Three Useful Knots Every Diver Should Know, or Maybe Just One

Knots are very useful when you spend a lot of time out at sea diving. When you use a knot for the right purpose, it is easy to untie even after some strain has been applied to the line. However, you can’t just learn to tie a knot by watching, or doing it just once and expect to remember it the next time when you really need to tie one. I keep a 3 m length 3 mm rope around the house and practice whenever I have some free time.

Before we talk about the knots, let’s just walk over the common terms for the parts of a line.

Parts of a line

Working end – the end that you work on.

Bight – a curved section of the line.

Crossing turn – a line that overlaps itself forming a loop.

Standing end – the other end of the line.

The 3 type of knots I’ll cover are the stopper knot, loop knot and the bending knot.

  1. The stopper knot is a knot that is tied at the end of the line and is usually used to stop the line from pulling through a hole. The stopper knot can also add weight to the end of the line so it is easier for you to throw the line. We will learn the Figure of Eight knot as a stopper knot.
  2. The loop knot is used to make a loop at the end of a line. You can use this knot to secure a line to a ring, dive buoy, or something you can hold on to at the end of the line. The Bowline knot is a popular loop knot.
  3. The bending knot is used for temporarily joining two lines together. The Sheet Bend is an easy to learn bending knot.

Let’s start!

Figure of Eight

The Figure of Eight knot can be used as a stopper knot.

Step 1: Figure of Eight Knot
Step 2: Figure of Eight Knot
Step 3: Figure of Eight Knot
Step 4: Figure of Eight Knot
Step 5: Figure of Eight Knot
Step 6: Figure of Eight Knot
Step 7: Figure of Eight Knot – pull the standing end to tighten the knot

Bowline

The Bowline (pronounced boh-linn) knot is a loop knot and has been around for centuries and is reliable. It is one of the first few knots I learnt when I started learning about knots. It is used to make a loop at the end of a line which you can then use to secure the line to a ring, dive buoy, or something you can hold on to.

Step 1: Bowline
Step 2: Bowline – twist the line and the line will form a crossing turn by itself
Step 3: Bowline
Step 4: Bowline
Step 5: Bowline
Step 6: Bowline – tighten the knot

Sheet Bend

The Sheet Bend is a bending knot used for temporarily joining two lines together.

Step 1: Sheet Bend
Step 2: Sheet Bend
Step 3: Sheet Bend
Step 4: Sheet Bend
Step 5: Sheet Bend – tighten the knot

Great! Now you’ve seen how to tie these 3 knots, I hope you’ll start practicing until it becomes muscle memory.

Besides being useful, tying knots can be therapeutic too and provides hours of entertainment.

Can’t I Learn Just One Knot?

But what if you just don’t have time and really only want to learn one knot? According to Gordon Perry, a very well known figure in the knotting community, if there is only 1 knot you have to learn, it would be the Figure of Eight knot. Earlier, you’ve seen this knot used as a stopper knot. Here are the Figure of Eight knots used as a loop and a bend.

Figure of Eight Loop Knot

Step 1: Figure of Eight Loop
Step 2: Figure of Eight Loop
Step 3: Figure of Eight Loop
Step 4: Figure of Eight Loop
Step 5: Figure of Eight Loop

Figure of Eight Bending Knot

Step 1: Figure of Eight Bend – start with a loosely formed Figure of Eight knot
Step 2: Figure of Eight Bend – using the working end of the second line, thread it parallel to the working end of the first line
Step 3: Figure of Eight Bend – follow through the knot so that the working end of the second line comes out alongside the standing part of the first line
Step 4: Figure of Eight Bend – tighten the knot

If you enjoyed learning these knots, I would recommend getting some books. The first book I got on knotting was by Des Pawson. Since then, I’ve also collected a number of books on knotting including by Gordon Perry.

Note: As a diver, you should always bring a dive knife on your dives. This is especially so if you are going to a new dive destination, or if you are going to be handling ropes underwater.

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Jake Mojiwat has been exploring the beautiful underwater world as a scuba diver since 1999. As a passionate diver, he is lucky to live within the Coral Triangle. With encouragement from friends he co-founded Asia Diving Vacation. In his free time out of the water, Jake loves exploring the outdoors and as a NAUI Instructor, teaches scuba diving at a friend's local dive centre. Grateful for the amazing supporters of this site, Jake continues to help new customers find their next amazing dive destination. "Inhale compressed air, exhale bubbles, see fishes, smile."