Five Nautical Knots to Know

5 Need to Know Sailing Knots

It is time to dust off your boat knot tying skills! Here are 5 must-know nautical knots to have you boating like a pro, in no time at all.

Sailing Knots – Round Turn Two Half Hitches

easy boat knots

This is a practical and easy-to-learn knot that is great for beginners and advanced boaters! This knot is used to secure the end of a rope to a fixed object. A round turn wraps the rope around the object, while the two half hitches secure the end around the standing part.
Practical Uses:
• Tying a fender
• Tying to a bull rail

Sailing Knots – Sheet Bend (& Double Sheet Bend)

nautical knots to know

This knot is used for tying two ropes together, generally of different sizes. The traditional Sheet Bend involves the working end looping around the standing end once, and you guessed it, the Double Sheet Bend involves wrapping the standing end twice. This rope is very effective when joining two ropes together that are under loading, however it will likely become untied if the ropes are not under load.
Practical Uses:
• Making nets
• Joining lines

Sailing Knots – Figure Eight Knot

sailing knots you need to know

Also known as a Flemish Knot, the figure of eight knot is a simple and effective way to stop a rope from slipping out of a device. It is very popular for boating as well as a primary knot for rock climbing! It is simple to tie, and easy to undo.
Practical Uses:
• Stopping a line from sliding through rigging

Sailing Knots – Bowline

bowline boating knot


Quite possibly the most important knot for a sailor & boater! This knot creates a loop at the end of a rope and has endless uses! If you’ve done the knot correctly, the knot should resemble a person wearing a lifejacket.
Practical Uses:
• Tying a line to a stanchion
• Fastening a halyard to a head of a sail
• Safety harness for rescuing

sailing knots to knowSailing Knots – Reef Knot (Square Knot)

Originating from its use with reef sails, this knot is used to secure a single line around an item. It is one of the first knots that sailors learn, as it is easy to learn through the chant of “right over left and left over right”. Under tension, this knot is very secure however it is very easy to untie.
• Tying two lines of the same material and density to each other
• Reefing sails
• Securing a bundle of items to each other

Remember, practice makes perfect! Don’t worry if these knots don’t come out right the first few times you try them. With enough practice, they will become like second nature. Armed with just these few knots, when it’s time to tie up to the dock or put out the fenders, you will be able to do so like a pro.