Whether you are on a sailboat or a motorboat, everyone should know how to tie at least four key boating knots and when to use them. You will see these knots become second nature with a little practice and regular use on the water. Here are four simple boating knots everyone should know and when to use them.
1. Bowline Boating Knot
The first knot that is essential for boaters to know is the bowline. It is a more commonly known knot, particularly for those who were once involved in Boy Scouts or Girl Scouts. Bowline knots create a loop that can help pass through cleats or tie around items like rings or riser rails.
The key to understanding the bowline knot is tension. This knot relies on tension in order to remain secure, which is what makes it so useful in boating. However, it cannot be untied unless you can somehow release that tension. Make sure that you can free the other end of the line anytime you use this common knot.
2. Clove Hitch Boating Knot
Another simple boating knot everyone should know is the clove hitch. The clove hitch is useful because you can use it to quickly fasten a line around items like rails or guard wires. It is also a knot that is easily adjusted by releasing some tension on the part of the knot that crosses over like an ‘X’ and shortening or lengthening the lines that you need to be adjusted.
Be cautious when using a clove hitch that it could self-release if tension is lost. If you are concerned that your clove hitch may self-release, there are ways to make it more secure. Try making extra turns in the knot before passing the rope through itself. Alternatively, you could also try passing a half hitch over the end of the knot with the load in order to keep it from loosening.
3. Round Turn and Two Half Hitches Boating Knot
The round turn and two half hitches knot is another simple boating knot everyone should know. It is incredibly versatile and easy to tie, making it a great asset to know. All you have to do to tie this knot is pass the rope in a full turn around anything, then finish the knot with two half hitches tied in the same direction.
You can tie this knot on any object you’d like, including cleats, handrails, rings, and posts. The knot is very secure and compact. However, as with the above two boating knots, you should keep an eye on it in case it comes undone. This knot can sometimes untie with or without a load on it.
4. Sheet Bend Boating Knot
Finally, a sheet bend is a simple and incredibly useful knot for tying two ropes together. It is great for rafting up but could also be used for tubing or any other circumstance where you need a longer rope than you have.
The sheet bend is easy to learn if you know how to tie a bowline knot. It is tied the same way as a bowline but uses two different ropes instead of one. A sheet bend is incredibly secure: In fact, it’s so secure that the biggest caution is that it may become difficult to untie if you apply a significant amount of weight and tension to the knot, such as towing.
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