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Essential power boating knots

All power boat owners should have a basic working knowledge of nautical knots. Knowing which knot to use in each situation is necessary to ensure safety of the vessel and its passengers. Each knot will have different characteristics that make it useful in particular situations. Early mariners designed knots so that they could tie and untie them under all conditions, including storms and darkness.
 
Nautical knot tying involves everything from the basic bowline to the more complicated chain knot. There are a few different reasons for tying knots in lines (ropes) on a boat. These reasons include:
 
  • Creating an end or grip knot
  • Joining two lines together
  • Making loops in lines
  • Fastening lines to objects
 
End or Grip Knots
When working with fraying or thin lines, it is often advisable to put an end or grip knot at the end of the line to improve the ability to grip and hold the line. An end or grip knot is also useful to keep lines from slipping through a sheave or block pulley. Examples of end or grip knots include the simple figure eight knot and the thumb knot. 
 
Knots that Join Two Lines Together
Sometimes it is desirable to join two lines together to lengthen the line or improve the overall strength of the line. Examples of joining knots include the reef knot, the sheet bend knots, the double overhand knot and the fisherman's knot.
 
Knots that Make Loops in Lines
Boaters frequently find it necessary to tie a loop at the end of a line. Loops may be necessary to attach a line to the boat or to attach a boat to a piling or post on a pier. There are many different knots that will make a loop in a line, including the bowline, a slip knot, and Crabbin's hitch.
 
Fastening Knots
A fastening knot is useful in situations where a line needs to be attached to a beam or spar on a boat, or to a hook or ring. A fastening knot can also be used to attach a line to a rock that can be used in place of an anchor if one isn't available or if the sea bottom is so rocky that a standard anchor would be ineffective. Fastening knots include a variety of hitch knots, including the slippery hitch knot and the rolling hitch knot. 
 
How to Decide Which Knot to Use
Deciding which knot is the appropriate knot in a given situation depends on a number of factors, including the purpose of the knot, how long the knot needs to hold tight, and how quickly the knot will need to be untied. For example, the slippery hitch is a basic knot that is useful because it is a secure knot that is easy to untie in the event of an emergency. Learning to tie nautical knots involves a lot of practice so that the knots can be tied quickly and correctly. Knot-tying can be learned by reviewing written materials or watching online videos that show the knot being tied.
 
photo credit: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/15601724848">Knot</a> via <a href="http://photopin.com">photopin</a> <a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/">(license)</a>