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Dock line shock compensator

Dock line shock compensator

I take pride in the fact that when I leave my trawler secured at the dock, it will stay that way. I use more than the required number of lines — of the correct diameter and length — and properly secure them to the dock cleats. When I tie up to the floating piers at our marina, the boat is snug against the fenders installed on my dock.

 Within a few days, however, the lines stretch due to current and wind action, which leaves me a bit too close to my neighbor and allows the boat to bounce off the fenders. Although properly set dock lines will absorb some forces, they eventually will stretch beyond their ability to fully retract, leaving your boat loose in the slip. As the lines continue to stretch, they allow a greater range of movement, therefore exerting additional strain with each jolt or jerk.

 

Taylor Made Products’ DockGuard mooring line shock compensator offers a solution to this problem.

When fitted to your existing dock lines, the DockGuard is designed to absorb shock loads and compensate for sudden jerking and jolting by stretching and retracting, which eases the strain on both your boat’s deck hardware and the dock fittings. Once the excess strain is relieved and the DockGuard retracts — for example, as wind or current subsides — your dock line will be the length at which you set it.

To install the DockGuard, begin by feeding the bitter end of your dock line through one end of the DockGuard, wrap the line around the body, and route it out the other end. Tie up your boat in the normal manner and let the DockGuard maintain line tension. You can compensate for anticipated conditions by varying the number of line wraps around the center body — one wrap for calm conditions or a maximum of three wraps for more severe conditions.

The DockGuard is compression-molded from isoprene, a natural rubber that is extremely elastic and allows the product to stretch more than twice its length without damage, according to Taylor Made. The main stress points on the mooring line shock compensator are the ears where the line passes through, and these are reinforced with injection-molded plastic encased within the isoprene rubber. After feeding the line through the ears, the line is locked in place with a hard pull, assuring that the compensator remains securely in position.

I realized that if the manufacturer claims were accurate, finding the limits of the DockGuard mooring line shock compensator may be difficult. So I chose to try it on a friend’s 40-foot trawler, using the line setup as it would be for my 21-foot center console. I used the DockGuard designed for 3/8-inch-diameter line and set it for heavy conditions by taking three wraps around the center section. The trawler was secured to the dock using only the 3/8 line incorporating the DockGuard. Heavy wind action assisted by several people pushing the boat off the dock succeeded in moving the trawler 1-1/2 feet off the dock while stretching the DockGuard only 2 inches (due to the line’s angle to the dock). When released, the boat gently returned to the dock. There were no jarring or abrupt movements when the boat returned to rest against the dock, and no sudden stop as the line tensioned while moving off the dock. The fact that your dock line is wrapped around the DockGuard and not just attached to the ends provides added security in that if the product were to fail, your boat would still be tied to the dock. Installation requires 30 inches of 3/8-inch line, allowing you to use your existing dock lines.

The DockGuard mooring line shock compensator is a worthwhile addition to your boat’s equipment inventory, in my opinion. It’s available for 3/8-, 5/8- and 3/4-inch-diameter lines, and in several colors. It can be purchased from marine chandleries and online distributors, where I found it priced between $28.95 and $49.99 depending on the size required and the retailer.

For more information, visit the Taylor Made Products Web site at www.taylormadeproducts.com