How to Tie an Enhanced Bowline Knot for Slippery Line

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Step 1 - Start a regular bowline

Enhanced Bowline 1
© Tom Lochhaas.

The enhanced bowline is like a regular bowline knot but ends with an additional step that makes it even more secure and less likely to slip. It is especially useful for slippery line or rope, like many made from modern synthetic materials.

Begin by forming a large loop (to the left in this photo) and a smaller loop where the line crosses over itself. The large loop is often tied around something. In the smaller loop, be sure the free end of the line crosses above the standing line (the line disappearing to the right).

In the "rabbit hole" memory aid, this small loop is the "hole."

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Step 2

Enhanced Bowline 2
© Tom Lochhaas.

Bring the free end up and out through the small loop. "The rabbit comes out of its hole."

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Step 3

Enhanced Bowline 3
© Tom Lochhaas.

Bring the free end under the standing line. "The rabbit runs under the log."

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Step 4

Enhanced Bowline 4
© Tom Lochhaas.

Bring the free end back over the standing line to return back through the small loop. "The rabbit jumps back over the log and dives back into its hole."

At this point in a regular bowline, the knot is drawn tight - it's done. Continue for the extra steps for the enhanced bowline.

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Step 5

Enhanced Bowline 5
© Tom Lochhaas.

Now bring the free end back away from the big loop on the left, as shown here. Do not yet pull the knot tight.

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Step 6

Enhanced Bowline 6
© Tom Lochhaas.

This is the end of the extra step that secures this enhanced type of bowline. Study the photo carefully and practice this extra step.

The free end is passed under both parts of the line earlier placed by the "rabbit" coming out of its "hole" and then returning into it. But it passes over the "log" part of the standing line that the rabbit went under.

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Step 7

Enhanced Bowline 7
© Tom Lochhaas.

Finally, the knot is pulled tight. The final appearance, as shown here, looks different from the traditional bowline, but it really is the same knot with just one more step to secure the free end and prevent even a slippery line from coming loose.

Here are some other important sailing knots to learn: