How to Tie the Different Types of Nautical Knots

Boat Knots Knowing how to tie various nautical knots is essential to a safe and enjoyable sailing experience. Here are a few basic nautical knots, what they are useful for, and how they are tied.

Overhand or Thumb Knot

The overhand knot, also known as the thumb knot, is useful for keeping the end of a rope from running up the mast or through a block. Since it is not easy to untie, it should only be used on lines that do not need to be re-rigged often.

How to tie this knot:

  1. Start by crossing the running end over the standing part to make an overhand loop
  2. Cross the running end behind the standing part
  3. Thread the running end through the overhand loop that you have created, then tighten

Square Knot

The square knot is formed by joining the overhand loops of two small ropes. It is also used for lashing, reefing, tying sail covers, and for tying in battens.

How to tie this knot:

  1. Start by putting the end of a rope in each of your hands
  2. Take the end of the rope in your left hand, then put this end over the rope in your right hand, wrapping the left rope around the other side of the right rope
  3. Finish by crossing the end of the rope that is now in your right hand over the left end, wrap it around, and then tighten your knot.

Bowline

The bowline knot is referred to as “the rescue knot” or “the king of knots” because of its versatility, strength, and ability to be made quickly. Even when a lot of tension has been placed on a bowline knot, it can still be easily untied.

How to tie this knot:

  1. Wrap the line around the object it is to be tied to
  2. Cross the running end over the standing part to make an overhand loop
  3. Thread the running end through the underside of the loop you have created
  4. Place the running end behind the standing part
  5. Thread the running end through the front of the overhand loop that it previously came out of

Clove Hitch

The clove hitch knot is used to tie a line around a post or pole. It can be easily undone, so it needs to have steady tension on it in order for it to stay tied.

How to tie this knot:

  1. Loosely wrap the running end around the pole in a right-hand direction
  2. Place the running end over the top of the standing part. The running end should now be pointed in the direction of your left hand
  3. Wrap the running end around the pole a second time, this time in the direction of your left hand
  4. Thread the running end under the part of the line that is on top and closest to you

For more tips and tricks, read through our blog or contact V-Dock today!

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