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How to Tie the 6 Most Common Boating Knots

How to Tie the 6 Most Common Boat Knots

Whether you’re exploring the top sailing destinations around the world, or going for a casual cruise, it’s important that you know how to tie basic boating knots. As a boat owner, it’s an essential skill to learn so that your boat doesn’t drift away or bump into another vessel. To help you out, Boatline is sharing how to tie the six most common boating knots.

1. Square Knot

The square knot is one of the most basic knots, and whether or not you are familiar with the name of the knot, you have most likely made one of these before. This knot is helpful for tying two lines together to provide more length.

  • Step 1 – Start this knot by holding both tag ends, cross one line over top, and then finish with one line under the other (just like the first step to tying your shoes).
  • Step 2 – Repeat step one by crossing the other line over top and under the other to finish this knot.

 

2. Bowline Knot

One of the most useful knots for tying up your new or used sailboat or other watercraft is the bowline knot. A great advantage to bowline knots compared to other knots is that it can easily be untied no matter how tight the tension becomes.

  • Step 1 – Start this knot by creating a small loop in the line about a foot or two from the end, then put the end of the line through the loop you just created.
  • Step 2 – Then, wrap the end around the main line above the loop, turn the end down, and thread back through the loop.
  • Step 3 – To finish, be sure to tug hard on the main line and the end above the loop you’ve created.

 

3. Cleat Hitch Knot

A simple, effective knot whether you are cleating off an anchor line or pulling up to the fuel dock. Before you go out for a daycruise or adventurous boating session, make sure you learn this knot.

  • Step 1 – Begin this knot by wrapping the line around a side of the base of the cleat.
  • Step 2 – Then, loop the line across the top of the cleat and under the opposing horn.
  • Step 3 – Next, reverse directions by continuing to loop the line across the top of the cleat and under the opposing horn, creating a figure eight on the cleat.
  • Step 4 – To finish, create a loop in the line and wrap it over the horn on the same side that you started, and pull hard to ensure the line tightens.

 

4. Clove Hitch Knot

If you need to secure your line to a pole or rail, the clove hitch knot is advantageous. There are two different ways to tie this knot, this will depend on whether the rail and posts contain open ends or not.

The first method of tying a clove hitch knot is the rail method:

  • Step 1 – Start by wrapping the line around the rail/post one time.
  • Step 2 – Next, wrap the line around the rail/post again, allowing the line to cross over the first wrap.
  • Step 3 – Finish the wrap by passing the tag end underneath the wrapped line you just created, and tug to secure the line in place.

This second method of tying a clove hitch knot is beneficial when the pole has an accessible end:

  • Step 1 – Start by creating a loop and place it over the end of the pole.
  • Step 2 – Next, create a loop with the remainder of the line, flip the loop so the tag end is underneath, then place the loop over the end of the pole again; be sure to tug on the line to secure it.

 

5. Half Hitch (Overhand) Knot

Just like learning how to maintain your sails is essential for boaters to learn, the half hitch is a classic knot that everyone should know how to tie. Half hitches are not entirely reliable however, so it is important to note that this loop is helpful for securing the end of a line after tying a different knot.

  • Step 1 – Start by wrapping the line around the rail near the end of the tag end, pull the tag end through the loop you created, and tug to keep it in place.

To make a double half-hitch knot, perform step 1 and then… 

  • Step 2 – Use the tag end to create another loop, pull the tag end through the loop, and tighten to secure it.

 

6. Figure Eight Knot

Also called stopper knots, figure eight knots are helpful if you need to stop a line from passing through a chock or pulley. Be aware that if there is tension in both ends of the line, it will be very difficult to untie the figure eight knot.

  • Step 1 – To start this knot, simply create a loop.
  • Step 2 – Next, wrap the tag end over the line and through the loop.
  • Step 3 – Finally, pull both ends tight; you can also move the knot into the desired position and then tighten it.

 

Knowing the ins and outs of these various knots will be advantageous the next time you set sail. Plus, you will feel much more comfortable with the safety of your boat once you have docked. If you’re ready to purchase your next new or used boat, be sure to check out all the nationwide listings on Boatline.com.

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Alex Hoyes
Alex Hoyes

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