Rope versus Line

Some boaters mistakenly use these terms interchangeably.

You go to your marine supply store and buy a length of rope.  When you bring it aboard your vessel and put it to use,  it becomes a line.  Some example would be dock lines, halyards, sheets etc.  However, there are still some examples where rope is the correct term.  Two examples are the bell rope attached to the clapper of the ship’s bell and the bucket rope on the bucket.

Most lines today are made of synthetic materials.  The lines you will commonly find aboard are either laid, (three strand) or double braid construction.  A laid line is made of a number of yarns twisted into strands and then three strands twisted into the line.  Double braid consists of a braided cover over a braided core.

Braided line is stronger than the same size three strand and has less stretch.  I prefer nylon three strand for my anchor line due to the increased stretch.

Recommended reading:

In this e-Lesson, you will learn:

  • The Difference Between Ropes and Lines
  • How to Create Your Own Set of Lines – Dock, Fender and Anchor
  • Why you Should Have a Second Set of Dock Lines
  • The Length and Diameter Your Lines Should Be
  • What Rope is Made Of
  • How Rope is Made
  • How to Finish Your Ends with Eye Splices, Back Splices and Whipping
  • How to Care For Your Lines
  • When You Should Replace Them and What to Replace Them With
  • How to Store your Lines
  • Much More

Rope Line

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