Nylon stretches and absorbs shock, which is good, but this stretching under tremendous loads also works the line against chocks and other contact points. Chafe protectors are essential on all lines — at a dock, mooring, or at anchor. At a dock, lines are liable to abrade against chocks, pilings, and the dock itself. Wise use of proper chafing gear is critical. Commercially available chafing gear such as Chafe-Pro is a good choice.

Tip: See our article, Prevent Line Chafe & Breakage On Your Boat, to learn ways to protect your line from chafe.

On moorings or at anchor, the line stretched over the edge of the rail can create sufficient heat to melt the line internally. Using hose to protect the line during a storm can encourage heat-related failure by not allowing water to cool the nylon fibers. Also, the plastic can melt, causing abrasion to the line.

One solution is to mount the cleats directly at the rail so the line won’t be worked against a chock. Another is to use polyester (Dacron) line, which has much less stretch but is far more chafe-resistant than nylon.

By using a polyester line from the cleat through the chock and then joining it with a nylon line (use two eyes) to the piling or mooring, you can get the best of both types of line — the chafe-resistance of polyester and the stretch of nylon.

An alternative is to use polyester sleeves, available at chandleries, to protect the nylon lines from chafe while also allowing water to reach the heated fibers.