Knots and Line Handling

 Here's some basic boaters knots, how to tie them, and a few line handling tips 

Learn Basic Knots for Boaters Part 1


"The King of Knots" because it' makes a strong loop that can still be untied even if it has been under a lot of load. Used for things like tying sheets to jib sail.

Figure 8 Stopper

Sailors often need a knot that prevents a line from accidentally being pulled through a fitting. This is a common "stopper" knot, because it's easy to tie, and untie.

Cleat Hitch

This is how you tie a line to a cleat properly, such as tying a boat to a dock. (The spiral of line beside cleat in this picture is called a "Flemish", used to keep extra line tidy)

Round Turn & 2 1/2 Hitches

Very useful knot for boaters, and easy to learn. Used for tying a line to something, like a dinghy to a dock, or a fender to a rail... when you don't want it to work itself free.

Clove Hitch

Useful for quickly, and temporarily tying a line to something, especially if you think you may want to shorten or lengthen it quickly, without untying. Useful to tie on fenders temporarily.

Rolling Hitch

When you want to tie a line to a pole, or another line, and want to be able to pull parallel to it with out the knot slipping along it, such as to keep fender from sliding along rail.

Boater Knots Part 2

Sheet Bend

When you want to tie lines of 2 different sizes together. When you want it to be more secure... tie the Double Sheet Bend

Reef Knot

Sailors call it a reef knot, because the main use for it is in reefing sails. It's more common name is the Square Knot. Not particularly reliable.

Running Bowline

A loop that will tighten around an object as pressure is applied to line. Commonly used to attach reefing line to mainsail.

Coiling and Crowning Line

AKA "gasket coil". Coil and secure a line neatly. If one end is secured (eg halyard or sheet) avoid introducing twist; use 'figure 8' version.

Daisy Chain

An alternative to a "Flemish" for keeping extra line, such as extra dock line tidy. When the end is pulled, all the loops instantly disappear. 

Also called a Chain Sinnet, Chain Stitch, or Monkey Braid, etc.

Trucker's Hitch

For tying down and compressing a load, such as snugging an inflated dinghy onto deck. There are several versions of this knot.

Single-Handing Bullrail Docking

Notice how I had my lines set up on the boat ahead of time, so I could reach them from the dock, and how tied to a "bull rail" which is common here in the Pacific Northwest.

Using Round Turn and 2 Half Hitches to Tie to Bull Rail

There are many ways to tie a boat to a bull rail. This is a basic one: a round turn and 2 half hitches. Bull rails are horizontal spars, 4x4's, metal pipes, or similar that boats are tied to at the dock. They're common here in the Pacific Northwest. (yeah, next time I'll wear sunglasses David!)

Why you Want to Know How to Heave a Line

It's not hard to learn to heave a line effectively. But get a bit of training and practice ahead of time, so you don't end up like this poor guy!

Grog's Animated Knots

Widely recognized as the best, free website for learning to tie knots. Also available as app for phone or tablet. 

Trucker's Hitch

Just for fun.... no, it's not really how to tie a Trucker's Hitch