How to Tie a One-handed Bowline





Introduction: How to Tie a One-handed Bowline

Here are step-by-step instructions on how to tie the one-handed bowline -- a useful rescue knot that won't tighten around your waist.



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    11 Discussions

    Good job, great to practice to learn the knot, but as you say you have no control over the one end, if a boat or helicopter (Waves and Wind) or someone not on the ball is in control of the other end and it comes tight as you have your hand in the "cuff" as you call it, injury can result. I recommend learning the same method using your finger tips so they never get caught in the bight
    Anyone that works with lines knows you never stand in the bight (loop)

    These are great for water rescues. The Scout camp that I staffed at in '09 is where I learned this, and it's fun to do!

    2 replies

    Yep, you'd want to sling it over your shoulder instead of around your waist in that case. We use this knot when we teach the boys water rescue.

    Very true. It great to see people try to figure it out with out teaching them. But then it gets really fun when you have 50+ beginner Scouts doing this, then their Scoutmasters/SPL's drop by to see how they're doing only to find that they can sling out knots better than them, ha-ha! It becomes a fun little competition, and that leads to better learning!

    One of my friends can tie this in a split second. If you throw him a short piece of rope, he'll catch it and while he's throwing it on the ground, he's got the knot tied. Amazing.

    1 reply

    Ya, it's called a "flying bowline". That one's more showy and fun -- I had to watch a frame-by-frame video on youtube to learn how to do it. Now most of my boys can do it as well. That would probably merit another instructable.

    How can it be a one handed bowline when you use your other hand to take off the "handcuff" loop around your working hand? I was taught to tie it with one hand on the rope leading up and the other doing the knot. Sorry but it needs some work.

    1 reply

    My nerves got the best of me when I was making the video, and the "handcuff" loop was too tight -- I had to pull it off with the opposing hand. Not too easy to do when you're hanging down a cliff, holding on to the rope... Trick is to leave the "handcuff" loop loose, so your hand can slip out. Maybe I'll make a do-over some day.

    Good for kites, I think, because it doesn't cinch up and become impossible to untie later.

    I learned to do this when I was a scout. kind of cool, but I have never used it as I have never found myself needing to tie a bowline around myself one-handed.

    1 reply

    Hope I never need it either. But it's good for the boys to learn, and helps them with their rank advancement. I did this specifically for another Scout leader that wanted to learn how to do it, so he could teach his Troop. For REAL fun, try the Flying Bowline: