For other uses, see Marlinspike (disambiguation).
A typical marlinspike with lanyard
Marlinspike (/ˈmɑːrlᵻnspaɪk/; sometimes marlin spike, marlinespike, or the archaic marlingspike/marling-spike) is a tool used in marine
ropework. Shaped in the form of a polished metal cone tapered to a rounded or flattened point, they aid in such tasks as unlaying rope
for splicing, untying knots, drawing marline tight using a marlinspike hitch, and as a toggle joining ropes under tension in a belaying pin splice.
Most marlinspikes are 6–12 inches (15–30 cm) long, but may reach 2 feet (61 cm) and more for working heavy cables
and ropes. They are usually made from iron or steel
, whereas fids, similar in shape and function, are formed from wood
or bone. The marlinspike may be a separate tool or one item on a pocket knife.
Sailors who become proficient at knot
tying, splicing, and sewing using the marlinspike are said to have mastered marlinespike seamanship, earning them the right to be known as marlin spikes or marlinspike seamen.