Anchor & Docking

How to Pick a Boat Hook Pole

How do you pick a boat hook?

In today’s article, we’ve listed all the frequently asked questions about boat hooks. What are the types, its uses and tips on how to dock/undock correctly?


This may be a question that you often ask yourself. For starters, a boat hook is a piece of boating equipment that can help you in many ways.

You can use a boat hook for docking, undocking, testing water depth, or grabbing something out of the water.


dock cleat

Those hooks are known as cleats where dock lines are tied. They have a sturdy base with two noticeably protruding fangs or teeth that grip the dock line, once it’s been wrapped around. In turn, it helps your boat stay in place.


Boat hooks were designed to assist boaters when docking and undocking. They’re used to pull yourself into the dock, to push, pull and grab ropes so you can attach your boat to a mooring buoy or to jetty posts. However, they can also be used for other activities.

Boat Hook Uses

  • Fishing objects out of the water – things falling in the water is normal when you go boating. That’s why a boat hook is a useful gear to retrieve your belongings if an accident happens.
  • Testing water depth – since heavy-duty boat hooks can extend up to 14 feet, you can use it if you want to test the water depth.
  • Reaching or passing objects – need something from the other side of the boat? A boat hook can help you reach or even pass an object to another person.


There are various types of boat hooks that you can buy at boat shops or even online. But for this article, we’ll focus on the five most useful boat hooks that you should purchase.

One-piece Boat Hook

A one-piece boat hook is usually 6 ft. long and stronger than other types. It’s made from aluminum tubing with a comfortable non-slip handle that provides a solid gripping surface. 

Just like other boat hooks, it also has a plastic tip that can be used for pushing while undocking, and a locking ring for pulling ropes when docking.

Telescopic Boat Hook

This variety is more convenient than a one-piece boat hook. From 4 ft., a telescopic boat hook can extend up to 8 or 12 ft. long depending on your desired length. It also features a twist-lock to make sure that it won’t collapse while docking and undocking your boat.

Paddleboat Hook

The paddleboat hook is very handy, especially for personal watercraft and small boats. It’s almost the same as the telescopic boat hook – expandable and convenient. But it differs from the former when it comes to handle design

This type of boat hook has a versatile handle that can be used as a paddle and an aid for docking, undocking, grabbing ropes/mooring buoys, etc.

Boat Hook Brush Combo

The name says it all, this type of boat hook comes with a detachable scrubbing brush. Yes, you can attach a brush to its hook and use it for cleaning your boat.

Boat Loop

If you’re not a fan of hooks, then you can try this boat loop. It’s mostly used for reaching boat cleats or posts when docking. It features a durable loop that can extend up to ft., though it highlights the loop, it also comes with a hook at the end.

Do Boat Loops Come in Different Sizes?

the boat loop
Photo Credit: The Boat Loop

Yes, they do. As mentioned above, normal-sized boat loops can reach up to 8 ft. Although they also have some varieties based on brand and your level of convenience:

  • Medium – extends to 4 ft.
  • Long -extends to 8 ft.
  • Extra Large – extends to 25 ft.


Now that you’re familiar with its varieties, it’s time to choose the right boat hook. Different boats have different conditions, so what hook will satisfy your boating needs? 


boat hook length

Boat hooks vary by length depending on your intended purpose. Some can be a bit short but others are long enough to reach certain distances. For a quick reference, remember what’s noted above.

Boats that are 6 to 20 ft. in length

You can use other types of boat hooks for lightweight boats like dinghy boats and canoe. For safety purposes, make sure to lock your telescopic boat hook tightly when expanding its length to avoid any accident.

Boats that are 19 to 30 ft. in length

For boats like deck boats, bowrider boats and cuddy cabin boats,  it is recommended to use the one-piece boat hook since it’s more durable and well-built compared to other types. Telescopic boat hooks are also useful but it can unexpectedly collapse when used on heavy boats.


Attaching your boat to a jetty is easier compared to a mooring buoy. Though some of you might have mastered this, here are four easy steps to guide you when picking up a mooring. 

What are they?
Get ready – when you enter the harbor, the first thing you need to do is look for the mooring buoy. Make sure that your boat hook is near you so you can easily grab the rope and attach it to your boat cleat.

Get positioned – be aware of the wind’s direction to make sure that you’ll reach the pick-up buoy. It’s important to know the direction of the wind because it also affects the water current.

Stop the boat – slowly approach the mooring and put the engine on neutral. Be mindful of the distance between your boat and mooring, so you can have some time to pull out the pick-up buoy.

Retrieve the pick-up buoy – grab your boat hook and retrieve the pick-up buoy. You can tie your mooring rope and secure your boat. In some cases, there’s another line tied to the swivel eye (at the top of the mooring buoy) which you can also use to secure your boat.


using mooring hooks

In case you’re wondering how a mooring hook can effectively serve its purpose, here are a few basic steps:

  • Put the dock line’s eye in the hook’s carabiner.
  • Pull the hook below right through the cleat.
  • Guide the dock line back to the boat so its eye firmly settles on the cleat.


For some, picking a boat hook is not on their priority list. But this simple boating accessory gives a huge advantage especially when it comes to docking and undocking that’s why you should take some time when picking the right boat hook.

Any suggestions? Comment below and let us know your thoughts.

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