How to Tie a Bowline Knot

The bowline loop is the workhorse of knots—it never slips, comes loose, or jams under strain. How many people do you know who are that reliable?

Step 1: Make “Q” shape
Cross the end of the rope over the top of the remaining rope, making a “Q” shape.

Step 2: Thread tail
Pass a short portion of the end of the rope, or the tail of the “Q,” through the loop from behind (and back along the remaining rope). Thread it loosely, leaving behind a new large, loose loop to the right of your “Q.”

Step 3: Pass short portion
Pass the short portion of the end around the back of the remaining rope.

Step 4: Pass short portion again
Bring the short portion of the end back up and once again pass it through the small loop (your initial “Q”), this time from the front.

Step 5: Cinch knot closed
Cinch the knot closed, and use the resulting loop to secure your bow.

Did You Know?
The Bowline is also called the King of Knots—a version of it exists in every sea-faring culture in the world.