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Marlinespike - Knots to Know

As mentioned earlier, if you are planning to take the USCG license exam you will not be expected to actually tie knots, however, you will find several questions concerning the names of knots and their intended use. Following is a graphic that you may see when taking the exam and you will be asked to identify the different knots pictured.

This illustration was taken directly from the U.S. Coast Guard exam prep materials. Knot W, as illustrated, is a thief knot, not a square knot as it is identified in the text. Thanks to Robert Kibitz for noticing this!

E: Timber hitch and half hitch: used for hauling timbers.

F: Round turn and two half hitches: use to permanently tie up to a piling.

G: Fisherman’s bend AKA anchor bend: used to tie a rode to the anchor.

H: Becket or sheet bend: used to tie lines of different sizes together.

I: Bowline on a bight: used for rescuing a person by putting a leg though each loop if conscious or if unconscious put both legs through one loop and the chest and arms through the other.

J: Plain whipping: a quick way to whip the end of line.

K: Sailmaker’s whip: requires a sailmaker’s needle.

L.: Double blackwall hitch: for attaching a line to a cargo hook.

M: Carrick bend: for connecting two large hawsers.

N: Stopper: a length of line attached to running with a rolling hitch in order to relieve strain on the running rigging.

O: Barrel hitch: for lifting barrels.

P: Rolling hitch: used for fastening a line to a spar.

Q: Bowline: the king of knots. Used to form a temporary loop in a line. Won’t slip or jam under strain.

R: Double sheet bend: used to secure two lines of different diameters.

S: Blackwall hitch: used to attach a line to cargo hook.

T: French bowline: used like a bowline on the bight for rescue.

U: Half hitch: a turn of line around an object with the bitter end led back through the bight.

V: Marline hitch: used to lash canvas to a spar.

W: Square knot AKA reef knot: used to connect two lines of different diameters.

X: Clove hitch: use to temporarily attach a line to a piling. Can come loose unless it is followed by a half hitch.

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