I learned to tie knots about the same time I learned to ride a bike—a long time ago. But I still remember deciding that the bowline was my true favorite, once I finally mastered it. It's not as pretty and symmetrical as the carrick bend, especially if it was originally tied by my dad (with the tail on the outside of the loop). But there's a simple knotty beauty to a bowline, at least once you see it in action: strong and dependable, but still untie-able even after it's been stretched and strained under more load than any knot should ever be asked to handle.


bowline knot finished

Doug walks us through tying a bowline in an easy-to-follow video.

For those who didn't learn to tie knots at such an early age, here's a great way to catch up: boats.com Senior Editor Doug Logan has put together several short step-by-step videos that are easy to follow. He'll show you how to tie stopper knots, hitches, bends, and, of course, the quintessential but somewhat pesky bowline. "Now don't jump up and leave the room," Doug tells us, "We're going to get through this." Best of all, Doug's patient tone won't change, no matter how many times you hit rewind and play it through again.

If you want to learn all of these knots at once, plus a few more, view them together on our YouTube playlist: How to Tie Knots. And while you're there, don't forget to subscribe to the boats.com channel.

Which of these knots will be your favorite?