Put the "ing" in your Boating

Call: 519-538-2887

Call: 1-519-538-2887

What is a rope? What is a line? What is the difference? Many boaters think that these two words are interchangeable--that a rope is a line and a line is a rope. This is not true.


 Rope is unemployed cordage. In other words, when it is in a coil and has not been assigned a job, it is just a rope.
 
On the other hand, when you prepare a rope for a specific task, it becomes employed and is a line. The line is labeled by the job it performs; for example, anchor line, dock line, fender line, etc.
 
For more information on ropes and lines, see our "Making Ropes Into Lines" e-Lesson. Learn how ropes are made, the different types of rope, what size and length to use for which lines on your boat, how to care for them, when to replace, how to prepare lines with eye-splicing, whipping and backsplicing, and much more is covered in the e-Lesson.

Comments (5)

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Even had some guest on board refer to variuos types of cordage as string,twine,tie-up stuff, dock rope, and even laces. Does anyone else have other names for this on board necessity?<br />Thanks Dawsons!

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If I have an actual piece of rope made i nto a necklace it then has a use. So it my necklace a rope necklace or a line necklace.

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Hello'i am confuse about ropes and lines will you please send me some tips to clear about it to me.

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Must we be so rigid with terminology to draw a strict rope on which is which? But seriously now, I see specific terms for specific things as very important everywhere - but especially in a hobby or sport like sailing. It shows respect for the...

Must we be so rigid with terminology to draw a strict rope on which is which? But seriously now, I see specific terms for specific things as very important everywhere - but especially in a hobby or sport like sailing. It shows respect for the item, the sport, and everyone who depends on accurate, efficient, and consistent communication. So I appreciate you starting this chat about line vs rope.
I have various "?" cut, maybe whipped, maybe spliced, and some even marked with their lengths - without specific purposes... only for potential purposes. I've always called these lines, the distinction being the moment I've cut or modified in any way. Do you think that's incorrect?
B-b-bad B-b-b-bunny

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This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

Thanks Bad Bunny. According to the definition, rope that has been assigned a job or purpose becomes a line; ie dock line, spring line, halyard etc. Unemployed rope, whether in a coil or ready for multiple jobs, is still rope. Doug

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