Volume 16 Number 9 September 2003

The DockMate is a simple white rubber loop attached to a telescoping aluminum pole.

Easier Docking; Happier Marriages
We suspect that a major source of friction between boaters and their wives/Significant Others/lady friends is the fact that a conventional boathook is very poorly designed for snagging a dockside cleat or piling. And it seems the job is often assigned to the fairer sex.

DockMate can go a long way toward smoothing things out. It was originally made by Shoreline Supply, PO Box 99, Crystal Lake IL 60039, 815/477-2927) which apparently no longer exists. You may be able to find it(or something like it) at a marine supply house. If not, make one yourself from an old boat hook.

DockMate is, essentially, a telescoping aluminum pole with a 12” inside diameter white rubber loop attached to the pole’s business end (the other end has a typical boat hook’s handle). The loop itself is formed of ½”-thick rubber—thin enough to slip under most dock cleats, and quite strong. The manufacturer claims a tensile strength of 900 pounds—we can’t be sure of this, but it held the weight of a 200-plus-pound tester with no signs of difficulty. The pole extends from 3’ to 6’ (with the usual twist-to-lock arrangement). The loop, we found, worked like a charm for snagging and holding cleats and dropping over pilings. The soft white rubber of the loop also made for easy fending or pushing off: non-slip and non-marking.

If we had a quibble about the DockMate, it’s that the loop can take up a fair amount of storage space. That’s easy enough to deal with, though—a hook-and-loop strap or even a heavy rubber band will make it into a reasonably sized bundle. And, although the manufacturer characterizes the natural rubber loop as one that “withstands sun and salt water,” we’d recommend that the bundled loop end be slipped into an opaque bag for long-term exposed storage.

We’ve seen too many cases of UV causing degradation of rubber, and we suspect the DockMate is something you’d want to keep for a long time. At an MSRP of $39.95, it can be a lot cheaper than a divorce.

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