Securing Your Vessel: Cleats, Bits, Chocks and Bollards

lovely boat in a marina

In the early stages of your nautical career, you are going to be asked to tie a boat to something sturdy to secure it in place and stop it floating away. Vessels and docks feature specific fixings for this very purpose, so we will take a look at four of the most common marine supplies for securing a vessel, which you will need to use aboard your boat.



These are plastic, metal or wooden fixtures that can be found on both docks and vessels. Their shape resembles a wide and short capital ‘T’. The closed type has a solid base, while the open type has two closely-spaced legs in the middle. The best method of tying a cleat is to use a hitch at the end of the line. Cleats come in a huge range of sizes; some are as small as your little finger, while some are as big as your entire leg.


These are solid columns which are sometimes square and sometimes cylindrical. They feature a cross bar of a smaller diameter, making the unit resemble a lower-case letter ‘t’. They are extremely strong, and tie with a hitch around the cross bar. Bits are usually near the bow and stern of a vessel and can sometimes be found on docks as well.


These fixtures hold a line, rather than functioning as a tie point. They are usually found near a cleat, holding the line in position to prevent it from moving laterally and abrading. They are flattened loops with a narrow opening on top, where you can add or remove the line. They come in many shapes and sizes, like cleats, but are usually only found on vessels.


These resemble short metal mushrooms. They are found on large ships and docks, but almost never on smaller boats. They are designed to have a loop from a line placed over the top, with the slack taken up at the other end. This keeps the line tight, stopping it from slipping over the top.

Tying methods differ for each of the above fixtures, and each offers differing levels of security to suit different vessels and water conditions. If you need any of these, or any other marine supplies, such as water finding paste or hose repair kit, please don’t hesitate to contact us and we will answer any questions you may have.