Having Good Rope Is Important

There is a lot of cheap crap out there.

Personally, I have never cared for the plastic stuff and I have used rope as big as 1 1/4″ before as part of my job at several points in my life.

I have also seen that same 1 1/4″ rope break under load before.

I have seen 1 1/4″ Nylon rope stretch, start smoking and basically melt in half before also while towing a huge Dredge up the Columbia river against an outgoing tide. It gets hot from stretching and the strands rubbing on each other under an immense strain.

Once it starts smoking it’s pretty much a done deal if you don’t take the load off immediately.

It ain’t pretty. It’s like a giant rubber band and you don’t want to be behind either end of it when it goes. Luckily the tug boat I was on had a metal cab. The rope snapped and came straight back to the cleat behind the cab as I was standing in the doorway watching it.

Three feet from the cleat.

It came shooting straight back and slammed up against the back wall and all at once there was 150 feet of inch and a quarter rope on the deck that wasn’t there three seconds earlier.

I just barely reacted fast enough to duck behind the metal wall.

I also had to cut another one because the strain was literally trying to pull the huge cleat off of the metal deck.

No axe.

I reached out very carefully with a brand new Old Timer 4 inch folding knife and just barely had to push the edge on the rope.

It actually exploded.

An inch and a half thick Manila tow rope that had 200 feet of 30 inch pipeline on floats tied to the side of a dredge.

The same scenario, towing the Dredge up the Columbia against an outgoing tide.

You can’t imagine that kind of load.

It knocked me backwards onto my ass, twisted the blade sideways in the knife and there were little fluffy pieces of rope like Dandelion heads floating in the air ten feet around me.

I was young and dumb boy but I’ll never forget that one.

Do your homework and get good rope.

Your life just might depend on it sometime.

9 thoughts on “Having Good Rope Is Important

  1. Where was this image taken, Inchon South Korea? I once read they have the
    the world record for tidal variations. No amount of rope will save a large fishing
    vessel, a large motor yacht, cargo ship, oil tanker!


  2. Similar tales from the logging biz. Choker setters learn early on about where and how far a snapped steel cable can whiplash to. If they don’t learn and observe it, their life expectancy is not real good.


  3. I’ve got some decent line that I grabbed from the ship when they were getting rid of it. Wife asks what I need it for. My answer is you always need good rope, especially when you don’t have any.


    • Had a tugboat hawser snap just as my team was getting ready to board for a ride to inspect a big ole tanker. One foot to the left and I would be missing both legs.


  4. Is it COINCIDENCE that the good rope post immediately precedes the post about the congresscritters playing politics over a so-called aid package?

    Because in my twisted perspective one may provide solutions to the other.


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