Even if you’re knot interested, it is impossible to escape nautical knots when it comes to boating and sailing. Knots secure almost everything on a boat. It means safety. Properly securing boats to anchors, docks, and mooring balls rely on a sailor’s knotting skills. Tying objects on deck and using lines to trim sails all require knots. In fact, knots were the first measurement of speed on a boat. They were tied at regular intervals on a line: the total number of knots per hour measured the speed.
So if you’re going to start renting boats on the regular or owning your own, it’s time to start grabbing rope and practicing. Mastery of different knots is the nautical badge of honor. This skill will help you earn respect among the sailing community. To help you familiarize with boating knots, here are some of the most important knots that you need to know:
The Anchor Bend Knot: You guessed it from the name. This knot is used to tie your anchor. This is made of two half hitches and two wraps and tightens fiercely when under load. This tie is usually cut off instead of being untied.
The Bowline Knot (a.k.a “King of Knots”): This is the most common knot in boating. To create the bowline, you have to create a loop at the end of the rope that neither shrinks nor expands. The more it’s pulled, the tighter it becomes.
The Clove Hitch Knot: This knot is used to secure your boat to a dock that has rails rather than cleats. The line wraps around itself without a real knot. This makes a quick release, especially when sailing off.
The Cleat Hitch Knot: This knot is closely related to the clove hitch. This knot ties a line over itself on a cleat rather than a rail. It is one of the simpler methods for connecting your boat to the dock.
The Figure Eight Knot (a.k.a. Flemish knot): This one is intuitive: the figure eight knot is in the shape of a figure eight. It functions as a stopper at the end of a line. When this is tightened, it secures the endpoint of any line. This knot is commonly used to guarantee that lines don’t run out on a pulley or another tackle on board.
The Half Hitch Knot: This knot secures lines to a post or pole. Two half hitches are needed to create this knot.
The Rolling Hitch Knot: This knot ties another line to an existing line. This knot is usually used to tie a boat to a rail or line.
The Sheet Bend Knot: This knot can join lines or materials together regardless of their sizes. The bigger line is the “bight” and the smaller line loops through it. This tie seldom jams and is hard to untie.
The Slip Hitch Knot: This knot slides along the line to tighten or loosen things. This is one of the easiest to set up and untie. It is commonly used in attaching fenders to rails. However, it is not advised to use this knot to secure things for long periods of time or on lines expected to undergo severe stress.
The Square Knot: This knot ties two lines together to make longer lines. This is commonly used for reefing and furling sails. Just like the bowline knot, this knot also tightens with stress, making it extremely reliable.
The Trucker’s Hitch Knot: This might not sound like a boating knot but it is. Trucker’s Hitch is used to secure loads on boat decks.
There are definitely more nautical knots not mentioned on this list, but these are the most common ones. The best way to learn these knots is through a video or live demonstration. Master them and you will be guaranteed any sailor’s trust and respect.