Dock Knots

Keep dock lines organized to speed launching and docking and reduce trip hazards

September 10, 2019

Tidiness is an important aspect of seamanship. Keeping dock lines neatly organized helps speed up the launch and docking process. It’s also a safety consideration, reducing tripping hazards.

Messy dock lines are a trip hazard
Neatness counts: for good seamanship, efficiency and safety Dave Lear

The Flemish Coil and Daisy Chain are two useful knots every boater should know.

The Flemish Coil keeps lines neat
A flat coil stays neat and won’t clutter the dock Dave Lear

The Flemish Coil is not a knot technically but rather a compact coil. It’s a good way to neatly stow line on a deck or dock. It can be formed two different ways. The first is to start with a large circle and lay wraps inside to form a coil. The line can be untwisted in the process.


The alternate method that works well with shorter lines starts by shaking the excess line to remove twists. Lay the tag end flat on the deck/dock and with one hand start rotating it to enlarge the coil until the excess line is taken up.

Read Next: Spring Line Docking

The Daisy Chain or Monkey Braid knot is used to shorten lines that would otherwise dangle off bow cleats or pilings.

Keep dock lines out of the water
Keep lines out of the water, off the deck and ready to deploy Dave Lear

Start the chain by draping a loose overhand coil in the rope. Form a small loop and tuck it through the coil. Make another loop and tuck it into the previous loop. Continue making subsequent loops until the chain reaches the desired length. To lock it into place, pass the tag end through the final loop. To unlock, reverse the tag end and the chain will quickly unravel.


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