How to Make a Tow Rope [12]

Follow these easy steps to make a standard 7 metre long tow rope.

  1. You can buy all the necessary bits and pieces from a marine shop (These prices and catalogue numbers are from Whitworths winter catalogue)

    • 7m of water ski tow rope (cat 180927) at $0.65/m = $4.55
    • 1m x 6mm nylon covered shock cord (cat 181230) at $1.30/m = $1.30
    • 2 x 50mm stainless snap hooks (cat  43851) at $5.40ea = $10.80
    • Total Price = $16.65
  2. Melt the ends of the ski rope into points to make splicing easier
  3. Measure 250mm from the end of the ski rope and poke a pen or small stick through the weave of the rope
  4. Thread one of the snap hooks onto the pointed end of the rope and slide it down to the pen
  5. Now thread the pointed rope end through the hole made with the pen to secure the hook
  6. Make another hole 10mm further along the rope and pass the pointed rope end through, continue doing this until the rope end has been through 3 or 4 times
  7. Then open up the middle of the rope by compressing it and pushing the pen into the middle of the rope. Now push the pointed rope end up into the hollow until all the rope end is inside
  8. Finally stretch the rope out again to fix the whole lot together like a “chinese finger lock”
  9. Thread the remaining snap hook onto the shock cord before tying the ends together wit with a fishermans knot (look it up in a knot book)
  10. Splice the shock cord to the free end of the tow line
  11. Use electrical tape to bundle the two sides of the shock cord loop to prevent tangles

Because the rope will not support the weight of the hooks you should always keep one end attached to your boat or add one or two floats to the rope in case it is dropped overboard. You can use rubber bands to keep the rope bundled but I have seen ropes tangle when used on several occasions, so I use a small nylon bag with a draw string closure to keep everything neat and tidy and by stuffing the rope into the bag have never had any problems deploying it. (The shock cord end exits through a hole in the base of the bag)