How to Tie a Bowline Knot

The bowline knot has many uses such as fastening a mooring line to a post or fastening a halyard to a jib or mainsail. It creates a great closed loop but is not recommended for any type of safety knot as it is not easy to untie when under pressure.

I first learned this knot in a beginning sailing class where it was told that if I didn’t learn any other knots I needed to at least learn the bowline knot. 

This knot is easy to tie and useful and once you learn it you will find you self tying it often because its also fun to tie.

  1. Form a loop with your right hand (left if you are left handed) a small distance from the end of the line.
  2. Pass the bitter end under and through the loop.
  3. Pull the bitter end down around the back of the loop and through it.
  4. Then pull the bitter end back through the top of the loop.
  5. Pull to tighten.

There are lots of great knots to learn to tie but the bowline is not only one of the easier knots it is also one of the most used sailing knots out there.  My first experience sailing on he Puget Sound involved trying learnig this knot but I quickly forgot it when I didn’t sail again for a long time.  When took a sailing class a few months later I was able to learn it and then kept practicing it so I wouldn’t forget.

Some folks find it easier to loop the rope around something so that you can work with it more easily.  This can really help you to get a feel for how the knot gets used as well.  Have fun with this and keep practicing.