Different Materials Used for Boat and Dock Cleats
When trying to choose the hardware for docking your boat, you need to be aware that there are a variety of cleats made from different materials available on the market. Each with its own distinct advantages and disadvantages.
Stainless Steel Cleats
Stainless steel boat cleats are also the most robust, durable, and secure. They are almost impossible to break and won’t rust or corrode, which is why they are one of the most comon dock accessories.
Aluminum/Galvanized Metal Cleats
Aluminum and galvanized metal cleats are not nearly as polished or shiny as stainless steel. However, if you are not worried about them winning awards for the prettiest cleats, as alternatives, these are still very reliable and cost a lot less money.
If you are new to boating or just don’t have a very generous budget to work with to warrant spending out on metal cleats, nylon cleats could be a good alternative. Although they may not look or feel as nice as metal cleats, they are still very reliable and will do the job you need them to.
Different Types of Boat and Dock Cleats
If you are new to boat and dock cleats or have only used one particular type, you may not realize that there are a variety of different styles of cleats to choose from. Therefore, before you decide to buy the same you always have or if you are not sure which you should buy in the first place, we have highlighted the most commonly available cleats below.
Standard Style Boat Cleats
This is the style of cleat you will see more than any other. They don't fold or stow, are solid, and stay in a fixed position. Most docks tend to use this style. They are popular because they are simplistic in design, easy to use, affordable, and effective.
Pull-up Boat Cleats
One particular style of dock cleat that is becoming more popular every year is the pull-up style. This is a robust, durable, and clean style that prevents snagging. Pull-up cleats are a bit more expensive compared to the more conventional option and have a different installation process.
Pop-up Boat Cleats
Pop-up cleats are very similar to pull-up cleats in their benefits and application. They stay out of the way when not in use, but are always ready to be deployed. The main difference is a pop-up cleat is spring-loaded and has a type of trigger that “pops” the cleat out of the deck or dock.
Helpful tip: Installing Pull Up and Pop Up Boat Dock Cleats
You first need to cut a hole to match the shape of the mounting base, then you need to reach from below and then install the nuts onto the bolts to secure the cleats in place. Although this results in a more secure and reliable solution, it can be a bit intense for the average boater to complete on their own. If concerned, your local marine tech should be able to help with the installation.
Folding or Flip-up cleats are similar in a lot of ways to pull-up cleats. The great thing is that when they are not needed, they are not in the way and won’t cause injuries or accidents. They also offer a distinct advantage over pull-up cleats as being a lot more affordable and do not require quite as intense an installation process.
Fender Cleats are one of the more popular accessories for boats. They are able to be installed in a small area and have a convenient quick-release allowing easy retrieving and deployment of boat bumpers. These cleats are not to be used for mooring but are perfect for holding boat bumpers. This is why they are also referred to as boat bumper cleats.
Rod Holder Cleats
If there are two things you can’t have enough of on a fishing boat, it's rod holders or cleats. It used to be an issue to decide whether to use gunwale space for rod holders or cleats but now with combo rod holder cleats you can have the best of both. These cleats mount like standard rod holders but have an integrated pull-up cleat that can be used for mooring or to hold boat bumpers.
Open Base Cleats
Most of the cleats we offer feature an open base cleat design, allowing for quick mooring with looped lines. The open base on the cleat means a looped line to be slid under the open base and looped over the top of the cleat, when pulled tight this will securely hold the boat to the dock. The only styles of boat and dock cleats that do not feature an open base are tie-downs, and chocks.
Replacing Boat Cleats
When replacing or upgrading cleats for your boat or dock there are some features to be concious of, including; mounting holes, mountingh style, and size.
Mounting hole locations are important when looking to find an exact replacement cleat that won't require new holes in your boat. Knowing the size of the hole and the spacing between them will allow you to find a cleat that will fit perfectly in your existing area. Most cleats we offer include detailed drawings that will provide the hole spacing details.
When a cleat is face mounted its as easy as unbolting the existing cleats hardware and reinstalling accordingly. When the cleat is recessed or has a backing plate its important to be aware of these details so your new cleat can match and be just as effective.
Make sure to beaware of both the size of the cleats and the base of the cleat. Have measurements of the cleat mounting area, and make sure your new cleat will fit and offer enough room to hold the lines. Also, be aware of the cleat base to decide if it will fit on the boat or the dock edge.
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Commonly Asked Questions about Boat and Dock Cleats
What’s the difference between a dock cleat and boat cleat? (show/hide)