Boat Swim Platform Cleats
While entertaining, or walking between the boat and the dock loading-up, a pair of cleats mounted on the swim platform corners comes in handy. They allow you to move the crossed docklines down and aft so that you don’t have to high-step over them or scooch under them to gain access to the cockpit. And on the hook, they make a great place to belay a line for a float that you can stream aft for the safety and convenience of swimmers, especially if there’s current in your anchorage. Flush-mounted pull-up or pop-up models are ideal for this service.
Of course you should always have an additional pair of cleats on the boat’s transom itself. Not because pop-up cleats are in any way weaker, but because if a storm should blow up, you want the docklines connected to the boat, not to the platform. It’s fear of owners using the platform cleats all the time—and any resulting liability—that some boat builders have given me as the reason why these super-handy accessories aren’t offered as standard equipment.
Like any other marine accessory, or the boat itself for that matter, we think they are a great idea when used by a skipper who thinks about what he’s doing.
Takeaway: A cleat should always be fastened with through bolts and a backing plate. Even if you install it just for fenders or a chum pot, a dockhand, marina neighbor, or subsequent owner may be risking the boat on the integrity of your installation.