Last Updated on June 24, 2022 by Brian Drew

Buying a boat hook might not be on the agenda for many people who overlook this important piece of fishing equipment. This is an essential tool when boating, this article will tell you why. We will also detail the information you need to know if you are planning to buy one.

Boat hooks are used to dock and undock your boat easily. They are used for dredging; mooring and they are one of the best methods used to retrieve objects. It may seem like a tough choice to find the right kind of hook. You need to find a balance between functionality and price when it comes to making the right decision.

Some important tips to help you make the right choice for a boat hook:

The basic construction:

The most basic boat hook consists of a blunt tip and a hook. The blunt tip is used to push during the process of undocking. The hook end is used for docking.

Check the accessories:

While most hooks are quite basic, as is the case with all products, a lot of hooks come with some fancy extras. Like some hooks have threads on the tip of the pole. Some have a provision to attach a mop or deck brush at the threaded end.

However, you need to check the accessories before you buy. Sometimes the threads do not match with the brushes and hence they cannot be attached.

Ability to withstand load:

They are used for docking and undocking and they are subjected to a considerable amount of push and pull. When buying this you must check if it holds firm under a decent amount of load. The best boat hook is able to withstand moderate compression.

Adjustable pole length:

Many models of hooks have poles that can be adjusted in length. This makes them versatile and very useful. The downside to this is that adjustable lengths may have a tendency to bend or collapse. Single-piece poles may be a good option as some of the telescoping ones will be unusable once bent.


A popular feature of most hooks is their ability to float in water. This is especially useful if the hook accidentally slips from the grasp of your hand. Now you do not need to worry about it sinking into the water. You must keep in mind that not all of them float. Also, the ones that do float might do so for a limited amount of time.

Safety feature:

Safety is taken care of especially when it comes to guarding against accidental shocks due to contact with any kind of electrical wire. The pole of some has a PVC sheath to give them maximum protection.

The PVC sheath on the pole helps to keep it cool unlike some of the poles made of aluminum. Now you can spend all day in the sun and still experience the cool touch of the hook.

Ease of use:

One of the main functions of a boat hook is that it should be able to slip under a line that may be lying flat on the dock. Some models come with hooks that may be too large and hence they might not be able to perform this basic function.

Metal hooks vs. plastic hooks:

While older hooks were made of metal, these days plastic hooks are becoming more common. Plastic hooks are a better option in regards to safety but they have one major drawback. They might not be able to pick up a line from a dock as well as a metal hook. Some hooks may be too big to slip under the line.

Weight of the pole:

One of the biggest factors you must keep in mind when buying is the weight of the pole. The weight can have a significant effect on how you manage and use the hook.

Though a longer pole is better, it is a good idea to try to check for the horizontal reach before you buy it. Longer poles are heavier and hence difficult to use. If you are someone with a short frame, you might even have difficulty holding the long pole horizontally.


It is important to maintain your hook well since it is something you intend to use for a long time. Some of them may feel stiff to use and this could be due to minor corrosion or lime deposits. This can be taken care of by using vinegar to wipe and rinse it. Some poles may even get jammed due to exposure to saltwater for a long time.

Tips to remember when using a hook:

  • You must be extremely careful while using the hook as the person using the hook to push or pull could lose their balance easily. This could lead to a fall or even injury.
  • If the person using this pulls or pushes in the opposite direction of the captain’s expectation it could be disastrous. This might even hinder the captain’s attempt at docking rather than helping it. In some cases, the person could even lose their balance and land up in the water.
  • In most cases, the captain uses the boat’s motor to dock the boat in the best manner. In case the motor has failed or you do not have complete control over the boat due to severe weather, it is a good docking aid.
  • Many people feel that this is a far better retrieval device than a docking aid. You can use it to retrieve cushions, your fishing bucket, and just about any other items that may have fallen into the water.

Some uses of the boat hook:

  • It is used extensively in commercial fishing, docking, launching, mooring, retrieval, etc. it is also used to maneuver boats, logs, and rafts.
  • Moving through waters where there are low-hanging trees is made easier with this. You can pull down the branches so that the boat moves easily through the water.
  • Fishermen especially the ones involved in commercial fishing use it every day for some important functions on their vessels. One of the examples is when the Alaskan crab fishermen use it. They use the hooks to retrieve the buoys that are attached to the crab pots or steel cages. The cages need to be brought up to the ocean’s surface to retrieve the crabs.


While its primary function is to snag mooring lines and dock but they are capable of much more. They can be used for many tasks and are an essential tool for any kind of vessel. It is available in different sizes and price ranges so that you can choose and buy the best one according to your needs.

It is a valuable asset to a boat that will always come in handy. This simple and effective piece of equipment is a must-have on the vessel. It is versatile and makes the docking and undocking process seem effortless.

When buying, you must find a product that gives you a good balance of weight and reach. Small boats would find a collapsible pole better. A well-fixed length pole would suit the needs of most mid-size cruising boats as it would provide a secure push and grab.

We hope you find this information useful to make the best purchasing decision when buying for yourself.

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