Knots Every Boater Should Know

January 28th, 2015 | Posted by SavvyBoater in Everything Boating & Fishing

Learning about boating can be a bit overwhelming because of just how much information is out there, but of all the tips and tricks to learn, knowing how to tie a few simple knots should be at the top of your priority list.

To make it easy, we have compiled some diverse knots that (if you can remember) will save you a lot of effort, headaches, and money on accessories and lost items!

*Click on any of the images to get a larger view

How to Untie a Tangle:

Knot Pattern

The braid on this rope twists left, twist in the same direction to remove the knot.

Lets start off with some basic knowledge every single person needs to know about fixing a knot gone wrong. Almost every rope, string, or chain will have a sort of braid direction. If you twist the line against the braid the line will go limp and bunch itself up, but if you twist with the braid the line will get stiff and lengthen itself out.

(Figure out which direction is ‘with the braid’ by holding the line steady with one hand and twisting the end of the line with the other to see what happens.)

To quickly untie just about any knot:

  1. Twist the line in the direction of the braid making the line stiff
  2. Push the line up towards the knot itself
  3. The line will push through the knot and you will be able to work through it
  4. Pull out one tangle at a time by repeating these steps




The Bowline Knot

The purpose of this knot is to secure the end of  a line, and can be extremely helpful in docking situations because it won’t slip, and can be easily untied.

Here’s how to tie a Bowline Knot:

bowline instructions


  1. Start with a rope that is secured at one end and loose at the other
  2. Loop the loose end over itself one time
  3. String the loose end through the loop, under then over
  4. Continue the loose end around the back of the secured line
  5. Bring the end back down through the loop, this time over then under
  6. Pull on the secured and loose ends to tighten


The Sheet Bend Knot

This knot is ideal for tying two different ropes together, especially if one of the lines is a different size than the other.

How to tie a Sheet Bend:



Sheet band instructions


  1. Hold the loose ends of two different lines, one in each hand
  2. Make a loop with one of the lines (this is all you have to do with this line)
  3. Pass the other line through the loop, under then over
  4. Wrap around the back of the loop
  5. Bring the end back down to thread it over the loop line, under itself, and back over
  6. Pull the knot tight


The Clove Hitch

A clove hitch is great for a few different situations involving a rail or piling and works particularly well for securing fenders to a railing. This is because it is incredibly easy to adjust and untie and gets stronger when the line is being pulled on.

3 Steps for Tying a Clove Hitch:

Clove instructions


  1. Wrap the line behind a stationary piling or rail
  2. Cross the line in front and then wrap it around the piling one more time
  3. Bring the end under the crossed section of line and pull tight






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