Knot Wednesday: The Bowline

One of the most useful knots to know for a marine scientist and generally anyone around boats.  The name derives its name from its often use in attaching a line from the bow of ship to the  leech, i.e. the outer vertical edge, of square-sail to prevent it from being blown inside out in the wind.

The bowline (pronounced “boh-lin”) forms a loop at the end of a line and is advantageous because it is easy tie and will not slip or loosen.  I like to further secure the working end, the end actively used in tying the knot, when a measure of additional security is needed with a cable tie.

Below is the video showing how to tie the bowline, but I remember it by the rabbit in the hole technique.  The working is the rabbit and the standing end is a tree trunk.  The first loop, the rabbit hole, is made near the end of the rope.  The rabbit comes up the hole, hops around the tree from right to left, and then back down the hole.  Done!

Dr. M (1801 Posts)

Craig McClain is the Executive Director of the Lousiana University Marine Consortium. He has conducted deep-sea research for 20 years and published over 50 papers in the area. He has participated in and led dozens of oceanographic expeditions taken him to the Antarctic and the most remote regions of the Pacific and Atlantic. Craig’s research focuses on how energy drives the biology of marine invertebrates from individuals to ecosystems, specifically, seeking to uncover how organisms are adapted to different levels of carbon availability, i.e. food, and how this determines the kinds and number of species in different parts of the oceans. Additionally, Craig is obsessed with the size of things. Sometimes this translated into actually scientific research. Craig’s research has been featured on National Public Radio, Discovery Channel, Fox News, National Geographic and ABC News. In addition to his scientific research, Craig also advocates the need for scientists to connect with the public and is the founder and chief editor of the acclaimed Deep-Sea News (, a popular ocean-themed blog that has won numerous awards. His writing has been featured in Cosmos, Science Illustrated, American Scientist, Wired, Mental Floss, and the Open Lab: The Best Science Writing on the Web.

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