What is marine rope?
Marine ropes have a wide variety of applications, including competitive yacht racing, leisure yacht sailing, dinghy sailing and mooring. They are designed to operate in wet conditions, so have very specific properties.
We stock a range of marine rope, including dinghy and mooring lines plus yacht ropes. Read our product information pages for more details or feel free to call or email us at Access Ropes with any questions you may have.
You are assured of their high quality and safety standards, plus free delivery is available with all orders within the UK.
What is the best rope for marine use?
Most marine ropes are now made from synthetic fibres such as nylon, polyester, polypropylene or Dyneema (or equivalent UHMWPE) instead of the traditional hemp rope or heavier chain constructions.
Polyester is very popular as it has a low price point, great strength even when wet, and high abrasion resistance. It has a low co-efficient of friction, however, the drawback is that it is not hydrophobic and doesn’t float. It also has too much stretch to be used in boat racing. Polyester rope is often used for anchor lines in a twisted construction. For mooring ropes and rigging, a braided polyester rope is preferred.
We offer a 3-strand polyester line that is smooth and soft to handle when wet, plus easy to splice. It is a general-purpose rope that works well as a mooring rope or general boat rope. This marine rope is part of the Southern Ropes range; it comes in three colours and exceeds BS EB 697:1995 standards.
Nylon rope has a higher degree of elasticity than polyester, making it better for shock absorption which is useful when working against the force of waves or wind. It is also flexible, easy to handle and UV resistant so works well in direct sunlight. The problem with nylon rope is that it does weaken when wet, so over time its breaking strength will decrease; if used for anchor lines or similar purposes, you may need to replace it quite often. Three-strand twisted rope is the best choice for nylon anchor lines but braided lines will also work.
Nylon rope also works well for docking or mooring rope thanks to its stretch and strength properties and its easy splicing.
Our three-strand Nylon Rope is a multi-purpose cord that is commonly used for mooring and anchor lines or in towing. It complies to British and Europe standards BS EN 943:2002 and comes in white, navy or black and is cut to request. Both our polyester and nylon multi-purpose rope have the same price points.
Polypropylene is frequently used as safety lines and for towing dinghies or small boats, as it floats, is pleasant to hold and is relatively lightweight. It is not as strong as a polyester marine rope but is more affordable to produce. It is almost as strong as the nylon lines but if you are operating under the sun’s rays frequently, a polypropylene rope will not be as durable as it has lower UV resistance and slightly lower abrasion resistance properties.
UHMWPE, or ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene lines have become more popular for marine operations in recent years and has replaced chain links and wire rope. It is hydrophobic, is able to float, remains very tough at low temperatures and has a high loading capacity. UHMWPE rope has a high strength per weight ratio and excellent fatigue and abrasion properties however it is not a great choice for working high temperatures as the maximum working temperature is 65degrees Celsius.
Both our Superbraid and Superspeed yacht ropes from Southern Ropes have UHMWPE cores with polyester sheaths giving you optimal strength and control. They are exceptionally low stretch and are available in a range of colours and diameters and at your chosen length.
Marine rope construction
When looking at the construction for marine rope you will find single braids, double-braids and twisted rope construction. Braided rope is formed by plaiting together fibres so they form tube-like braids. Twisted rope is created by twisting fibres into strands, and then twisting these strands again into rope.
Three-strand twisted ropes are the most common type. These cords will be better for splicing, usually less expensive and have more stretch than a braided construction. One problem with twisted rope is that they can be prone to kink and are not as flexible as their braided counterparts.
Single braid means that there is a parallel core covered with a braided sheath, giving it flexibility while ensuring it doesn’t kink. Single braid boat ropes are best used for large dock lines, such as a braid anchor rope.
Double-braided means that both the core and the cover are braided, so they are easier and more comfortable to handle. They are best used for boat rigging lines. The material used with either form of braided marine ropes will vary, and the core may have different material than the sheath.
Twisted rope gives you the highest degree of stretch and has a higher minimum break strength, so it is very versatile in its use. Marine ropes with a twisted rope construction are used in mooring, docking and for tow lines.
There is no 'best' construction when it comes to marine ropes, it all depends on their purposes. A mooring rope will need to operate in a different way to a rigging rope or a sheet-line. If you would further product information on braids or any of the marine ropes on the website please contact us.
