Coated Chafe Gear Tested


Assuming the COVID-19 restrictions allow us to launch this season, we have another worry on the horizon—hurricane season, which means chafe gear. Recently we got a hold of a new anti-chafe product, and a prototype from Chafe-pro, whose products have performed well in past tests.


If you have a super yacht and like to keep everything just so, think of the chafe-mat as an industrial version of a mechanic’s fender guard. Drop one over each cleat to keep dock lines from cutting a groove in the gel coat. A pad of rubbery material on the inside keeps it from swaying, bolstered by weighted hems that keep the edges from flapping. The aren’t cheap—$85 standard or $125 with custom embroidery.

Bottom line: Fine idea, but a bit pricey compared to other conventional options (or a DIY solution). If we ever own a boat that justifies the Chafe-Mats we’ll buy a set, quit magazine writing, and head off to the islands full time.

Coated Chafe Guards

Although coated chafe guards are not common on cruising boats, a commercial version of the Chafe-pro’s coated chafe guards are used on tugs to protect 2- to 3-inch Dyneema lines where they pass through hawseholes.

To make the coated chafe guards, a rope-specific polyurethane coating is squeegeed into the webbing and the webbing is placed on a mandrel while it dries to prevent it from curing flat. Rope-specific polyurethane coatings have a proven ability to increase wear resistance by 10 times when applied to nylon and polyester rope.

Made from several layers of the same materials used on smaller guards, they are polyurethane impregnated with Velcro closures and straps.

Small diameter Chafe Guard

We also looked at a smaller-diameter prototype. Although considerably stiffer than regular Chafe-Pro webbing, these would work for mooring pendants and storm prep on larger boats. We’re still testing the 1- to 1 ½-inch size prototype.

You could, of course, make your own. Buy some Chafe-Pro Webbing, coat it with Flexdel Rope Dip or Yale Maxijacket and you will have the most chafe protection money can buy, at least for now. We’ve used both for years and swear by them.

Darrell Nicholson, editor of Practical Sailor, grew up boating on Miami’s Biscayne Bay on everything from prams to Morgan ketches. Two years out of Emory University, after a brief stint as a sportswriter, he set out from Miami aboard a 60-year-old wooden William Atkin ketch named Tosca. For 10 years, he and writer-photographer Theresa Gibbons explored the Caribbean, crossed the Pacific, and cruised Southeast Asia aboard Tosca, working along the way as journalists and documenting their adventures for various travel and sailing publications, including Cruising World, Sail, Sailing, Cruising Helmsman, and Sailing World. Upon his return to land life, Darrell became the associate editor, then senior editor at Cruising World magazine, where he worked for five years. Before taking on the editor’s position at Practical Sailor, Darrell was the editor of Offshore magazine, a boating-lifestyle magazine serving the New England area. Darrell has won multiple awards from Boating Writer’s International, including the Monk Farnham award for editorial excellence. He holds a U.S. Coast Guard 100-ton Master license and has worked as a harbor pilot and skippered a variety of commercial charter boats.


  1. What about using fire hose? I have read about using old fire hose, but at a yard sale I found a coil of new fire hose. I grabbed it fast, although I doubt anyone else there had the same potential use as I have.

  2. I have used the same fire hose chaff gear for over 20 years!!! In Central America, South America, at the dock in the Sacramento Delta for over 10 years with crazy boat wakes. It’s good stuff. Nice to see somebody working on some alternatives though. Maybe do some comparison testing. That’s what Practical Sailor is really good at too 😎

  3. Vinyl tubing is absolutely the most bang for the buck and lasts for a decade or more. Vinyl tubing around 1/8” larger ID than the rope OD is best. Pull the rope through as opposed to attempting to push it through. Get out your sailing palm and needle and sew the inboard end of the vinyl tube to the rope. You’ll have no chafe whatsoever through the sharpest fair lead . Btw why can’t hardware makers actually round out the inside edges of hawse pipes ?

  4. Vinyl tubing is not normally recommended. It doesn’t allow water in a storm to penetrate and cool the line. As nylon lines are stretched and retract they generate heat which will cause them to fail.


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