10 Boating Knot Terms You Should Know
Unless you plan on never ever using your boat, you need to master the art of tying boat knots.
Boating Knot Terminology
Working End: The end of a line or rope that is used to make the knot. Also called the running end or tag end.
Standing End: The opposite end of a line or rope to the working end.
Standing Part: The line or rope between the working and standing ends.
If you were to tie a rope to a boat cleat, the working end would be the end used to make the knot that secures the rope around the cleat; the standing end would be the end of the rope resting on the ground; and the standing part would be the length of rope in between both ends.
Bight: A U-shaped bend in a piece of rope made by doubling the line or rope back on itself.
Overhand Loop: A loop made by the working end crossing over the top of the standing part of a line or rope.
Underhand Loop: A loop made by the working end crossing under the standing part of a line or rope. Alternatively, an underhand loop is a circular shape made by the standing end crossing over the standing part of a line or rope.
If you were to lay a piece of rope across the palm of your hand, then brought the rope back across your palm from the direction it came, the resulting bend in the rope would be a bight. If you were to twist the bight 180°, one of the ends of the rope would cross over the other and you would have made a loop.
Crossing Point: The point at which the standing part of a line or rope crosses over itself, such as when a loop is made.
Elbow: Two crossing points close to one another.
If you were to twist a bight 180°, you would make a single crossing point. If you were to then twist the bight another 180°, a second crossing point would be made. This double crossing point would be an elbow.
Turn: A single loop made around an object with the working end continuing in the direction it was originally traveling.
Round Turn: A double loop made around an object with the working end returning in the direction it came from.
If you were to take a rope, wrap it 360° around a post so that the working end was on the far side and the standing end on the near side, it would be a turn. If you were to continue wrapping the rope around a post so that the working end returned to the near side, it would be a round turn.
Having a basic understanding of these boating knot terms is a good first step toward learning how to tie effective knots when berthing or docking your boat.