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Knot work

Image of knot, many of which on this page are courtesy of 64th Birkenhead Sea Scouts

This guide to knots should get you started, although the best way to learn how to tie a knot is to do it whilst someone shows you. Hover over the names of each knot to see the knot on the right, or hover here to see an animation on how to tie a friendship knot.


Reef knot - A common and well known knot used for joining two ropes.
Granny knot - A surprisingly common poor knot which slips easily.
Sheet Bend - Used for joining two ropes of very different diameter, or a rope to a hook.
Figure of eight - Used as a stop knot, turned in the end of a sheet.
Clove Hitch - Useful as the start of a lashing or as a temporary mooring.
Sheep shank - Used to temporarily shorten a rope.
Round turn and two half hitches - Similar to a clove hitch but less likely to slip.
Bowline - A very useful and common knot which forms a loop that can not slip.
Friendship - A great knot to tie if you lose your woggle.


Coil and hank - how to organise rope when you have finished with it
Rethreaded figure of eight - Useful for attaching ropes around large anchor points
Fireman’s Chair - Used to manoevre a potentially unconscious person on a rope.
Rolling Hitch - Used to attach a line to a stave or another rope.
Timber Hitch - Useful when hoisting or dragging a piece of timber.
Square Lashing - Useful for making rafts where two staves meet at right-angles.
Sheer Lashing - Useful for joining two staves in line eg for a makeshift flagpole.


Common whipping - can be made anywhere in a length of rope, often to secure an eye splice.
Eye splice - Used to make a permanent 'eye' hole in the rope
Short splice - Used to join two identical sized pieces of rope permanently
Back splice
Sail makers whipping - Often used to prevent the ends of a rope from fraying.
Diagonal Lashing
Figure of Eight Lashing

A Knot Board

The ultimate in knot proficiency is to create a knot board that clearly shows and names the knots that can be tied, as instruction for others

Clara's amazing knot board, made for her personal challenge

Check out Grog's fantastic animated website of knots or our own animated friendship knot tying instructions.

WhatKnotToDo app logo

A guide to starting knots is also available here, and the What Knot To Do iPhone app is your pocket guide on your iPhone to 70 must know knots in six categories. With this free app you'll always have just the right knot at the ready, with clear step-by-step tying instructions to meet any and every outdoor need.