Category Archives: Boating Knots

Clove Hitch

The Clove Hitch is one of the most widely used knots in boating, rock climbing, commercial fishing, and the Scouts. Its simplicity, two half hitches side by side, makes it easy for greenhorns and novices to learn. The clove hitch is quick to tie and great for temporarily securing boats to a piling or as a lashing. Usually utilized as a crossing knot, although; it can have a tendency to slip apart when repeatedly strained and released. While under tension this knot may be difficult to untie. If the load end of the line needs to be adjustable then the clove hitch is a viable choice.

How to Tie a Clove Hitch

To tie the clove hitch you will need a half a fathom of line and a narrow pole or railing:


  1. Take one end of the line and wrap it clockwise around the pole one time.
  2. Cross it over the top of the previous coil while wrapping it clockwise again, and when you come around this time tuck the end under the wrap alongside the previous one.
  3. The end will be pointing away from the other end and then just pull the knot tight.

There are a couple of variations to this knot, but this is the easiest way.

Square Knot

A square knot is used to tie the two ends of a single line together so that they will secure something. For example you could use your square knot to tie a bundle of objects together. Since a square knot will lie flat when it is made of fabric, it has also been used in the medical field for things like tying bandages. Sometimes the square knot is used to tie belts for martial arts such as karate or jiu-jitsu. Boys are also required to tie a square knot before they can join the Boy Scouts.


How to Tie a Square Knot

  1. Start with two pieces of rope that are close in diameter. We’ll call them rope 1 and rope 2 for the purposes of this demonstration.
  2. Hold the end of rope 1 in your left hand and the end of rope 2 in your right hand.
  3. Cross rope 1 over rope 2 to form an X.
  4. Wrap rope 1 once to the right around rope 2, just like the first step in tying a bow in your shoestrings. Rope 1 is now to the right and rope 2 is to the left.
  5. Cross rope 1 over rope 2 again to form another X.
  6. Wrap rope 1 once to the left around rope 2.
  7. Now just pull on both free ends to tighten the knot and you’re finished!

I think that with these instructions you will be well on your way to tying a perfect square knot. Just remember to be patient, have fun, and practice, practice, practice.

Sheet Bend


The sheet bend knot is a simple yet sturdy technique. It is most useful for tying two lengths of rope together, especially when the two ropes are of different thickness.

How to Tie a Sheet Bend Knot

  1. Lay one of the ropes you will be tying down so that it is horizontal and the end you’ll be working with points to the right. If the ropes are different thickness, this should be the thickest rope.
  2. Curve the end of this rope back on itself. The end should now face to the left, and it should form a loop.
  3. Thread the end of the second or thinner rope you will be tying through this loop. Do this by threading the second rope under the right side of the loop. The ends of both of the ropes should be pointing to the left.
  4. Move the end of the second rope over the end of the first rope, then tuck it under both sections of rope that form the loop. The end of the second rope should now be pointing down from under the loop.
  5. Pull the end of the second rope back over the loop and thread it underneath itself, where it originally emerged from the loop. Pull the ends and main sections of both ropes to tighten and strengthen the sheet bend knot.

Figure 8 Knot

The figure 8 knot is known as a very photogenic knot. It is mostly used to tie off the ens of ropes or to create stopper functions in another knot. Also, this knot is common for rock climbers to create with their harnesses for safety.

How to Tie a Figure 8 Knot

  1. Grab rope or your material and stretch it in front of you so that it is parallel to the floor. Twist it in order to form a loop.
  2. Bring the right hand of the rope to the left loop.
  3. Grab the end to pull around and slide it through the loop. Make sure you pull it tight so it won’t fall out.

When you’re finished, it should like like a number 8 symbol. This knot is easy to tie and convenient for many different uses!

Eye Splice

To prepare the line for an eye splice, unravel 3 inches and tape the ends in the direction of the lay of the line to keep it tight. Unwrap another 10 inches to allow for 5 tucks in poly or nylon line. Hemp or manila line only needs 3 tucks and a taper because it will not slip as much. Then make the eye and tape the eye in place to prevent further unraveling as you work the splice.

When you have the line taped correctly the three strands will lay open with a left, middle or top, and a right strand leading away from the eye.

How to Tie an Eye Splice Knot

  1. Begin with the middle strand and twist the line to open a gap, while feeding the strand through the base line, but do not tighten the splice yet.
  2. Take the left strand and go over the one the middle strand went under and then under the following braid.
  3. The hardest strand is the right strand. Turn the base and twist to open the braid to insert the right strand under the twist that doesn’t have any strand under it. Remember do not tighten yet, you can tighten on the next tuck.
  4. From this point it is over and under following the lay of your line. Always begin with the middle and you will be less likely to make any mistakes.

Using a fid will help keep the strands from unraveling, and make it lay correctly on your line. Following the lay of the line will give a nice tight splice, and you can tighten down on the 2nd tuck, so as not to unravel the intersecting joint of the line.

Constrictor Knot

A constrictor knot is useful for tying bundles of loose materials, and keeping bags closed. The knot as the name implies constricts and is often too tight to untie. Another name for the Constrictor Knot is known as a Miller Knot.

How to Tie a Constrictor Knot

  1. Starting from the front of your item that needs secured, wrap one end of the rope from the right side to the left, crossing over each other in the front.
  2. Make one more wrap around the items to be bundled.
  3. Now take the working end and guide it under the two wraps so that you cross over the standing rope.
  4. Pull on both ends to tighten the knot.


A bowline is familiar to any Boy Scout because it is required material. It was once very important to sailors and military people, in an age when ropes were an essential part of other technologies. It is still useful in many situations, and it is a special knot with a wide variety of purposes.

The most basic point is that it creates a loop that will not slip. A slip knot such as two half hitches will grip under pressure but still has the ability to slip. A bowline simply does not slip because of the clever way both ends of the string are secure around each other. It is usually tied at the end of the rope to create a secure loop for holding a tarp post.

Tying the knot requires some practice but it is astonishingly simple. The place where the loop will start is twisted into a circle to form a loop. The exact dimensions of the loop must be noted or else the knot will fail. The very end of the line is placed through the loop, going from underneath with the longer part of the rope on top of the loop.

The short end is extended behind the the top line and then wrapped around. It is brought back through the loop to form a knot that will grip itself securely. Nothing is left in a straight line to permit slippage. If the knot was performed incorrectly then it will disintegrate into nothing or else a simple end knot. A little practice will reveal the correct positions.

Ropes are most useful when someone knows all the knots. The bowline has the advantage of being slip-free but also high strength. This means it does not squeeze the rope at any tight angles, which increases breakage under pressure.