Replacing Deck Lines

I replaced the reflectorized deck lines/perimeter lines on my kayak because they were five years old and they were tied so tight it sometimes made it difficult to grab them for rescues. Now I wonder if they are too loose. Just how tight/loose should they be? Also, I’m having some trouble tightening/loosening the fittings, but it doesn’t seem to be interfering with the process.

What your kayak most-likely had installed in a line called “glo-cord” made by Sterling Ropes. This stuff stretches a lot when it first gets wet, but then shrinks even more when it dries. A lot of times, kayaks that started with decklines at the correct tension end up with lines that are extremely tight after shrinking. Ideally, you want lines that you can easily get your hand under when you’re in the water, but no looser… Looser lines are more likely to cause tangling or catch on stuff. The best way to guarantee this is to wet the new deck lines completely then dry them out completely before you put them on the boat. The lines should then be close to the final length and you can thread them through like normal. Keep in mind that the lines will likely stretch again once you’re out on the water, so you should recheck tension once you’re out paddling. I’d also recommend tying the stopper knots at the end of the lines but leaving a 2-3 inch tail beyond the knot. Paddle with the deck lines this way for a few outings and make sure the lines are where you like them and aren’t going to shrink or stretch anymore before cutting off the tail. Otherwise, you’ll have to throw out all the line if you figure out you’d like it a bit longer.

Hope this helps.

Add wooden balls
String some wooden balls onto the deck lines to keep them lifted off of the deck:


Yes, this helps
I think the lines are a little loose now, but I wanted to try them out this way before cutting off too much. I think when I retie them a little tighter, I’ll have the 2-inch or so tail you suggested. I may also put a couple of wooden beads on, too, at least on the front to make it easier to stow paddles, as mentioned below.