Deck Line question

I’ve recently added deck-lines to my OT Dirago-12 which required me adding pad-eyes along the sides of the deck. No problem. and the lines allow me to use a bungie-net to hold junk to the deck. I do lakes and slow rivers.

Then I ran some 1/8" yellow poly rope with turnbuckles at the stern to tighten them up.

Again no problem other than I hated the look of the yellow poly.

Last saturday I loaned my Dirago to my ex-gf for a lake clean-up event as I prefer to clean the lake from my OK Scrambler SoT.

She found a picnic table floating and removed the deck-line to tow the table to shore. then I lost half the poly repacking the car. No biggie as i wanted to replace that with something better looking, maybe add some deck-beads too.

So, while reading up on Deck-lines, I notice that some of the descriptions state that the deck-lines should run from the bow to the front of the cockpit.

Why? Why not the full length of both sides?

Is it because people are afraid of entanglement when they try a wet-entry? Simple tradition? or is there another reason I am missing?

You can grab the cockpit
You don’t need to have perimeter lines go past your cockpit because you’ve already got something to grab hold of there (the cockpit rim).

My daugher just finished building her new boat and you can see the deck rigging stopping before and after the cockpit in the pictures on this page:


Check Sta-Set line
available at West Marine for a somewhat less, ahem, ghetto look.

Spray skirt?
I always assumed the lack of deck lines at the cockpit was to keep them from getting in the way while putting on the spray skirt, e.g. to keep them from getting tucked under the rand. But maybe that’s not it?

Also, deck lines should have a little give so they can be grabbed easily - very tight lines can be hard to grab with a gloved hand. Many (me included) use a short length of bungee at the end of the boat to tighten the lines slightly, while allowing enough stretch so you can easily get your hand (or foot, or paddle, whatever) under the line.

On adding the bungee . . .
I like to tie the bungee to the deck line several inches before the last pad eye, then lightly twist the perimeter line around it and run them together, through a deck loop and then tie onto the pad eye.

This makes the deck line taught enough (not floppy), while not relying on the weaker bungee to provide all the strength to the line.

The deck loop and the pad eye reinforce each other, making it less likely that a strong grab on the high-tension reflective cord will pull the fittings out of the deck.

See photos for detail.

When I do draws or similar strokes my hand is just above the edge of the deck. I wouldn’t want a line there.

That’s a nice rigging detail - I think I’ll have to borrow that idea.

I like the bungie/line idea
it’s much better than my turnbuckles which i will remove.

I’d make one change though.

My paddle leash is a piece of green nylon webbing with a bungie running inside. Both bungie and webbing are anchored at clip and velcro.

The bungie keeps the leash short enough to be out of the way and the webbbing is strength if i looose the paddle or need to use the paddle to pull myself to the boat.

So I’ll anchor the deck-line at the stern or bow and attach a bit of bungie to give slack to the line for grabbing but keep it taught enough to use.

I buy bungie by the drum so i always hace enough to replace old deck-bungie or make projects like this.

Sincem I have to fast today, I’ll spend my lunch hour walking to the surplus store and check out what they have for deck-lines.

I’m still thinking that the ‘end the deck-line at the cockpit’ is more tradition than use.

My old line ran past the cockput and I’d clip my sponge to that line, toss it behind my seat and then reach back for the carabiler on the line and pull the sponge forward to use it. it was easy to retreive and never got lost.

(Posted elsewhere)

– Last Updated: May-01-09 2:10 AM EST –

I can't be sure but I think this is the company I ordered the rope that I used for my reflective deck lines: .

This is an excellent company with excellent prices. I called their number and ordered online; got reflective, glow-in-the-dark line, but couldn't find it a while ago.

Sta-set on eBay
I had good luck buying 1/4" sta-set for perimeter line from Milwaukee Rigging through eBay. I’ll bet it’s more reasonable than from West Marine.


What I’ve always been told
was that perimeter decklines were originally for rescuing swimmers, so they’d have something to grab on to. That may explain why only the front of the boat would have them - you can see what’s coming next when they freak out.

Of my 3 sea kayaks, two (CD Caribou and Valley Anas Acuta) came from the factory with decklines fore and aft, and the other (BBK Recluse) had none at all. The Recluse has decklines forward of the cockpit now that I added, and the only reason there are none aft of the cockpit is pure laziness on my part (And, it started raining when I was putting the lines on, so I stopped at the forward ones).

That said, I have yet to find lines aft of the cockpit to be of much use, so I never added the aft lines.

A suggestion – if you like to paddle at night like I do, reflective decklines and bungees are great. Mine light up like daytime with a flashlight beam from 20 yards away.

For paddling ease
I’m going to reinforce the correct answer as it is getting buried by good thoughts, but not the true reason why deck lines do not encircle the perimeter.

Decklines running past the cockpit interfere with paddling and rescues. Imagine doing a wet re-entry and getting your leg caught in a run of deck line.Deck lines should have some slack so you can grab the with cold, gloved hands. Having them run the length means a lot of that slack will live in the largest span between fittings, which will be the cockpit area. If more fittings are placed next to the cockpit,how about scraping your knuckles against a deck fitting? Now a big boat like the Dirago, that doesn’t leave much room for deck lines. I don’t think my two points matter much for this boat as it is fairly low and impractical to do a wet re-entry.

Polypropylene rope isn’t the best choice for decklines as it is very sun sensitive. I don’t have hard facts, but leave poly rope outside for a year and it’s dead. Save it for throw bags and tow lines where sun exposure is minimal. Polyester is a better Poly choice for deck lines, but I think most users choose braided or kermantel nylon rope for deck lines.