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Welcome to Scouting Knots
These animated knots are described for scouts, but most of them have critical uses in other environments. The selection of knots is based on consultation with many scouting leaders and a review of the requirements by some national organizations.
Rather than show the Fisherman's Knot the Double Fisherman's is used because it is safer and more widely used. The Fisherman's can easily be created by substituting Overhand Knots for the Double Overhand Knots. The Sheepshank is included reluctantly for reasons explained on its page. I make no apology for also including the Constrictor and Alpine Butterfly. They are both useful and more valuable than the Sheepshank.
Some additional knots which have been listed for teaching to scouts are described elsewhere on this website: the Water Knot, the Bowline on a Bight, the Carrick Bend, and the Sailmaker's Whipping. The Tautline Hitch is regarded as a variation of the Rolling Hitch. The Double Sheet Bend is pictured on the Sheet Bend Page. The Pipe Hitch is not described as several knots appear to share this name, one of which is the same as the Klemheist. The Masthead or Jury Knot is not described here as it appears to have limited use but you can find how to make it on the page about the Masthead Knot Mat in the decorative section. So far at least, the Cat's paw, Draw Hitch, and Honda are not included.
Which Knot Should I Use?
First part a hitch
Coil a Rope
Coil Unattached Rope
Take the Load Off a Taut Line
Attach a rope to another taut rope
Lift Barrel with Rope
Attach a rope to barrel for lifting
Slide and Grip Knots
Slide & Grip with the end of a rope
Make a Rope Ladder
Use marlinspike hitches to make ladder
Shorten a Rope
Reduces rope's length (unreliable)
Tow a Log or Spar
Attach rope temporarily to a spar or log
Set a Tent
Tension a Ridgeline or Guy Line
Some national organizations specify detailed requirements for advancement and for various activities. These lists change with time and some are overdue for revision because they contain errors or knots of almost no value. Other countries describe projects and activities that involve using knots, but provide no specified lists. The lists below were compiled from data on websites in the US and UK:
Required Knots, US
From www.USScouts.org (effective February 18, 2014):
Boy Scout Joining Requirement
Merit Badge Knots, US
Thanks to Matt Sorensen and Willard Burt who helped me compile this this list from www.scouting.org:
Pioneering Merit Badge
Round Turn with Two Half Hitches
Sheepshank (included very reluctantly – too high a failure rate)
Rowing Merit Badge
Round Turn with Two Half-Hitches
Tumble Hitch (Added, see below)
Mooring Hitch (omitted, Tumble Hitch better alternative)
Wellman's Knot (omitted, Tumble Hitch better alternative)
Merit Badge Knots, UK
This list was compiled from scouts.org.uk: