TIE KNOTS THE FUN AND EASY WAY
Better to know a knot and not need it, than need a knot and not know it.
Grog's Index of Boating Knots
Boating Index Boating Usage
Alpine Butterfly Bend Alpine Butterfly Loop Anchor Hitch Ashley Stopper Knot Bowline Bowline on a Bight Bowline, Running Buntline Hitch Carrick Bend Chain Splice Cleat Hitch (Deck) Cleat Hitch (Halyard) Clove Hitch (Half Hitches) Constrictor (Twisting) Double O'hand Stopper Eye Splice Figure 8 Icicle Hitch (Loop) Halyard Hitch Lighterman's Hitch Pile Hitch Poacher's Knot Rat-Tail Stopper Rolling Hitch Round Turn & Hitches Sheet Bend Short Splice Trucker's Hitch Square (Reef) Zeppelin Bend
Find a Knot by Name Knot Terminology Knot & Rope Safety Rope Properties Contact
Instructions: Move the mouse over each knot. Look at the description to find out what it can be used for. Click on the knot you wish to see. On the new page wait until the selected knot starts to tie itself.
Welcome to Boating Knots
These animated knots are primarily for boaters, but many are useful for anyone who uses rope and values safety. Select the knots from: the index above left; the pictures above; or the Boating Usage page.
The selection of knots is based on many years of sailing combined with feedback and advice from several helpful captains. The knots are arranged in alphabetical order.
Boating Knot Characteristics
Rope used in boating is durable and expensive and is often handling heavy loads, e.g., when berthing, mooring, towing another vessel, preparing for a storm, or managing sails. The emphasis, therefore, is on safety, reliability, and convenience. In contrast to the fishing knots, value is also placed on being able to use the rope repeatedly and untie each knot without difficulty.
Standing End, Tail, and Bitter End
In many knots there is Standing End - which takes the strain, and a Tail - the loose end in your hand. On large ships a shore line is initially tightened with a winch. The tail is then properly called a Bitter End as it is transferred to the Bitts. To do this, a second rope is tied to the shore line with a Rat-Tailed Stopper or a Rolling Hitch to take the strain temporarily.
Mooring Lines and Names
Mooring lines on large ships are nearly always made of a high-modulus polyethylene (HMPE) such as Vectran® or Dyneema®. These ropes float and their minimal elasticity reduces risk of injury due to "snap-back" in the event of a breakage. Each line serves a specific purpose. On large vessels two lines often run in parallel ("doubled up") for safety. The following diagram shows a typical arrangement:
On yachts mooring lines are more likely to be made of nylon, or polyester (Dacron® or Terylene®). By contrast with mooring a large vessel, distances are usually small and movements due to waves and tide are proportionately greater. Moreover, because far fewer lines are used, it is critical to understand their purpose:
Doubling-Up and Sharing a Bollard
When two line run to the same Bollard, especially when they are from different ships, the second line should be threaded up through the eye-splice of the first. This is called Dipping the Loop and allows either line to be released with out tangling.
Disclaimer: Any activity that involves ropes is potentially hazardous. Lives may be at risk - possibly your own. Considerable attention and effort have been made to ensure that these descriptions are accurate. However, many critical factors cannot be controlled, including: the choice of materials; the age, size, and condition of ropes; and the accuracy with which these descriptions have been followed. No responsibility is accepted for incidents arising from the use of this material.