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Tying to piling is one of the standard chores of boating. If you are new to boating, you may not have encountered this task, yet, but you will soon.

In order to successfully secure your boat, you must master at least a few of the best knots for tying to piling.

We’re here to help explain this process and teach you how to tie a few of the most important knots you can learn for your time at sea.

Let’s get started!

Best knot for tying to piling

There are tons of knots involved with boating. Luckily, you do not need to master them all at once, and many of them are quite easy to learn.

However, if you plan to tie to piling, you do need to know how to tie a few types of knots well.

Which types of knots are involved with securing your boat to piling?

Pile hitch

You cannot talk about tying to piling without discussing the pile hitch.

This knot was created to attach your boat or line to piling or another stationary object, so it is a terrific choice for the job!

To tie the pile hitch, begin by doubling the end of the line into a loop, leaving plenty of space at the end of the rope.

Next, wrap the entire loop around the piling post. Once the loop is in front of you, cross it over the doubled line and loop it over the top of the piling.

Do not put the post through the loop until you have brought the loop around the post and over the lines.

After the loop is on the post, pull the lines tight to secure the piling knot. 

The pile hitch is one of the best knots that you can use to tie to piling.

It’s easy to tie, very secure, and quick to release.

Cleat hitch

A cleat hitch is one of the most useful knots that you can learn as a boater. 

While it’s a very simple knot, you can use it in a variety of situations. 

Many boaters use the cleat hitch to attach dock lines to your boat when you’re tying to piling.

To tie a cleat hitch knot, you just need a cleat and a rope.

To begin the cleat hitch knot, loop the line around the cleat horn with the most distance from the origin of the line.

Next, bring the line over the cleat in a diagonal direction and loop it around the opposite horn of the cleat.

After that, move the line over the cleat again, and wrap it around the opposite horn as you’ve done in previous steps.

Finally, lock the cleat hitch onto the line by doing a half cleat hitch knot.

While it may be tempting to wrap the cleat multiple times, this does not improve holding power substantially, but it does slow you down if the knot needs to be undone very quickly.

So, refrain from overwrapping the knot.

Bowline knot

This is possibly the most common knot used to tie to piling. Like the cleat hitch, the bowline knot is very easy to learn and to replicate quickly.

You can use this knot to attach a bowline to the piling, to tie a sheet on a sailboat, or many other purposes aboard your boat and around the house.

Here’s how to tie the bowline knot.

First, form a large loop at least 3 feet away from the end of the line, and hold it vertically. 

Arrange the knot so that the part of the line that’s pointed downward is on top in the loop.

Next, bring the end of the line that is pointed downwards back up through the large loop. 

After that, move it around the line that’s positioned on top.

Finally, send it back through the loop. When you are finished, the knot should resemble a pretzel.

At this point, you can tighten the bowline. 

Gently pull on the loop and the top of the line simultaneously to tighten the bowline knot as much as you desire.

This knot will hold for as long as necessary!

Clove hitch

Another knot that is commonly used to tie to piling, the clove hitch may be the simplest knot discussed today.

You can also use this knot to secure loads that will only need to be in place for a short period of time; this knot is very easy to undo.

To begin the clove hitch, turn the rope around the piling, crossing the lines diagonally. 

Pull the line around to the front of the piling, and then loop the working end under the diagonal line. 

Now you have successfully tied the clove hitch!

We hope that this discussion helps broaden your view of boating knots and improves your boating skills. 

Which knot do you use to tie to piling?

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