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You own a boat, so you're going to need to know some practical knots for boating. Here are some key knots to use.

Figure of Eight Knot

What it's used for: It's a great stopper knot, to prevent rope from slipping through a pulley. Can also be used to reinforce another knot.

Advantages: Easy to undo.

What you shouldn't use it for: it's not a great knot for securing a line to something.

Reef knot (square knot)

What it's used for: Originally designed to tie sails up when reducing sail area ("reefing"), also useful as a binding knot.

Advantages: Quick and easy to tie; good for securing non-critical items.

What you shouldn't use it for: Don't use where safety is a critical factor (it may slip on synthetic ropes). Don't use for joining two ropes of different sizes.

Bowline knot

What it's used for: Forms a secure loop at the end of a line - handy as a mooring line or even as a hand/foot hold. 

Advantages: Reliable, easy to tie, rarely slips and can be easily untied even after it's been subject to a heavy load. One of the most useful knots you can know!

What you shouldn't use it for: it's strong and secure but don't use it in life-or-death situations.

Clove hitch

What it's used for: securely fastening a line to a rail.

Advantages: it's a simple all-purpose hitch, that's easy to tie and untie.

What you shouldn't use it for: it can slip (especially if what it's tied to rotates). Needs constant pressure on the line or it may untie. If pulled too tight it can bind. 

Sheet bend

What it's used for: Great for joining lines of different sizes or different materials.

Advantages: Good for joining synthetic lines, as it doesn't jam and can be easily untied.

What you shouldn't use it for: don't use in critical situations. 

Need to learn more? 

Knots are a part of boating life, and there's no better way to learn than being taken through it step by step. Learn the basics of rope work as well as navigation and boat safety with a Day Skipper course. New Coastguard Members get $100 off the course and existing members get 15% off. 

With thanks to Animated Knots.

Boatie's Best Mate.

Get a Coastguard membership today for peace of mind when you’re out boating.