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How to Tie a Bowline Knot

Sheeba Nambiar
Bowline knots are versatile and very secure. They're also easy to tie. Read ahead to learn the steps of tying this knot.
Popular for security, bowline knot has a variety of uses. This is easy to tie and untie, and has been used since ancient times to form a secure loop at the end of the rope for varied purposes. Although considered safe, sometimes it tends to get loose and takes up a lot of rope in capsizing.
To overcome these problems, there are different secure variations that have been developed over time.
For example, 'bowline on a bight' is one of the types that forms fixed-size loops that are more secure and are very unlikely to loosen up.
Therefore it's one of the best choices for tying up a climbing harness, say for rock climbing. The other choice is the figure-8 knot.
Referred to as the 'King of the Knots', this is one of the four maritime knots. The other knots include: the figure-8, the clove hitch, and the reef.

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The bowline resembles the sheet bend, the only difference being that it is tied using a single rope whereas the sheet bend uses two ropes to join and form a knot.

Method of Tying

Step 1: Hold the short end of the rope in one hand, form a little loop (often known as the rabbit hole) by crossing the short end over the long end.

Step 2: Take the long end of the rope out through the loop.
Step 3: Pass the short end of the rope behind the long end, forming a loop, and insert the short end into that loop.

Step 4: Finally, tighten the knot by pulling both ends of the rope in the opposite directions.
This knot could be used in a variety of ways. Its traditional use is in sailing small crafts and tying a jib sheet to the clew of a jib, or fastening a halyard to the head of the sail.
It is quite useful while camping. In fact, the Federal Aviation Administration has recommended bowline to tie down a light aircraft. It would be useful to those who indulge in adventure or extreme sports.
There are other variations of this knot that include:
  • Water bowline
  • Double bowline
  • Yosemite bowline
  • French bowline
Try to tie one around your waist for practice, and you'll master the art of tying a bowline anywhere.
An easy way to remember is:
 "Lay the bight to make a hole
Then under the back and around the pole
Over the top and through the eye
Clinch it tight and let it lie."