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What is a Spring Line and How do I Use One?

by Duncan Seawall

If you've invested in a boat, you'll surely want to take care of it from dock to water and back again. A spring line can be an excellent tool to have in your toolbox, and here are some tips to help you make the most of this item:


Related Blog: When to Replace Or Repair Your Boat Lift


What is a Spring Line?

To begin, you need to understand what a spring line actually is. In short, this helps limit the boat's forward and backward movement. A forward spring line connects from a stern cleat on the vessel to a cleat on the dock at a minimum of half the vessel's length towards the bow. This prevents aft movement. The opposite is to be applied to the aft spring line. The aft spring line is to be attached from the bow of the vessel to the dock with a line minimum of half the vessel's length towards the stern of the boat. This prevents forward movement. 


docking with spring lines


Where Do You Attach Your Spring Lines?

This type of line is attached to a cleat as a pivot point for any necessary maneuvers. You may attach your line at the bow, stern, in the middle of the boat, at the midship, or at the spring cleats. Ultimately, you'll want the force of the prop to make the boat rotate around your chosen pivot point, but it'll take practice.


What Else Should I Know?

The logistics surrounding your boat's upkeep can be complicated. Here is a list of things you should be aware of:



Make sure your cleats are sized appropriately and properly secured. You need at least four cleats: one on each side of the bow and stern. Many people find midship cleats useful, too, and if you have a boat over 20 feet, this is definitely something you should explore.



Lines are best when they are a bit longer than your boat. Nylon is an optimal material because it has a stretch that works well under tension and helps to reduce shock load. Go for a length that's a few feet longer than your boat.



As you leave the dock, run the line around the base of the cleat before bringing the bitter end on board. Cleat off the end or designate someone to release the line.


The Boat Lift and Dock Building Process

If you have more questions or concerns about your dock, boat, or other marine equipment, contact Duncan Seawall and we'd be more than happy to help and answer any questions you may have.

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