You’ve successfully pulled up to a dock, now all that is left to do is secure your vessel. All you need to know to make sure your boat doesn’t drift away is how to tie a cleat hitch, and that is easier than you think. There are a few things to know before we get to how to tie up your boat using a cleat hitch.

A cleat is needed for this knot. Most docks will have them, and it’s simply a device used for securing a rope. Most modern cleats will have prongs, or ‘horns”, on either end to make it easier to slip ropes on and off.

When you tie up a boat parallel to a dock, always use 3 lines. One at the bow connect to a cleat at the bow, a line at the stern connected to a cleat at the stern, and a line from the stern, connected to a cleat between bow and stern. This will limit the movement of your boat to the port and starboard, limiting the chances of bumping the dock.

Now, to tie a cleat hitch:

1. Bring your line to the cleat and wrap it once around the base.

2. Take the line over the top of one horn, then wrap it under that horn.

3. Bring the line from under the first horn, over the second horn, creating a figure eight with the rope.

4. Next, create a locking hitch. Loop the line on top of itself and pull the loop onto the first horn. Pull tight.

5. Create another loop and pull it over the second horn and pull tight.

That’s all you need to do to create a cleat hitch. The figure eight will ensure that the loops are not cinched too tight by the rocking movement of the boat and will allow you to untie the entire knot with relative ease.

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Founded in Kingston, Ontario, Canada, Wavve Boating (Wavve) is a mobile application designed for the recreational boater. With nautical charts from the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration and Canadian Hydrographic Services, Wavve has been growing their consumer base across North America since May of 2018. Available on all Apple and Android devices, Wavve offers a simple platform so anyone can boat like a local. For more information visit