How do I tie a good knot?

Attaching bolt snaps to dive gear like SPG hoses, regulators and backup lights make them easier to stow.

Now a common question I get is: So how should I tie a long lasting knot?

We’ve addressed the different types of knots in a previous article, so read this if you would like to find out more about attachment options.

In this article, I’m going to show you how to get a good solid knot tied, so that it lasts (almost) as long as your gear.

A lot of other articles and videos also show how to tie a knot, but I’d like to highlight some of the more important things that I look out for to make sure the knot stays tied over a long period of time.

At the end of the article, I’ll also show the common errors that might cause a knot to fail.


Line choice

Traditionally, most people would use the same line found on their spools to tie their knots.

I’m not a great fan of this, for 2 reasons.

Firstly, it shortens your spool, resulting in an unknown length of line left on the spool.

This is a problem especially if you have a lot of things to tie. I would never recommend going diving without knowing the length of line you have on your spool.

Secondly, and more importantly, I don’t find the braiding on that line appropriate. It’s much too heavy.

A tighter and thinner braid on the line doesn’t stretch as much when wet, creating a more secure knot that doesn’t slip.

Image of a thinly braided line on the left and a heavy braided line on the right

Image of a thinly braided line on the left and a heavy braided  line on the right 

 

Loop around the connection point and bolt eye

I normally go for 3 or 4 loops around the connection point and the eye of the bolt snap.

For long hoses and SPG hoses, I tend to do 4, but for heavier or other more dynamic knots, I would use more, sometimes up to the width of the bolt snap eye.

Looping the line through the eye of the bolt snap

Looping the line through the eye of the bolt snap

 

Cross over and pull tight under the bolt snap

After getting the loops nice, neat and tight, I would bring both ends of the line to the same side of the bolt snap.

Getting the line to the same side of the bolt snap

Getting the line to the same side of the bolt snap

 

Then cross both ends of the line and pull them tight, pulling them under the eye of the bolt snap.

 

Crossing the line and pulling it tight

Crossing the line and pulling it tight

 

Pulling the line under the eye of the bolt snap

Pulling the line under the eye of the bolt snap

 

Ensure that the line is tight around the original loops, making sure that the outer loop is cinching the original loops tight together.

 

Right over left, left over right

A nice solid knot requires a good tie, and the best one for this situation is the square knot.

Right over left and left over right, that’s a simple phrase I remember to get this correct.

It’s a good knot because the lines tighten on themselves, and it forms a nice flat knot that doesn’t stick out and get abraded.

Tying a square knot

Tying a square knot

The final square knot

The final square knot

 

Cut and burn one end at a time

Once the knot is nice and tight, it’s time to seal the ends by cutting and burning off the tips of the nylon line.

The trick here is to cut and burn only one side at a time.

Cut the line as close to the knot as you can, about 1 or 2mm away from the knot.

Only cut one end of the line first, do not cut both sides!

Only cut one end of the line first, do not cut both sides!

 

Use a lighter and place it perpendicular to the line, using the heat from the blue part of the flame to melt the line onto the knot itself.

 

Use a lighter to burn the tip of the line and melt them onto the knot

Use a lighter to burn the tip of the line and melt them onto the knot

 

The melted line on the knot

The melted line on the knot

 

It’s important to make sure that the excess line is melted into the side of the knot.

This is critical so that the line doesn’t pull out when you cut the other side of the line.

 

The final knot in all its melted glory

The final knot in all its melted glory

 

Make it last forever!

I’ve tied knots that have lasted 5 or 6 years with this method, so by following this guide, I’m sure you’ll be able to get a good knot going. Good luck!

 

Common errors to look out for

Wrong knot

It’s very common to tie a granny knot by repeating the same half knot in the second half of the square knot.

This is not a good knot and tends to slip.

It also tends to stick out, making it prone to abrasion.

An old timer granny knot

An old timer granny knot

 

Not doing one side at a time

The problem with this is that pulling on one side of the knot will cause the other end to slip out if you’re not careful.

In the least, this will cause the knot to slip and open up a little bit, making it looser.

Cutting both ends of the line before burning them results in a loose knot

Cutting both ends of the line before burning them results in a loose knot

 

Not burning the line into the knot

Burning the tips of the line away from the knot allows the line to slip back into the knot, loosening the knot over time.

Burning the tip of the line away from the knot results in pull back and loosening of the knot

Burning the tip of the line away from the knot results in pull back and loosening of the knot

 

Leon Boey is a GUE, HSA and PADI instructor based in Singapore and Bali. He runs the dive education centre Livingseas in Singapore, Bali and Jakarta. Diving since 2005, he first fell in love with wrecks. He enjoys all sorts of diving, and loves being surrounded by fish.

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