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How to Tie Up a Raft on the Shore

There are many ways to tie up a raft, cataraft or dory to the shore. One of the fastest and best methods is to use a taut-line hitch knot to secure the bow line to a sand stake or other solid anchor. In this video, we demonstrate how to use a sand stake, locking carabiner and rope to create a secure and adjustable tie-off to secure your boat using a taut-line hitch. The taut-line hitch shown here is tied with a bight, or loop, with the rope doubled up, but you can also tie a more conventional taut-line hitch knot using the free end of the rope.

To tie the taut-line hitch, you take that bight, or the free end of the rope, and wrap it twice around the main stem of the rope, inside the large loop. Then you secure the knot by doing a half hitch around the main stem, outside the loop. Now with the coils evenly arranged and dressed, the knot will grip the rope when put under tension, while still being easy to slide up and down to loosen or tighten the rope. When water levels are rising or falling you’ll find this particularly useful as you can lengthen or shorten the rope without having to retie a knot.

When tying your boat to shore, especially at frequently used campsites, it’s best not to tie to living vegetation. The wear from ropes can damage their bark. This is where a sand stake is a great boating accessory. It’s easy to place and easy to remove without causing any damage.

Keep tiedown ropes low to avoid tripping hazards. When that’s not possible, lay rocks, driftwood or other objects on the rope to keep it down. Your boating companions will appreciate being able to walk along the shore, especially at night, without stumbling and taking a header into the ground!