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How to Tie a Bowline Knot

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1 of 6

Start with a Small Loop and a Large Loop
Bowline Step 1

Photo © Kate Derrick

The bowline is among the most commonly used knots on a sailboat. With it, you can tie a line (rope) in a loop around anything else to anchor the line. The bowline is not only strong and secure but is easy to break loose later, even when pulled tight under a load. Once you learn how to tie a bowline and get some practice, you’ll never forget it.

A fun way to learn the steps for tying a bowline knot uses the “rabbit in a hole” memory aid.

Step 1

Begin by forming a little loop (the rabbit hole) by crossing the line over itself as shown here.

Note: the big loop to the right will be the finished loop when the knot is tied. (Once you have learned the knot, practice tying that loop around something like a rail or stanchion on your boat.)

Related Video
How to Tie a Tie: Windsor Knot & Half Windsor

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