The Difference Between Bollards And Boat Cleats



Mooring and docking are crucial for boat storage, loading, unloading, and safety. That means you can’t bring in amateur solutions that compromise the security of your boats and cause damage during the loading process. So, what options do you have in that case? Usually, bollards and boat cleats are two ways to secure your vessels. Both tools have individual structural integrity and offer good stability during the mooring. But which one is better? 


We have compared various features of both tools to help you decide on the best material. You’ll also learn about the features of both materials and their applications in the marine industry. 


Bollards Basics

Bollards Basics

What are bollards? 

You might have seen the vertical posts if you ever visited the docks and quays. These are most often the bollards with robust structures and excellent stabilization features. 


In the scenarios of mooring and berthing, they are the game-changing factor. Bollards help fix and prevent unnecessary movements of the boats. 


Types of bollards

Three critical types of bollards are based on their features and usage scenarios. These are:


  • Pillar bollards


Pillar boards have a long stem with a post on the head. It helps in handling high-weight and provides practical applications on the docks. Because of their robust structure, try them at the commercial port facilities. 


  • Double-bitt bollards


Double-bitt bollards have a typical T-shape top with two horn-shaped projections. It fits as a lock and key model to the boats and vessels and is adequate for various attachment methods. Due to its unique shape, you can deploy it in versatile applications for your mooring and berthing of the ships. 


  • T-head bollards


T-head bollards are famous for their space optimization and easy functioning. With a T-shape top, they are proficient at handling perpendicular weights and offer good stability. 


Benefits of bollards


Bollards are pretty efficient for the marine industry. They offer tons of benefits, such as: 

  • Secure docking


One of the ultimate roles of the bollards is to fix the vessels at one point in mooring. They prevent the drifting of the ships during the loading and unloading processes. 


  • Prevent accidents

Improper control over the boats is like inviting danger to your doorstep. Bollards keep such cases miles away by allowing safe docking and preventing drifting in the busy ports. Therefore, the risks of accidents are no more. 


  • Stability and control


If heavy wind can hover your vessels away due to high pressure, use the bollards to keep things under control. Ultimate control offers you better stability and effective results. 

  • Structural integrity


Bollards have a high strength that engages with the vessels without causing damage. You can expect a long life and minimize your expenses when using them. 


  • Aesthetics


Bollards are not just pieces doing the fixture function. Instead, they look appealing to the eyes, especially the pillar and T-shape bollards that look good externally while supporting your boats on the docks. 

Boat Cleat Basics

Boat Cleat Basics

What is a boat cleat? 

Boat cleat is an excellent material mounted to the boats and serves as an anchor point. Because of its unique attachment points, it gets the next-level stability. Plus, they have built-in anti-slipping elements, allowing smooth fixing without slight movements. 


Types of boat cleat

Cleats come in different shapes and materials. Therefore, we have divided them into three main categories. These include: 


  • Deck cleats


Deck cleats are often flat and provide excellent attachment points to the rope and cables. Because of versatile attachments, they are famous for their flawless anchoring during the ship mooring. 

  • Horn cleats


Horn cleans have the horn allow a better anchoring. Fix the rope around the horns and enjoy better stability. Get a good adherence and dock your ship with confidence without the risk of slipping away. 

  • Jam cleats.

Jam cleats are suitable for the temporary sail lines. They have a gripping mechanism to handle the ships and offer good stability. 


Benefits of boat cleat


Boat cleats offer good stability and come up with the following benefits in the marine industry. 


  • Secure docking

Overlook the complex docking processes. Securely load and unload your ships with the boat cleats. They come with the attachments of rope and cable, allowing a good docking experience. 

  • Efficient stability


Since cleats on ships have additional safety mechanisms and anti-slipping features, they provide good stability. You can safely load and unload your boats. 


  • Easy handling


Put up with the quick and efficient handling processes of your boats. Even if extreme weather fluctuations are on your head, you still get the stabilized anchoring with the boat cleat. 

