From ephemerisle
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Learning how to tie knots and handle rope properly are essential skills to safe boating. Generally speaking, a good knot not only holds whatever it is designed to, but is also easy to untie. Knots on top of knots on top of knots, shows a lack of confidence that the original knot will hold.

Everyone should know these

  • Cleat Hitch - Used for attaching anchors lines or dock lines to a cleat.
  • Bowline - Forms a loop which holds perfectly, yet unties almost effortlessly.
  • Bowline on a Bight - Another way of tying a bowline when you don't have access to the end of the line.
  • Double Overhand Stopper Knot - Stopper knot used to prevent the end of a line from slipping through a block. It is less likely to slip than the Figure 8 knot. The Double Overhand Knot is also an element of the Double Fisherman's Knot, which is commonly used to tie two ropes together (see below).
  • Slipped Buntline Hitch - A good temporary knot which will hold, but comes undone with one pull. Useful for temporarily tying up a dinghy or a kayak.
  • Butterfly Coil - An improperly coiled rope will knot and tangle, making it difficult or impossible to deploy when needed. The butterfly coil is one method of of coiling rope without twists/knots. If you have a very long rope, or limited arm strength, you can butterfly coil the rope over your neck, instead of your arm.

Other important knots for Ephemerisle

  • Trucker's Hitch - To tightly ratchet down a line around cargo (such as a backpack, kayak, etc.)
  • Double Fisherman's Knot - A good way of attaching two lines together
  • Icicle Hitch- A gripping hitch. Can be used to relieve or distribute pressure on an anchor line, or to tie off a line to a post, or railing. Practical Sailor tests found it to be better than other gripping hitches, such as the rolling hitch.

Additional boating knots are listed on Animated Knots. 5 Essential Sailing Knots shows how to use some of them in practice.