You can tie things with almost any old knot or lots of wraps of the rope, but why should you learn and use boating knots? The 6-8 basic knots are easy to tie, there are good ones for particular uses, they are secure (hold tight and don’t come undone), and they’re relatively easy to untie after being put under a strain. Eight basic knots are the bowline, a stopper knot for the end of a line, a clove hitch, a cleat hitch, a sheet bend, a square knot, a round turn and two half-hitches, and the rolling hitch. See the photos on p. 230 of the Mariner’s Guide, and read more about knots on p. 231.There are phone apps that teach knot tying, so you can practice after you’ve checked your email on your smart phone. A good knot tying website (with phone apps and other goodies) is www.animatedknots.com.
Priscilla Travis spends more than 110 days each year on the water, takes photos, and writes about nautical topics.