How to Tie a Clove Hitch

01
of 06

Bring the Line Over the Rail

Clove Hitch Step 1
Photo © Tom Lochhaas.

A clove hitch is frequently used on boats for securing a line around a rail, post, or other cylindrical structure. It is a secure temporary knot used, for example, to hang fenders to the boat’s rails or lifelines, as shown in this series of photos. Advantages of the clove hitch include that it can easily be adjusted or undone.

Begin tying the clove hitch by bringing the line over the rail as shown here, or around a vertical post. Maintaining some tension in the line helps while you make the knot.

02
of 06

Loop the Line a Second Turn

Clove Hitch Step 2
Photo © Tom Lochhaas.
Make a second wrap of the line around the rail (continuing under and then back over).
03
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Bring the Line Across Itself

Clove Hitch Step 3
Photo © Tom Lochhaas.
Bring the line back over the first loop as shown here.
04
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Continue Back Under the Rail

Clove Hitch Step 4
Photo © Tom Lochhaas.
Continue looping the line back under the rail and up, as shown here.
05
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Complete the Clove Hitch

Clove Hitch Step 5
Photo © Tom Lochhaas.
Finally, tuck the free end of the line back under the cross-over loop and pull it taut.
06
of 06

Clove Hitch Used to Hang Fender

Clove Hitch Used to Hang Fender
Photo © Tom Lochhaas.

Here’s an example of how the clove hitch is used to tie a fender to a boat’s rail. A clove hitch can also be used to tie a dock line around a post.

Remember that this is a temporary knot. For a secure knot that will hold in all circumstances, make a loop instead with a bowline.

Check out other basic sailing knots.

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Your Citation
Lochhaas, Tom. "How to Tie a Clove Hitch." ThoughtCo, Mar. 3, 2017, thoughtco.com/tie-a-clove-hitch-2915486. Lochhaas, Tom. (2017, March 3). How to Tie a Clove Hitch. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/tie-a-clove-hitch-2915486 Lochhaas, Tom. "How to Tie a Clove Hitch." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/tie-a-clove-hitch-2915486 (accessed November 25, 2017).