  • Versatile


Cleats on ships are suitable for various boats, vessels, and ships. You can even use them for temporary sailing processes. Such versatility is good for you! 


  • Less maintenance


You don’t have to go through regular cleaning and maintenance. Do a practice of weekly or monthly examinations. Check the scratch marks. Correct all the issues on time to avoid future hassles. 


Difference between Bollards and Boat Cleats

Difference between Bollards and Boat Cleats

Bollards and boat cleats share differences in design, function, and stability during the work. Let’s discuss each one of the differences. 


Design and attachmentVertical and offers a robust anchoring Horizontal and offer a less powerful anchoringBollard
Load bearing capacityHigh CapacityLess capacityBollard
PortabilityFixed and unsuitable for transportEasy to transportCleat
Ease of handlingCareful handlingEasy to handleCleat


Design and Attachments

Design is the first point an eye stays on. Anchoring materials are most often vertical and horizontal. Some come in different shapes and designs. Let’s know it here. 


Bollards are vertical materials attached to the shores and fixing points on the dock. They are pretty robust, built of hard and impact-resistance materials, and provide good stability in the work. Moreover, you can alter its shape from a pillar to a T-shaped bollard. 


A cleat boat differs slightly from the bollards but offers the same function. It is horizontal in shape and less robust compared to a bollard but comes with anti-slipping features. Moreover, such materials are attached to the ship and vessels compared to the bollards, which attach to the dock fixtures. Cleat boats come in various types, such as deck, horn, or jam. 


Load-bearing Capacity

It depends on the type of loads and vessel varieties. For example, you have a large vessel with 1000 tons of weight. Compared to it, a small vessel bears less weight. Cleats on ships also define whether they are compatible or not. 


Bollards are pretty robust and sturdy. Their design and construction are exceptionally eligible to handle heavyweight vehicles. If you have large vessels ready to dock on the port, install the bollards on the site, as they will handle all the weight and provide good stability. 


The first thing about a boat cleat is its less weight-bearing capacity. You can’t install the more giant boats and expect the same performance as the bollards. Therefore, when using the cleats, think of a smaller boat for the mooring and docking. 



Do you want to transport your bollards and cleats? It is sometimes necessary to attain a high level of flexibility for suitable handling activities. Let us know which material offers the best portability. 


Bollards are most often fixed to the docking place. They are less likely to be moved and have a fixed structure, minimizing their versatility. Moreover, they are also unsuitable for transport because of their heavy weight and robust structures. 


In contrast, cleats are good in terms of portability and versatility. Change them based on the boat type, need, and material requirements. Plus, they are easily transported to distant locations without creating much trouble for the users. 


Ease of Use and Handling

If you are professional and ready to handle your anchoring materials, that is great! What if you are not an expert? In that case, you need to think about the handling processes. 


Bollards pose more risks to the crew members and need careful handling. If you are looking for maintenance, they are durable and offer a long life. The hassles arise during the docking. Handle it with extreme care and anticipate the best results. 


On the other hand, cleats are pretty easy to handle, versatile, and need less expertise. You must use quality cables and do the docking job without risking your crew members’ security. 


Which is better, Bollard vs Boat cleat? 


It is usually dependent on various factors such as: 


  • Type of boat you have: large or small? 
  • Load on the ship: high load or low load? 
  • You need versatility and portability. 
  • How about a long life and maintenance? 


Based on these factors, you can choose the best docking material. For example, you can’t expect high performance for large boats with high loads. The same is true in the case of long life and portability. Based on your preference, you can decide on the best material. 




Cleats on ships are pretty impressive for their fixing and docking. But you can’t ignore the spells of the bollards since they are pretty remarkable for their work. Usually, you must decide on all the factors and look for the best material. Whenever choosing the boat cleats or bollards, go for the premium quality stuff and top-tier performance. 


Jerry Borg Marine is one of the top suppliers for your bollards. We have premium-quality bollards at affordable prices. Check different materials and decide on the best one. Get it right away!