In Canyoning/Canyoneering, floating ropes are used to make rope management a lot easier. Unfortunately for those of us interested in canyoning who don't live in Europe, specialized canyoning gear isn't easy to come by.

Is it possible to treat a regular static rope so that it will float?

  • 3
    I think you are confusing dry and floating ropes. Dry ropes have a treatment to keep them dry, floating ropes use Polypropylene core/sheath. It might be possible to treat a rope to make it dry, but not to make it float. Commented Aug 31, 2017 at 4:01
  • I don't think you can treat a rope to be dry either, they (typically) treat the stands before the rope is made, so each strand is waterproof. That way even if water gets in the rope it does minimal damage.
    – user2766
    Commented Aug 31, 2017 at 15:30
  • @Liam, there are different types of dry treated ropes, some are sheath treated only, others have core and sheath treated.
    – ShemSeger
    Commented Aug 31, 2017 at 17:53

1 Answer 1


No, because whether a rope floats or sinks is dependent on its specific gravity (which in turn is dependent on the materials used).

[...] Those with SG [special gravity] greater than 1 are denser than water and will, disregarding surface tension effects, sink in it. Those with an SG less than 1 are less dense than water and will float on it. [...]


As examples,

  • Manila Rope 1.38
  • Polypropylene Rope 0.91
  • Nova Blue (Nylon) 1.38
  • Spectra Fibre 0.98


  • The specific Gravity stuff is useful information, but I wasn't asking if dry treated ropes floated, I was asking if there was some other treatment that could float a rope.
    – ShemSeger
    Commented Sep 4, 2017 at 2:53
  • 1
    @ShemSeger The way to make a non-floating rope float is to combine it with a material that has a lower specific gravity so that the combined specific gravity is below 1. So if you had an equal amounts of nylon and something with a specific gravity of 0.61, then the nylon rope would float. It seems like it would be far easier to just get a polypropylene rope in the first place. Commented Sep 4, 2017 at 4:09

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