Best Ropes for Commercial Fishing

The type of rope used in the commercial fishing operations that put the catch of the day on the menu at their favorite restaurant may not be of much interest to most people. But it is of the utmost importance to those who make their living and risk their lives in the commercial fishing industry. 

Uses of Rope in Commercial Fishing

Choosing the right kind of rope for commercial fishing lines and nets is essential for operational safety and efficiency. It helps prevent equipment failures, increase catch rates, and control costs by reducing the need for replacements. 

Most commercial fishing involves the use of nets, which accounts for more than 80% of all fish caught and requires more lines than any other fishing method. It’s also the most dangerous commercial fishing method.

It’s All About Safety

Working on a commercial fishing vessel is 20 times more likely to result in a fatal accident than employment in other fields, according to the Centers for Disease Control. In fact, commercial fishing is one of the most dangerous occupations, with about 300 fatalities per day worldwide. 

Television programs such as “Deadliest Catch,” “Lobster Wars,” and “Cold Water Cowboys” have acquainted the viewing public with some of the hazards commercial fishermen face. It can be very difficult to keep one’s footing on wet, pitching decks around the lines and cables and powerful winches used to pull heavy loads of fish from the sea, and snapping lines can lead to serious injuries and even death.

What to Look for in Commercial Fishing Rope

The following are important characteristics to be considered in selecting rope for use in commercial fishing.


Several different terms are used to describe rope strength:

  • Tensile (or breaking) strength—This is the average strength of a new rope, determined through laboratory testing, that puts the rope under tension and increases it until the rope breaks.
  • Working load (also called weight capacity or working strength)—This is a percentage of the tensile strength that reflects the maximum load that will provide a comfortable safety margin before the rope’s breaking point is reached. 

These measures apply only to new ropes in good condition. An older rope that has seen some use contains splices, or has been exposed to UV light, chemicals, or other adverse conditions is unlikely to have optimum strength.

At SEACO we use the term “working strength” to refer to the maximum load weight in pounds that will maintain an adequate safety margin.


A rope with at least some degree of elasticity will get longer when stretched or pulled. When that force is removed the rope returns to its original length. A rope with “elastic stiffness” will resist stretching when placed under load. 

UV Resistance

Ropes that are vulnerable to the effects of sunlight may become stiffer and rougher and lose working strength. For example, with prolonged UV exposure UHMWPE fibers can experience a strength reduction of up to 20% in less than a year. This can be a real concern in commercial fishing applications.

Rot and Mildew Resistance

Resistance to rot and mildew is a crucial property for ropes used in a marine environment.  Natural fibers are more susceptible to mildew and rot than synthetic fibers. Synthetic fibers are, for the most part, resistant to the effects of prolonged exposure to moisture.

Abrasion Resistance

Abrasion resistance is an important characteristic when rope is used in a way in which it rubs against itself or a rough surface. The friction and rasping action in such situations cause excessive wear that weakens the rope.


Durability is the natural result of choosing the right rope material and rope construction for the intended use, good rope maintenance, and proper rope use and handling. 

Rope Maintenance for Commercial Fishing

Good rope maintenance begins with choosing rope in the right material, size, and strength for the job and understanding its maintenance requirements. It also assumes proper use of the rope, such as not overloading it, keeping it away from caustic substances, not running it over a rough surface, and so on. Appropriate rope selection and proper use help ensure safety as well as rope longevity and the resulting cost savings and efficiency.

Efficiency is of the utmost importance in maximizing profit in commercial fishing. Well-maintained ropes decrease downtime and allow more fish to be caught in less time, enabling commercial fishermen to take advantage of the increasing global demand for seafood.

Best practices for rope maintenance include:

  • Drying wet rope before coiling and storing it in a relatively dry place
  • Coiling rope in the direction in which the strands are laid—to the right—and uncoiling it to the left, to prevent kinking and tangling
  • Inspecting ropes frequently for signs of exterior or interior wear, looking for “rope dust” and broken fibers
  • When rope is to be spliced, soaking the affected section in water to loosen the fibers and make splicing easier

There may be other recommended maintenance practices for specific types of rope.

