a solution of liquid soap and water. Dry completely before storing.
A line under tension, especially nylon line, can be a lethal weapon if
it, or what it is attached to, fails. The line will recoil with a force
that can cause serious injury and/or damage. Keep your lines in good
condition, replace them when worn and always monitor lines under stress.
Do not allow anyone to stand in line, or within 45 degrees on either
side, of a line under stress.