Know your Knots

There are so many knots to choose from and which to use for a certain situation? Generally knowing a handle of the correct knots will provide you with enough to get by in most situations. This section will help you understand knots, explaining what they are used for, how to tie them. You’ll need to practice them to get you knots down to a tie. Find a piece of old rope of string to help you fingers practice them and develop your muscle memory.

This section will provide you with more confidence with knots when it comes to sailing with a friend, taking a charter and helping out on a boat or taking a course.

Cleat Knots
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Cleat Knot

Use a simple cleat knot to attach the dock lines. The cleat knot, or cleat hitch, is the most commonly used knots to secure dock lines. Start by sliding the loop on the rope through the cleat, under the top of the cleat. Then, wrap the loop over the arms on the cleat and tug gently on the loose rope to tighten it.

Complex Cleat Knot
With thanks to WikiPedia

Complex Cleat Knot

Try a complex cleat knot for a secure tie. A complex cleat knot is another option if you want to really secure the dock lines, though it will take more time than a simple cleat knot. Start by looping the line once around the bottom of the cleat. Then, slide the line over the top of the cleat and wrap it around the opposite side of the cleat. Raise it over the top of the cleat and loop it under the first arm to form a figure 8 shape. Make a small, underhand loop and place it over the first arm. Tug the end of the rope to secure the knot.

You should have a nice, tight figure 8 shape on the cleats when you form a complex cleat knot. Use a complex cleat knot for all the dock lines, if you decide to use it.

Clove Knot
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Clove Knot

Use a clove knot if you are docking at a piling. A clove knot, or clove hitch, should only be used if you are attaching dock lines to a piling, rather than to a dock. Start by wrapping the loose end of the line around the post or hook on the piling. Then, cross the line over itself once and loop the loose end around the post again. Put the loose end under the wrap you just made and tug the loose end of the line to tighten the knot.

Make sure you use the clove knot for all 3-4 dock lines so the boat is tied securely to the piling.


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