I was reading about knots on Pnet and have a question. I just bought painter lines for our canoe. Any special knot I should use or would an old sqare not be ok. The rope is braided poly pro (floating)

A bowline is pretty-much the gold standard.

I agree, use the bowline to tie painters to the canoe.

But have you installed your painter holes low? Near the waterline?

Square knots are only good for…ummmmm…only good for…Well, I’m sure they are good for something, like finishing off a lashing on the Boy Scout signal tower you are building.


When I bought the canoe, it came with the holes already installed. 2 on the bow and 2 on the stern. Top hole is 2 1/2" from the top of the gunwale, the 2nd is lower, 12" below gunwale very close to water line (or under? depending on how much is piled in the canoe? ) I was going to use the bowline but here on pnet it said the type of rope used may not hold the knot as well. I’m assuming I should use the lower hole? I thought I read that was more for white water? I can’t remember. Jsaults, I’ll save the square knots for the operating room. Thanks again everyone.

I knew they were good for something!


I tie a grab loop through the holes in the hull. I use painters and tie downs with a figure “8” on a bite, and I connect them to the grab loops with a loop to loop. Many boats, few painters.

square knots are
great, but not with polypropylene. What the heck is polypropylene anyway? I have over 900’ of line on my sailboat, and the only poly I’ve seen was tangled around the prop. BAD LOBSTERPOT!!

great for what??
the square not is a useless knot. It comes untied when pressure is put on either one or both of the working ends. a very insecure knot. wht did the Boy Sprouts EVER deem it a ‘valuable’ knot.

figure 8 would be the most secure, as the bowline, while quite valuable in it’s own right, also can come untied more easily than the 8 and if tied improperly can actually ‘become’ a slip knot.

That’s a cool way to tie her, but that’s another story.

steve (not a knot Nazi, but close)

Watch that Polypropylene rope. Some will untie faster than you can tie it.

Square Knot is not useless
It is actually a reefing knot that has had the name changed to square knot over the years. It is used to hold a reefed sail to the top of the boom. You use several to keep the sail secure. When you want to free the sail you grap a loose end and pull it to the opposite side of the knot. The knot then slides apart. You can use it for many other similar purposes. The problem is that some do not understand the knot (Boy Scouts).

you just can’t use
poly rope with a square knot. I wouldn’t use poly for anything but water skiing anyway. Some thin nylon/dacron line is much easier to work anyway. Use nylon if you want stretch, dacron if you don’t.

I have a super-double-secret version of a bowline that is secure WITHOUT finishing in half hitches.

If anyone wants to e-mail me, I can send a photo.


I asked the same question
a while ago, and Jim sent photos of his knot. It works really well and has a nice look about it.

Pete in Atlanta

Knots and poly
If your bowline is slipping when using poly line, just take a couple of tucks up the bight with the tag end of your bowline.

braided poly pro
Just untwist a bit a weave it back into itself…

I’d like pics of that knot
rob at rudeski dot com



Yup Splice It!
As Grawhawk suggested a good eyesplice is a great choice. If done correctly it is stronger than a knot and is easy to do in poly rope.

Here’s a good link on how to do an eyesplice, practice a few times before doing it for real. Make sure you burn then ends of the individual strands before you unlay too much of the rope.

If you want a knot, a double bowline on a bight is going to be the best choice. A figure eight (or better yet doubled figure eight!) is quite strong but a double bowline will not slip, ever and will handle the stress better than a figure eight. The figure eights advantage is being much easier to untie.

Good Luck!