Polyester, Polypropylene, Polyethylene and Polyamide mooring ropes
Nylon rope offers better strength than polyester and it stretches, which means it is better at handling shock loads in rough conditions. The biggest concern with nylon ropes is that they are prone to loosing their flexibility over time, does not float in water and loses some of its strength when wet.
Perhaps the most popular type of mooring line, polyester rope boasts similar strength to nylon but also offers fantastic resistance to ultraviolet (UV) rays and abrasion which means it is likely to last you many years whilst retaining its flexibility. The biggest downside to polyester is that it stretches very little and as a result does not absorb shock so extra care is needed when using this type of rope.
Sisal ((and other synthetic fibres)
Sisal rope is made from the yarns of the plant Agava Sisalana. The rope itself is strong but does not stretch well, which means it cannot absorb large amounts of shock. It also abrasive, which means it needs to be treated and handled with care. Sisal does, however, offer good grip and has great resistance to UV which will see it last many years, and even long if treat with preservers.
Other types of synthetic fibre ropes include hemp and manila. Due to synthetic fibres being a relatively new to the mooring industry, there are uncertainties when it comes to the longevity and application changes over time.
Steel wire lines are usually made up of 6 strands of steel wire wound in a spiral configuration. It boasts similar properties to a chain but it is lighter, making it easier to handle, whilst still maintaining the same strength. On top of that, steel wire provides greater elasticity than chain, making it better at absorbing shock. The biggest issue with steel wire is that it’s very sensitive to corrosion and because of that, it requires significantly more maintenance than other types of mooring lines and ropes.
Polypropylene is a popular alternative to nylon and can often be found at a cheap price. The rope floats in water, retains its flexibility over time and is resistant to rot, meaning it will last you many years. The downside to polypropylene rope is that it isn’t the strongest of mooring lines and it is susceptible to UV, therefore it’s best stored indoors to increase its longevity.