Common Knots for practical Seamen

Knots, Bends, Hitches and Splices in common use.

Someone with a romantic outlook has called this the ‘art of the sailor man’ but in these notes we will do without the romance and offer limited and strictly practical instruction on the real essentials. Further study is recommended and there are many good books on the subject.  If you live in the Central Coast area you should undertaking the Marine Rescue Central Coast practical Seamanship Course.

Selection of just the right knot for the job is essential and the type and size of rope has a bearing. Synthetics tend to have a smooth surface, some more so than others and the holding power of knots and splices will be affected accordingly. Remember too, to consider the ‘lay’ of the rope; many knots and splices require some degree of twist, and laid rope may resist this, buckling or kinking if forced. The line will cooperate much better if tension is taken out by a half twist at the right time in the knot making process or when coiling.

The ends of a rope will unravel if not secure. Melting the exposed filaments of synthetic rope will help but not for long if the line is in regular use. A tight whipping is necessary using the correct thickness of whipping twine. there are several variations of whippings but in these notes we will only deal with the most used or common whipping

There are many opinions about the range of knots and whippings necessary for practical use on small craft. Our recommended list is as follows: