Two Knots Every Boater Must Know To Tie Up To The Dock (VIDEO)


Do you know the two best knots to tie your boat to a dock?

If you want to make sure your boat never floats away from the dock, you have to know these two knots…

They’re simple and take just a few short seconds to tie, but so many people don’t tie them correctly.

We’ve got Capt. Mark “Hollywood” Johnson from to teach you how to tie these knots the right way, as well as warn you of the most common mistakes that people make when tying up to the dock.

If you want to make sure your boat stays secure to the dock, watch the video below.

Two Knots Every Boater Must Know [VIDEO]

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Many dock lines come with a loop already manufactured into the line.

If you have one of these lines, you need to know the two knots below.

The first knot isn’t actually a knot, but more of a way to secure the loop to the cleat on your boat.

All you have to do is put the loop through the chock of the cleat, wrap the loop around each of the horns, and cinch it tight.

The other knot is a figure eight with a locking half hitch.

You can learn how to tie the figure eight with the locking half hitch in the video above, or in this blog post.

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3 Boat Tying Mistakes

boat knot tying mistakes

Here are the three biggest mistakes people make when tying their boats to the dock with these lines:

  1. Putting the loop around the cleat. This is very insecure and can easily slip off.
  2. Putting the loop through the cleat and wrapping it around just one horn. This is easier to slip off than wrapping around both horns (and takes the same amount of effort).
  3. Not finishing the figure eight with a locking half hitch. This makes this knot easy to slip off.


cleat hitch knot

If you’re docking your boat, make sure that you tie it up the right way.

It takes a small amount of time and effort to do it the right way but it can save you huge headaches and maybe even a swim in the water.

Have any questions about the two knots to tie your boat to a dock?

Let me know in the comments below!

If you’re in the Florida Keys and you want to go fishing with Capt. Hollywood and his fleet, you can get in touch with them at

And if you know someone who needs to learn the two knots to tie your boat to a dock, please TAG or SHARE this with them!

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Rick Spence
2 years ago

Great post! Learning the proper way to tie to a cleat is important for safe, trouble-free boating. My dad, a well-known sailor for many years out of the St. Pete Yacht Club, taught me how to tie to a cleat when I was 7 or 8 years old more than 65 years ago and I’ve used it on 100’s of boats from 12 to 40+ feet… many during my 10 years as a marine dealer in the 1970’s and 80’s.

Dave Bennett
2 years ago

He demonstrated the wrong way on the dock cleat. The way he did it it could tighten on itself to where it could not be released

James J. Thompson, Jr.
2 years ago

I have heard that the correct way is to take a full wrap around the base before the figure 8 and half hitch.

4 years ago

Yeah that cleat hitch blows btw.

4 years ago

Never use a half hitch when tying up to a dock cleat, wrap the line in a figure 8 2 or three times, was a Commerical fisherman and Merchant Mariner for years and never saw anyone tie a half hitch to a cleat either on a dock or boat.

doc oc
3 years ago
Reply to  Anonymous

actually it’s not the number of figure 8 loops, it’s the number of wraps around the cleat it’s the wraps around the base of the cleat. but yes a full wrap is better than a half wrap.

3 years ago
Reply to  Anonymous

Roger that. Better to use multiple figure eights than too few and a half hitch. Having to chop out a half hitch that has cinched too tight is a major pain and ruins your line.

Capt. Voodoo
4 years ago

Sticking a spliced loop through a cleat and then looping over is completely wrong. you should never secure a line to your boat or fixture that cannot be released quickly even under pressure.

Christian Rabens
4 years ago

He incorrectly tied the cleat hitch lol!

4 years ago

Wrong on the clear side. The proper wart is and always has been a round turn, figure 8, then a half hitch. In your video you skipped thur round turn which is very important with larger boats.

Rick Daniel
4 years ago

Nicely done “Hollywood”. I like the tips you’ve provided in this and past videos. I usually pick up something new or at least get verification I’m doing something right. Thank you!

Capt. Ray Markham
4 years ago Here are some alternative cleat hitches given different diameters of line as well as different sized cleats.


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