How to Tie a Line on Cleat

Here's a quick explanation of one safe and foolproof way to make a line fast on a cleat.

13th July 2013.
By Lenny Rudow

Different people have different opinions as to the best way to cleat a line—in fact, even the Navy and the Coast Guard have differing methods—but what really counts is that you make the line one hundred percent secure, and still make it easy to undo when the time comes. The method we’ll talk about today is my favorite, and I absolutely guarantee that it won’t slip loose nor turn into a tangled mess.

Step I: Take a full wrap all the way around the base of the cleat.

Step II: Make two figure-eights across the top of the cleat, over either end of the horns.How-Cleat-Line-thumb

Step III: Finish off the cleat by turning the line over in your hand, slipping it over the horn, and pulling it tight. This way the line pulls down on itself, become tighter when stressed. Make one of these super-wraps on either end of the horn.

Step IV: Sleep easy, knowing your boat is safe and sound.

Attention new boaters: you might also want to check out:
How to Dock a Boat, our Top 10 Tips
How to use a VHF Radio
10 Tips for Boating with Kids


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About the author:

Lenny Rudow

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Lenny Rudow is Senior Editor for Dominion Marine Media, including Boats.com and Yachtworld.com. With over two decades of experience in marine journalism, he has contributed to publications including Boating Magazine, Marlin Magazine, Boating World, Saltwater Sportsman, Texas Fish & Game, and many others. Lenny is a graduate of the Westlawn School of Yacht Design who has won 28 BWI and OWAA writing awards.
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