The art of knot tying is known as “marlinspike.”

Knowing how to tie the right knot is a great skill to have, I learned how to tie a truckers hitch and I no longer tie crap knots. I'll see if I can find a video link.

To be a proficient seaman you need to know how to tie a knot. The art of knot tying is known as “marlinspike.” Knowing how to tie a few basic knots is essential, and with practice you will be able to tie each knot without thinking about it. A few that are needed every time you handle a line are:

• Bowline: This knot doesn’t slip when properly tied and will never come loose and is easy to tie.
• Clove Hitch: This knot is the “general utility” hitch for when you need a quick, simple method of fastening a rope around a post, spar or stake.
• Cleat Hitch: Is a must if tying up to a cleat either on your boat’s cleat or a cleat on the dock. This is one of the simplest knots to apply, but one that confuses many people.
There also is a special knot for tying two lines of different sizes together. It is called a Sheet Bend.
• Figure Eight: This knot is ideal for keeping the end of a rope from running out of tackle or pulley.
• Simple Round Turn: This reliable knot is quickly tied and is the hitch most often used in mooring.
• Rolling Hitch: Used to fasten a small line to a larger line.
• Anchor Bend: Used for securing line to an anchor ring. Fishermen use this one to tie fish hooks to leaders.
• Square knot: Tying a square knot is used where the two ends of the same line need to be joined. Most of us learn to tie our shoes with this knot. The square knot should not be used for joining two lines of different sizes.

Along with being skillful with knots, a good seaman knows how to handle lines and ropes. Actually, the only rope on a ship is the bell rope; all others are known as lines, hawsers and rodes. The able seaman knows where to chafe a line to protect it from wear and also how to splice lines, splicing eyes in two lines together using both regular and long splices.

Being a safe, responsible captain is every boat operator’s responsibility. This includes rescue at sea, handling onboard fires and understanding weather conditions. The reliable seaman must make sure that this boat has proper lighting.

He must know correct anchoring techniques and should be knowledgeable in reading charts. In addition, he should know how to use the electronic equipment on board including the GPS, VHS radio, radar, compass and depth finder.

The skipper must know where he is at all times while afloat. Nautical etiquette and customs are the mark of a good seaman. Knowing what flag to fly, where to fly it and when it can be flown is the difference between an old seaman and a novice. You will never see the national ensign flown on the bow or after sundown on a vessel plotted by an accomplished seaman. More...

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