Posted by: Tom Keer
May 14, 2013

Tom Keer

The Cleat Hitch

So today is the day you’re going fishin.’  All the gear is on board, you’re behind the console with bow and stern fenders deployed, and bow and stern anchors secured to your boat’s cleats.  Your buddy is hauling the truck and trailer back to the parking lot while you motor over to the dock to tie off and wait for him.  What’s the best knot to use?  The Cleat Hitch.

The Cleat Hitch is the ideal knot to secure a line to a cleat.  It’s a simple knot that if done properly, won’t work itself loose.  And finding your boat drifting in the middle of a busy harbor is not a good thing….

Step 1:             Wrap the line around the base of the cleat one time, making sure the line passes under both horns, then bring the line over the top of the cleat.

Step 2:             Make a Figure 8 knot over the first point of the cleat.

Step 3:             Take a second turn of a Figure 8 knot over the second point of the cleat.

Step 4:             Take a half hitch over the first point of the cleat.  You’ll know that you’ve properly tied the knot if the standing lines run in opposite directions.


Tom Keer is an award-winning freelance writer who lives on Cape Cod, Massachusetts. Visit him at or at

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