Chapter 2: Before You Get Underway
Tying Nautical Knots
All vessel operators routinely use lines or ropes to secure the vessel to
a dock or attach to a mooring post or buoy. Lines can be made of either natural
or synthetic material. Nylon ropes are good for use with propeller-driven vessels
since they will sink, not float. However, synthetic ropes have a smoother and
more slippery surface, making it easier for a knot to come undone. Regardless
of the type(s) of lines or ropes you use, make sure they are well-maintained.
Store ropes dry, clean, coiled and free of kinks.
Tying knots is an important skill for vessel operators that improves with
practice. Knowing how to securely tie knots will not only keep your vessel
and equipment secure when tying off to piers and mooring buoys, but may also
be an emergency procedure if you are forced to anchor in open water during
Descriptions of Types of Knots
Diagrams of Knots
Figure Eight Bend: The figure-eight knot has several uses,
including connecting two ropes to make a longer line or making a "stopper" knot
in a single line in order to prevent the line from slipping through a
hole or a gap in a block or a cleat.
Bowline Knot: The bowline is a multi-purpose knot that is essential
for vessel operators to know. Forming the knot creates a fixed loop on
the end of the rope or line—a loop which can be used for hitching,
mooring or lifting.
Anchor Bend Knot: A type of hitching knot, the anchor bend
is used to secure a rope to an anchor or a ring. If additional security
is needed, a half hitch can be tied at the end.
Cleating Hitch: Used to attach a line to a cleat on a dock,
the cleating hitch is formed by wrapping the line around the base of
the cleat, then forming one or more figure eights around the cleat. The
knot is secured with a half hitch.
Clove Hitch: The clove hitch is handy for temporary fastening,
such as when tying up to a piling. It's particularly useful because—with
experience—it can be tied with only one hand. For extra fastening
power or for longer periods of time, add two half hitches after tying
the clove hitch.
Round Turn and Two Half Hitches: Handy for tying down a bulky
load or tying a vessel to a mooring post, the round turn and two half
hitches is versatile. It is a secure knot which does not jam and is easy