Tugboat hitch

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Tugboat hitch
Names Tugboat hitch, Lighterman's Hitch, Backhanded Mooring Hitch
Category Hitch
Releasing non-jamming, releasable under load
Typical use Heavy towing, mooring, making fast to a winch
ABoK #1795
Instructions [1]

The Tugboat hitch (aka Backhanded mooring hitch or Lighterman's Hitch) is a knot ideal for heavy towing, or making fast to a post, bollard, or winch. It is easy to release, even under great load.


To tie, take a single turn or a round turn around the post. Pass a bight under the standing part, then drop the bight over the top of the post. Then make a bight in the rope on the other side of the standing part and drop it over the post. Note that in each placement of a bight over the post, the end's side of the bight should lead to the side away from the standing part--this will make casting off easier. Continue this repetition as necessary until secure (usually three bights). Finish by half-hitching a bight around the standing part or a round turn about the post. With heavy loads, it is important to have made enough bights and turns to reduce force on the final turns or a hitch--otherwise, it will be difficult to untie (a hitch) or may slip.

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