VIDEO: How to tie a bowline knot

By: Matthew Jones, Photography by: Matthew Jones


Every seadog worth his salt should have a repertoire of knots at his disposal. Being able to tie a bowline knot will not only make your boating more enjoyable, it will also make it safer too. We roped in Neil Murray, General Manager of boating education for New Zealand’s Coastguard to show us how to tie a bowline knot.

How to tie a bowline knot

The trusty bowline is an easy-to-tie, non-slip knot that forms an eye in the end of a line. It has a multitude of uses, mainly for mooring lines, but can also be used for assisting people out of the water, either around their waist or as a foothold.

You may have been taught to tie a bowline by the old, "the rabbit goes through the hole, around the tree, and back through the hole" method. If the initial loop was formed the wrong way around though, you would end up with an annoying tangle instead. The following pictures show a new method that is easier to tie and avoids this issue.

Step one

Form an appropriately-sized loop in the end of your line to suit the task at hand (a spare foot is handy for this). Allow plenty of tail and cross the tail end over the top of the standing part of the rope. With your free hand reach through the loop and grab the tail end.

Bowline -1

Step two

Pull the tail end up through the loop.

Bowline -2

Step three

Pull the tail end down hard so it twists the standing part of the rope and forces it to form a loop.

Bowline -3

Step four

Run the tail end back and underneath the standing part of the rope.

Bowline -4

Step five

Run the tail end back through the loop hole made in step one.

Bowline -5

Step six

Pull the tail end, then the standing part tight to complete the knot.

Bowline -6

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