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How to Tie a Cleat Hitch

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Make the First Loop
Cleat hitch step 1

Courtesy FloridaSailingResource.com

The cleat hitch is a special knot used to secure a line (rope) to a cleat. Almost all boats have cleats at the bow (to which an anchor line or forward dock line is tied) and at the stern (to which a dinghy tow line or aft dock line is tied). Cleats are also used on many boats to secure jibsheets or other running lines. Learn how to tie a cleat hitch for use in these situations

If a line is not correctly secured on the cleat using a cleat hitch, it can work itself loose. Learn to do it the right way and soon you’ll be able to do it in your sleep.

Although cleats come in many sizes and shapes, most standard cleats have two “horns” around which the line is tied. The one shown here is a dock cleat used for tying up a boat.

Here’s the right way to tie a cleat hitch:

First, bring the line under load past the center of the cleat on the outside, and wrap it around under both horns.

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