Boating has been part of human history since prehistoric times with archaeological finds dating back to 8200 BCE. Wooden boats have played a key part in the development of human history for millennia since they were first used in ancient Sumeria and Egypt. Since then, generation after generation has taken to the water for commerce, food, exploration, and the pure enjoyment of it. And for nearly as long, a crucial element of sailing has been the boating knot, with 19th-century sailors even trading knots across global ports.


Thanks to the modern convenience of the Internet and innovations in rope technology, learning and tying a good boating rope has never been easier. In this post from the boat canopy manufacturers at Canvasworks in Cokato, we’re breaking down the five essential boating knots every boater needs to know. Practice these knots and then give us a call to order your custom boat canopy, heavy duty boat cover, or custom boat upholstery.

The Usefulness of Boating Knots

A good boating knot is one of the most important things you can learn if you’re going to be spending time out on the water. Although there are dozens of sailing knots you can potentially learn, you really only need a few good knots. These are just a few examples of times when knots can come in handy:

●        Tying your boat to the dock

●        Putting fenders out

●        Creating a rescue loop


No matter which knots you learn, it’s important to practice often to develop the muscle memory needed to create a good knot when you need one. Grab a spare piece of rope and give these knots a try:

1.    The Square Knot

Also known as the reef knot, the square knot is a simple knot that can be used to tie any two ropes together and can easily be undone if it doesn’t tighten too much. Sailors once used this knot to climb the rigging on tall ships and frigates.


2.    The Clove Hitch

The clove hitch is one of the most essentiall knots and is ideal for temporarily tying something to a post or pole. This handy knot dates back to at least the 18th century and is considered to be equal to the bowline in importance. Made using two successive half-hitches, the clove hitch can easily be adjusted by feeding rope in from either direction.

3.    The Cleat Hitch

Often used to secure a boat to a dock, the cleat hitch is simple to learn and easy to use. It is used frequently by boaters and on land since it can quickly be tied and then untied without much effort.

4.    The Bowline

The bowline knot is an ancient knot that is considered by many to be the “king of knots” due to the important role it has played in sailing small watercraft over the centuries. Reliable, simple, and easy to use, the bowline is used to create a loop at the end of a rope that can be easily tied and untied.

5.    The Figure Eight Knot

Also known as the figure-of-eight knot, this knot is a classic stopper knot that is useful for both rock climbing and sailing. This knot is considered similar to the overhand knot but easier to untie when it jams.

Contact Our Cokato Boat Canopy Manufacturers

Learning these essential boating knots is just one of the things you can do to prepare for this year’s boating season. To order your custom boat upholstery and boat covers, give us a call at 320-559-0165 or contact us online. And don’t forget to stop by our online gallery and check out our custom boat covers today!