Bowline Knot

Learn to tie the bowline knot which forms a fixed loop at the end of your rope.  This knot which forms a fixed loop is excellent to use when securing your mooring rope to your boat, use as the end of your rope for your bumper buoy, or to tie at the end of a rope for your boat cover or many other uses.

Understanding Knot Terms

Just like knots used to tie line to hooks and lures there is certain terminology useful to review.  There are two ends of the rope.  In general one end is attached to the vessel or the dock. The other end, called the working end is used to tie the knot, hitch or bend.  Often the standing end or that end secured to the dock or boat will be under load as you pull the boat to the dock or pier.  Unlike with fishing line, when tying dock or mooring knots or hitches, you rarely will want to cut excess rope left on the working end.  A 25 foot rope will become a 12 foot rope quickly if you continually cut off 6-12 inches.  Then you are left with the need to always devote extra time and attention to prevent the rope from unraveling.  

Bowline Knot - Steps 1 and 2

 Bowline Step One Knot
Bowline Knot Step Two

Form a loop with your working end of the rope by passing over the standing part of your rope as in the picture on the left.  Then form a second loop by passing the working end of your rope under then through the first loop formed as in the picture on the right.  It is important that you keep the working end of your rope passing over and under in the right sequence to finish this knot correctly.

Bowline Knot - Step 3

Bowline Knotd Step Three

The third step in making this knot is to pass the working end under the standing part of your rope as shown in the picture above.  Again it is important to mass the end under the standing part.  You are now ready for the final step and tightening.  

Final Step

 Bowline Knot
Bowline Knot

The final step before tightening is to pass the working end of your rope over the standing part of the rope that formed the second loop, and then through the loop that remains from the first loop you made in step one and two.  These two pictures show this step clearly.

Tighten Your Knot

Bowline Knot
You are ready to tighten your knot. There are other forms of loop knots that are easier to untie than this knot like the mooring hitch or the Highwayman's Hitch . The bowline knot is very secure and becomes very tight over time under a load.