Saturday, June 6, 2009

Tying Nautical Knots

All boat operators use lines or to secure their vessel to a dock or to a mooring buoy. Lines can be made of 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 of lines you use, make sure they are maintained. Store ropes dry, clean, coiled and free of kinks.

Tying knots is a skill for boat operators that will improve with practice. Knowing how to tie knots will not only keep your vessel and equipment secure when tying off to piers and mooring buoys, but can also be a help in a emergency.

Below are some basic knots that you should know:

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: 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: 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.

Cleat 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 to undo.