Titanium Blutrace for Commercial Fishing

Titanium Blutrace is one of the strongest polymer ropes available. It has properties that make it ideally suited for use in the commercial fishing industry: 

  • Extreme working strength (83,500 pound for 2” diameter rope)
  • Abrasion resistance
  • High shock absorption
  • Minimal stretch and outstanding shape retention
  • Fully balanced and torque-free
  • Does not absorb water
  • Excellent resistance to oil and glass

Titanium Bluetrace comes in an aqua teal color with a double blue tracer, and in diameters from ¼” to 3 ¾”. For more information on ordering this rope contact us today

Poly-Dacron Rope for Commercial Fishing

SEACO offers poly-dacron safey rope, which has a high-tenacity polyester core and an outer cover of dacron. It’s a great choice for use in commercial fishing, as it doesn’t degrade in wet environments. It has the strength and abrasion resistance to serve well as rigging or safety lines, and its relatively light weight makes it easy to use.

We offer white poly-dacron rope with a blue trace in diameters from 3/8” to 2” in spools of from 120 feet to 1,200 feet, depending on the rope diameter. The strength rating runs from 2,800 pounds at the lowest rope size to 49,229 pounds at the 2” diameter. This type of rope will give you impressive performance at an affordable price.

Other Ropes Recommended for Commercial Fishing

SEACO offers a number of other ropes that can be very useful in commercial fishing.

  • Anchor line (nylon 3-strand rope) has impressive strength yet is relatively light and flexible, which makes it a good choice as spare rope for mooring or anchoring a vessel in calmer waters.
  • HMPE Dyneema rope (12-strand or double braid) may be your best bet for specialized applications requiring exceptional strength, lightweight, and minimal stretch. It’s ideal for deep-sea fishing or anchoring large vessels.
  • Double braid polyester rope’s high strength, low stretch, and excellent abrasion resistance make it a versatile option for demanding anchoring, mooring, and lifting tasks, such as net deployment and retrieval. It’s one of the strongest ropes SEACO sells.
  • Nylon rope (diamond braid, solid braid, or twisted). (UV resistant) – General-purpose applications like net deployment, securing equipment, and temporary mooring due to its affordability, moderate strength, and resistance to damage from UV light and abrasion. Twisted nylon rope, in particular, is an affordable and versatile option for net deployment, securing gear, and light mooring due to its good knot-holding ability and moderate stretch.
  • Polypropylene rope comes in a bright yellow that makes it highly visible. Its affordability and buoyancy make it suitable for temporary mooring, securing lightweight gear, or marking buoys. 
  • Braided polyethylene rope is similar to polypropylene rope but with higher strength and greater abrasion resistance. It, too, can be used for temporary mooring or lighter lifting tasks. 

Yale Cordage is one of the brands we sell, with many products made from state-of-the-art synthetic materials that are appropriate for use in commercial fishing.  

Buy Rope for Commercial Fishing From SEACO Today

Selecting the right rope for use in commercial fishing rests on considering these key factors:

  • The intended use(s) of the rope
  • The sea and weather conditions commonly encountered in commercial fishing
  • The rope properties and capabilities needed to accomplish the intended tasks
  • Your budget for the rope purchase

As a leading rope manufacturer, SEACO Industries offers a wide range of premium rope, twine, and cordage products. Visit our large online inventory, and get in touch with us right away for further details or for assistance in choosing the best rope(s) for your commercial fishing operation.

You can find our products in retail stores nationwide. We’re thrilled to be expanding our line in the shape of hanks and coilettes, bringing our trusted rope solutions directly to hardware, lumber, entertainment, building, industrial stores and more. Watch out for our eye-catching displays. Or you can order in bulk directly from us or through our dealer network, with same-day dispatch from strategically placed warehouses across the United States and Canada.

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