boaters knots

The What|Where|When On Boaters Knots

Written by Boatsetter Team
December 28, 2017

Last Updated on January 14, 2022 by Boatsetter Team

There are hundreds of boaters knots waiting to be tied, or so it seems. But we’ll let you in on a little secret: most sailors can get away with learning a basic few!

Here’s the skinny on boaters knots:

Learning a few essential boaters knots will not only make you a more useful sailor, but you’ll be the go to mate next time you set sail on a boat rental with your friends.

Make a Beeline for the Bowline

The bowline is king of boaters knots in the world of sailing. It has been a trusted sailor’s knot for more than 500 years. In basic terms, the bowline turns the end of your line into a loop.

Why make a loop? You can tie it around a post, or use it to fasten the halyard to the sail on smaller boat rentals. It can also be used to tie lines together, or even to hang a hammock! What’s KNOT to love?!

How to Tie a Bowline:

  1. Form a loop close to the end of the line. How large you want the final loop to be will determine how much of the line you leave.
  2. Pull the end of the line back through the loop.
  3. Run the line around the standing end and through the small loop.
  4. Grasp the end and pull the knot tight.

Nice Knot!! You’ve just tied a bowline!

Go Easy with a Clove Hitch

A clove hitch is one of the quickest and most useful of all boaters knots. It doesn’t hold as well as a bowline, but it’s quick to tie and untie and easy to use in a pinch. One common use is hanging the fenders over the side as you dock a boat rental.

How to Tie a Clove Hitch:

  1. Wrap the end of the line around the thing that you’re attaching it to, such as a post, etc.
  2. Cross the line over itself, then wrap it around the post again.
  3. Loosen the last wrap and slip the end under, then pull it tight to “lock” the knot.

Easy Peasy! You’re a natural!

Fast Line to a Cleat Hitch

As you might imagine, the Cleat Hitch is one of the boaters knots commonly used on sailboats. Whether you’re docking your boat rental or towing a dinghy, knowing how to tie a Cleat Hitch will make you a much more useful sailing companion.

How to tie a Cleat Hitch

  1. Create a wrap around the base of the cleat. Start your wrap on the farthest edge from where the line originates.
  2. Make a figure 8 around the cleat. If the cleat is big enough and the line is going to be under some pressure, repeat this step two or more times.
  3. Lock it in by adding a hitch to the final turn. The tail end should be pointing away from the line’s point of origin.

Don’t worry if these boaters knots don’t come out right the first few times you try them. It takes practice to tie a perfect knot. But get these down and you’ll make a great addition to any crew or boat rental adventure.

Boatsetter has hundreds of boats available to help you set sail. But, as much fun as practicing these boaters knots is, your captain can really take care of that for you too! (It’s your choice!) Practice your knots on an old piece of synthetic rope, then book your boat rental and get ready to show off your knot-tying expertise!

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