Marine rope categories
A marine rope comes in various different categories.
Dinghy rope is a marine line that is used for small sailing boats. It is a generic term that refers to a wide range of different ropes that are used in sailing, most typically in the control lines of a sail. Dinghy lines include mainsheets, halyards, jib sheets, kickers, outhauls and sail ties.
As most dinghy ropes are operated by hand, both comfort and grip are extremely important so we have purposefully selected only lines that are easy to handle, so they can be used securely in racing conditions.
Choosing the right rope brands and constructions for each specific use while sailing is essential for both safety and performance reasons, so it is worth researching and testing out which rope works best for you and your boat.
We currently stock two types of Dinghy rope - mainsheet and floating rope. Both products can be custom cut to size and all orders come with free shipping in the UK.
Broadly speaking, yacht rope is any marine rope that is used on large sailing boats. However, there are several different types of yacht ropes, each of which has its own particular purpose. The most common categories you will come across are rigging lines and mooring lines.
Running rigging ropes are those which are used to adjust and control the yacht sails. They determine the shape and position of your sail, and comprise of halyards, downhauls and sheets. Halyards pull up the mainsail, and downhauls lower it, while a sheet controls the individual sails when you are sailing.
Standing rigging rope is one that offers stability to stationary objects such as the mast. These are referred to as stays. Either a forestay or a backstay, depending on whether the rope runs from the mast to the front or back of the boat.
A painter rope is a rope that is attached to small boats or dinghies. It usually ties onto a loop on the bow of your boat and can act as a tow rope or links you to a launch trolley if needed. These cords are also used secure boats or kayaks to docks or moorings.
For rescue boats, two painter ropes are mandated for safety reasons. One has to be secured at the forward end of the lifeboat with easy to release knots or connection mechanism. The other line must be secured on the stem of the boat and both ropes are required to have minimal stretch and good grip properties.
We stock painter ropes, tow ropes and rescue ropes from different brands that can be used in various situations. Visit our product pages on the website, or call or email us for more product information.
A floating rope is any rope that floats when in water. It is most commonly used as a piece of safety equipment, in water rescues, and in mooring boats or towing in wet conditions, however it can be used whenever you need a lightweight marine rope that won't absorb water. Typically a floating rope is a polypropylene rope, and this material is chosen because it doesn't absorb water, unlike nylon or polyester. You will find that a floating safety line is now mandatory in many racing conditions and an essential part of any boat kit. This marine rope is versatile and makes a regular appearance in marine and fishing industries thanks to its impressive performance when wet, and its low price per metre.
Our Southern Ropes Floating Rope comes as a 30 metre, bright orange, braided polyethylene. This is ideal for use as a throw line or as a painter or dinghy line.
Our floating rope for water rescue is available in three different diameters and is made from multi-filament polypropylene. It is light enough to float, and the bright yellow colour with red flecks give it excellent visibility. Additionally, it is great value for money.
Mooring lines or anchor lines are, as the name suggests, marine ropes used to moor your yacht. They will tie your boat to a pontoon and may also be referred to as dock lines. Fender lines are also used during mooring; they prevent a boat from continuously moving and hitting the dock, which could result in damage to your vessel.
Instead of the traditional hemp rope, most mooring rope is now made of nylon, polyester or UHMWPE. Some rope has a combination of these fibres to bring you the best properties.
Our 3 Strand Nylon Rope and 3 Strand Polyester Rope are both ideal choices for fender lines when docking. These ropes are very resilient and abrasion-resistant while being flexible and easy to splice. Both these rope options come in a variety of diameters, each giving you a different break load, and the length can be custom cut accordingly.
Water Safety Equipment
At Access Ropes we offer a range of high quality, rescue lines at a reasonable price and our reuse products include life rings, life ring housing and throw lines, all of which conform to the highest safety standards. They come with the appropriate length, quantity, diameter and coloured flecks to support you in any situation.
Please do not hesitate to call us today and speak to one of our rope experts who have considerable experience within the industry. They will be able to advise you on any of our products and find the best rope to meet your needs.
We are continuously working to ensure our products are very reasonably priced, passing our savings on to our customers. All orders ship with certification and free delivery in the UK.