Mooring Hitch

Learn how to tie the mooring hitch which is easy to tie and easy to untie when ready to leave the dock. This is most useful when tying your boat to the dock for a temporary stay. Secure, this hitch is designed to hold your boat but is one of the easiest to untie when ready to depart. I would not use this knot when staying overnight or longer at the dock or mooring station. Another hitch that is easily undone is the Highwayman's Hitch . Having trouble getting the end or your rope to the dock, not close enough? Try the Monkey Fist tied to the end of your rope, which will aid you in tossing your rope end to the dock.

Understanding Knot Basics

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 unravelling.  

Mooring Hitch - Step One

Step one of tying the mooring hitch is to pass the working end of your rope through the ring, around the railing, or through the eye of the dock cleat.  Form a loop that lays on top of the standing part of the rope, then pass the working end under the rope part that comes from the cleat as seen in the picture.  This part is critical as the next two steps involve forming loops and pulling them through specific parts.  Unless the first step is done correctly, the hitch will not be work.

Mooring Hitch - Step Two

The next step of tying this hitch is to form a loop with the standing part of your rope that lies under the working end as seen in this picture, and pull this loop through.  Begin to tighten up your hitch as you go along.  If you have enough working rope similar to in the picture you are in good shape right now.  Tightening up the hitch at this point is important because you have only one more step to complete the hitch, and that step goes better when the hitch is tight.

Step Three

This third step places the lock into the hitch as well as forms the loop that allows you to easily untie the hitch.   You could call this step the "Loop 'd Loop" as you are going form a loop with the working end of the rope and pass this loop through the last loop formed in Step Two as seen in the picture above.  The only remaining action needed are to tighten this hitch down to the cleat being careful not to lose the working end and its loop in the process.  Keep the working end sticking out as in the picture below.

The mooring hitch is secure when there is a load placed on the standing part of the rope.  Note in the next two pictures how easy this hitch comes undone when you pull on the working end that is sticking out.  Now you try it.

Fishing Knot Guides

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These four resources come highly recommended.  We at PFT each carry the freshwater knot guide in our tackle.  Several of us use the knot tying tool on the right.  I have a knot tying book like this one on my desk, but in addition have downloaded a knot tying app on my phone, which I use regularly.