Interested in learning more about your favorite tackle and accessories? Anglers and boaters rarely consider the tremendous effort required to design and manufacture the countless components that enhance our on-the-water experiences. Skilled craftsman build many of these essentials right here in Florida, and we wanted to learn more about the products they specialize in. We’re confident that you will be fascinated with what we uncover in our ongoing investigation.
Rope is loosely defined as an assemblage of fibers that are braided or twisted with the ultimate goal of increasing overall length and breaking strength. Dating back to prehistoric times, the first functional ropes were likely formed out of vines and plant fibers. Ancient Egyptians were one of the first known civilizations to utilize specialized tools to make lengths of rope, with water reed, date palm, papyrus and camel hair materials of choice. In today’s day and age, rope is manufactured with modern machinery and synthetic materials that offer incredible strength, durability and customization.
While capable of producing cordage in a variety of different materials…nylon is the traditional choice for mooring lines… While rope is used in a wide range of nautical applications from water skiing to sailing, mooring lines are what matter most to avid boat owners. With the numerous aspects involved in our pursuit of angling glory, dock lines often get tossed to the wayside without ever getting as much as a second look. Think about it…when securing your most prized possession, barely any thought is ever directed to your dock lines. They are there, you use them, but unless there is a noticeable problem you rarely ever inspect them. Fortunately, industry-leading manufacturers make it possible for you to not sweat the small stuff.
Established more than five decades ago, family owned and operated Miami Cordage is a leader in rope manufacturing and distribution. Located in the epicenter of boating and yachting, South Florida’s Miami Cordage produces fully customizable mooring lines for vessels of all sizes and styles. They also offer a full rigging house with custom chafe gear, tow bridles, tie-downs, chain, cable and galvanized hardware for private, commercial and government vessels across the Americas, the Caribbean and Europe. Furthermore, all of their products meet The Cordage Institute’s international standards, guidelines and testing methods, ensuring the highest quality finished products. An in-house, 100-ton testing machine verifies all breaking strengths.
Supported by the US Navy, NASA, the Panama Canal Authority, Carnival Cruise lines and the United States Coast Guard to name a few, Miami Cordage’s products have proven themselves in the harshest conditions and environments with some of the world’s largest and most valuable vessels. While capable of producing cordage in a variety of different materials including polyester and Dyneema®, nylon is the traditional choice for mooring and dock lines at Miami Cordage. The inherent elasticity of nylon helps to absorb shock and prevent damage to cleats on your dock and vessel. Miami Cordage can produce line with a 3-strand twist or 12-strain plait, as well as double braid, which is the most common manufacturing technique for mooring lines. Often referred to as 2-in-1 rope, double braided lines feature a nylon-braided jacket constructed over a nylon-braided core. The process is divided into several stages, as the initial fibers must be spun into yarn. Yarn is then twisted into strands and strands are braided into rope. The number of yarns per strand and strands per braid dictates the diameter of the finished product, making this process extremely in-depth and highly customizable.
The process starts with a delivery of pre-colored nylon fibers (Image 1). From here the 20 lb. spools are loaded onto a kreel (Image 2). A kreel is a frame that facilitates the build-up of large strands of yarn to a desired size. Dozens of spools of nylon fiber untwist simultaneously while a platform moves up and down to evenly distribute the yarn onto the bobbin (Image 3). From here the yarn is taken to a bobbin winder and wound onto a different braid bobbin.
Bobbins of twisted yarn are then placed on the core 12 strand machine that performs a choreographed braiding action (Image 4). The bobbins spin and dance around each other as the core takes shape. The finished core winds up a wheel and spills into a box until the desired length is achieved (Image 5). The completed core is fed through a differnet braiding machine. The bobbins’ oscillating pattern spins the yarn in opposite directions to form an interlocking braided cover around the core (Image 6). Once again the finished rope spills over into a storage container (Image 7).
Now the rope can be customized to a specific order. A whipping knot is formed around the bitter end to prevent the fibers from coming apart (Image 8). At this point a skilled craftsman can also create a splice to make an eye loop or insert chafe gear (Image 9). It’s really a matter of the customer’s personal preference. Once complete the ropes are stored on a spool and shipped to clients in every ocean around the world (Image 10).
Ropes are designed to be task specific, so be sure to use the appropriate rope with the appropriate breaking strength and load rating for the task at hand. With so much riding on the line, you owe it to yourself to utilize products from premium manufacturers with the highest quality standards and construction techniques. Anything less and you’re asking for trouble.