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This selection of knots was suggested by Greg Felton who requested a section devoted to Search & Rescue. We initially supposed that this selection would just be a subset of the climbing page. However, Greg introduced me to the Tensionless Hitch as well as the Emergency Webbing Harness and we decided that a section devoted to Search & Rescue would be appropriate.

The final selection of knots is based on consultation with, and advice from, people working in Search & Rescue.

Click on the title to go to the animated link


The eight knots in this section are the most basic knots - the building blocks of knot tying. They illustrate the fundamental principles of knot tying. Many are also components of other knots or they provide the underlying structure. The Square Knot (Reef Knot) and Sheet Bend are the two basic methods of joining two ropes; and the Figure 8 underlies many other important knots.


The terms Overhand Knot, Half Hitch, and Half Knot are often confused and frequently used as though they are interchangeable. Similarly with the Slip Knot and Noose. Their importance and their differences are explained for these five knots and cross-links are provided with each animation to facilitate quick comparison.


These animated knots are primarily for boaters, but many are useful for anyone who uses rope and values safety.


The selection of knots is based on many years of sailing combined with feedback and advice from several helpful captains. The knots are arranged in alphabetical order.


Rope used in boating is durable and expensive and is often handling heavy loads, e.g., when berthing, mooring, towing another vessel, preparing for a storm, or managing sails. The emphasis, therefore, is on safety, reliability, and convenience. In contrast to the fishing knots, value is also placed on being able to use the rope repeatedly and untie each knot without difficulty.


Laid rope is also known as twisted rope because it's made by twisting fibers together. For the majority of world history this was the most prevalent type of rope construction. Laid rope is made in a 3-part process: First, fibers are twisted into yarns. Next, the yarns are twisted together to form strands.

Solid braid rope is a complex braid with a filler core and a lock-stitch construction. This makes it a very flexible rope, but with a solid core, it is a rope that must be clamped--it cannot be spliced. 

Braid on Braid has a low stretch braided Polyester core with an abrasion resistant braided Polyester cover. After braiding, the rope is heat set under load to reduce stretch. It is ideal for sheets, halyards, control lines and many general purpose applications.

Static Kernmantle dynamic climbing rope, the core fibers are usually twisted to make the rope more elastic. Static kernmantle rope is made with untwisted core fibers and a tighter braid, which makes it stiffer and limits its stretch.

Dynamic Kernmantle has greater elasticity allows a dynamic rope to more slowly absorb the energy of a sudden load, such from arresting a climber's fall, by reducing the peak force on the rope and thus the probability of the rope's catastrophic failure. A kernmantle rope is the most common type of dynamic rope now used.

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