Described as ‘the most useful knot in the world’, learning to tie a bowline is an essential skill for any sailor!
We've created a helpful video that guides you through each step of how to tie a bowline.
For many, it's the first knot they learn as a beginner, so feel free to share this video with any new sailors who might find it useful.
The bowline has a long history, and is thought to have been first mentioned in John Smith’s work A Sea Grammer in 1691, where it was called Boling knot. He stated "The Boling knot is also so firmly made and fastened by the bridles into the cringles of the sails, they will break, or the sail split before it will slip.”
In 1954 during an excavation it was also possibly discovered on the rigging of the ancient Egyptian Pharaoh Khufu’s solar ship, so it could have been around for hundreds of years.
The name of the knot is believed to date to the age of sail. On a square-rigged ship, a bowline (sometimes spelled as two words, bow line) is a rope that holds the edge of a square sail towards the bow of the ship and into the wind, preventing it from being taken aback.
A ship is said to be on a "taut bowline" when these lines are made as taut as possible in order to sail close-hauled to the wind.
Press play to learn how to tie a bowline: