Quick Nautical Knots That Are Essential to Memorize Before Sailing

In sailing, there are numerous knots which play an important role is safety, security and practicality. 

Before hitting the waters, it’s good to learn instructions how to perform them to prevent any injuries or objects falling into the water. Let’s take a look at the most important nautical knots and how to perform each one.  

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Essential Nautical Knots To Learn Before Sailing 

They key to remembering these nautical knots is to practice until you can perform them without reading these instructions. Carefully read the uses of each of these nautical knots to ensure you use the right one for your given purpose.  

1. Bowline

A Bowline is one of the most important nautical knots. It makes a secure loop in the end of a piece of rope. It’s useful for fastening a mooring line or hooking to a post. It doesn’t slip or bind under the pressure of a heavy load. As it’s secure enough for a heavy load, it’s not an ideal method for a mooring line which needs releasing under load.

Form a small loop, ensuring you leave enough rope for the size you aspire to have. Pass the end of the rope through the loop to make an overhand knot. Continue the knot through the standing end and hook it through the back of the small loop.

2. Cleat Hitch 

The Cleat Hitch is the most effective of nautical knots to tie a boat to the dock. It’s a quick and easy method to do, and is easy to untie. This is great to know if you’re in a rush. Plus, it’ll impress everyone on deck when you hand them the rope at the dock.

Take a turn around the cleat’s base and bring the line over the top of it. Wrap the line under the cleat’s arm – opposite the first turn. Then, repeat back over the top of the cleat. Wrap under the first arm again and then back over the top. Form an under-hand loop and slip that over the cleat’s arm to pin the free end underneath.

3. Rolling Hitch 

The Rolling Hitch can attach a thinner rope to a thicker one. It holds firmly and securely. You can use it to secure a snubber to an anchor chain or use to haul tools aloft the sailing boat. A Rolling Hitch won’t hold an ordinary rope, which are prone to being slippery. Consider the texture of your rope to determine how securely it’ll hold it in place.

Pass the end of the rope around the middle. Continue wrapping around over the first turn. Then, tuck the rope between the standing end and the first turn. To secure it completely, tighten.

4. Sheet Bend 

A Sheet Bend is used by sailors to connect two ropes which are different sizes. An ordinary fishnet is a series of Sheet Bends. A fisherman’s Bend is a strong knot which won’t slip under strain. It also can’t be untied easily, which makes it one of the most ideal nautical knots for sailors. However, it the Bend isn’t under strain, it can slip free easily. Therefore, ensure it’s properly secured before attaching a hook, anchor or anything else.

At the end of one rope, form a loop. Place the free end of the joined rope under the opening of the loop around both parts of the first rope. Repeat back under itself. Pull all of the four ends tight.

5. Square Knot 

The Square Knot is also referred to at the Reef Knot. It’s useful if you want to tie two lines together which are an equal length. You shouldn’t use this knot to hold heavy loads as it can’t support a lot of weight. This is one of the oldest nautical knots and dates back to at least 4,000 years ago. It originates to use to reef sails. In order to release the Square Knot, a sailor collapses it by pulling the knot with one hand. As a result, it’s a quick and effective knot. Such examples include reefing and furling sails.

Tie two over hand knots. Do this right over left and then twist. Then, repeat this with the left over right and twist. Ensure both parts of the rope exits are knotted together.

6. Figure Eight 

The Figure Eight is one of the strongest and firmest nautical knots and is regularly used by sailors. It’s one of the most important knots in sailing and rock climbing. Its purpose is to stop ropes from running out of retaining devices. It will easily jam, but is more easily undone compared to the Overhand Knot.

Tie a single eight in the rope about two feet from either end. Pass the free end through any point. Retrace the original eight pattern with the free end. This will leave a loop at the bottom with the size you need. Pull all four strands of the rope for extra security.

7. Trucker’s Hitch 

The Trucker’s Hitch is an effective knot to secure equipment or a light canoe to the top of your car. You can attach the top knot to whatever you want to tie your load to. For example, a car roof rack, trailer or anything else.

The one end of the rope to an object. Tie a slippery half hitch around half-way on the rope to form a loop in the middle. Ensure the loop has formed with the slack part of the rope or it will tighten under pressure. Make a wrap-around another object opposite the tie-in point. Feed the free end through the loop. Pull down the free end tightly to secure the know with two half hitches around one line.

8. Clove Hitch 

The Clove Hitch is one of the most effective nautical knots and is also referred to as the Double Hitch. It’s useful for wrapping around an object, such as a tree trunk. It doesn’t work completely securely as a binding knot.

Wrap the free end of the rope around a post. Cross itself around the post again. Slip the working end under the last wrap and pull tightly.

What Other Nautical Knots Do You Know?

We hope you enjoyed reading about the different types of nautical knots. This list isn’t exhaustive to how many are out there. Sailors have been using these for thousands of years for the reasons stated above.

What other nautical knots do you know? Let us know in the comments to inspire and educate others.

Related Article: Boating Tips for Beginners to Keep You Afloat & Secure

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