Creating a Rope to Chain Splice

Whether you’re out fishing or spending the night in a great little cove you discovered, chances are you will want to anchor your boat. To keep overall weight down, most boats choose to anchor using a shorter piece of chain with a longer piece of rope (often referred to as “anchor rode” or “anchor warp”). But how do we attach that rope to the chain in a way that is safe, strong and can still easily run through our windlass? Thankfully the answer is pretty simple – a Rope to Chain Splice – which is what we will cover in this Navigator.


Splicing with 3-strand rope is one of the easiest splices there is to do – so this is a great place to start if you’re a beginner. That said – it’s important to make sure that your technique is good to preserve the strength of the splice. Make sure you keep all your strands nice and tight as you go and that the tucks lie neatly since the rope can lose strength if the strands are twisted or laid incorrectly.

It’s a good idea to gather everything you will need – including blue tape, scissors, a sharpie marker and some sort of lighter or torch (such as the Ancor Mini Pocket Butane Torch) along with the rope and chain you intend to join.


  1. Prepare the Rope: From the end of your rope, count back approximately 16-20 “twists” or strands – it’s always better to have a little extra than to run out of line – so don’t skimp here (figure 1 below).  Apply tape at that point and then un-lay the strands from the bitter end back to this point. You should have 3 strands – tape the bitter end of each strand (to prevent it from unraveling) and label each one with the sharpie marker as 1, 2 and 3 (figure 2 below).

    Prepare the 3-strand line for the rope to chain splice.

  2. Threading the Chain: Line up the rope to the end of the chain link. Take strand #2 and pass it through one side of the chain link, while passing strands #1 and #3 through the link from the opposite side, staying on the outside of strand #2 (figure 3 below).

    Starting the first tucks in a rope to chain splice.

  3. Begin the Splice: Begin tucking the strands in an “over 1, under 1” pattern (figure 4 above). Tuck strands #1 and #3,  (figure 5 below) then turn everything over and tuck strand #2 (figure 6 below) – remembering to count over 1 and then slide the strand under one.

    Tucking strand #2 in a rope to chain splice.

  4. Continue Tucking: Front and back of a finished rope to chain splice.Once you’ve done the first 2 full tucks, go back and make sure your line is nice and tight against the chain link and that each strand flows smoothly through each tuck. All tucks should go right to left, so it may help to keep flipping everything over to avoid confusion. Complete a minimum of 5 full tucks – keeping each one nice and tight, but not so tight that you distort the lay of the line (figure 7). It’s also important to keep the natural twist in each strand as you are tucking – so don’t let them untwist or unravel!  
  5. Finish the splice: Sometimes it can help to lightly roll the splice back and forth while pressing down with your hand to smooth it out a bit. Once you’ve completed all your tucks, trim off the excess strand that’s left and you’re officially done! Some folks also like to use a butane torch to lightly melt the end of each strand to help keep the strand in place.

Splice Maintenance

While this splice is designed to minimize chafe between the rope and the chain, it’s taking a fair amount of load while you are at anchor – especially in rough conditions. Since the safety of your boat at anchor is dependent on the condition of this splice, we highly recommend you check the splice regularly to make sure it’s in good condition, and remake the splice if there is ANY evidence of chafe, wear or unraveling. As you’ve just learned, it’s pretty easy to complete – so check and remake as often as needed!

Fisheries Supply carries a wide variety of 3-strand lines perfect for use with this splice, as well as all the splicing tools you may need as you begin to do your own splicing. We hope you’ve enjoyed this Navigator on Rope-to-Chain Splicing with 3-Strand Line, but if you have any questions – please don’t hesitate to contact our splicing experts at (800) 426-6930.


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