Maintaining Lines When the Season Ends

Getting your boat ready for winter is a sad but necessary thing to do.  Before you shrink wrap, removing items like life preservers, cushions, and anything in the fabric category is a must because you don’t want them to get moldy.  Mold is almost impossible to remove and it’s better not to get it in the first place.

Throughout the summer months, dock lines, fender lines, and anchor lines really take a beating when exposed to the sun and salt water.  By the end of the season, lines can be stiff and difficult to work with.  The best way to bring them back to life is to wash them.  I like to use fabric softener but I also heard vinegar is good too.

There are a couple of ways to wash lines.

  1. My dad used to put them in a five gallon bucket with fabric softener and let them soak for a couple of hours or more.  Then rinse them with the hose.  If you have lines with a lot of algae or slime, it’s good to power wash them first to get the gunk off, and then give them a good soak.
  2. The washing machine works great!  If you have short lines (under 25 feet) you can throw them directly in the washing machine if you have a front loader.  If you have a top loader, I would suggest putting your lines in a pillow case and tie a knot at the top so it doesn’t come out.  If your lines are longer (like anchor lines) or you’re washing a many at a time, putting each line in a pillow case is best because it can be a nightmare to untangle.  If you’re washing your anchor line, the pillow case is a good idea as well so that the shackle doesn’t damage your machine.

After they are nice and clean and smelling fresh, it’s important to hang them to dry completely before storing them away, especially if it’s in an airtight container.

As you know, lines  can be costly and taking care of them will make them last a lot longer!