4 December 2014

Tie 3 knots like a lifeboat crew member

One of my first shouts at Portrush was on a cold, wet Saturday in Spring. A day with strong winds and heavy seas.

A yacht with steering problems was getting a hammering 10 miles offshore, near Rathlin Island. Two adults, two children and a dog were onboard. We launched our Severn to find the yacht and assist her back to safe water.

‘Knots are a fundamental element of good seamanship.’
Chris Speers
Volunteer Crew Member, Poole

This was the first time I realised how important and fundamental the knots we learn as crew are. After finding the yacht and its seasick crew we got our heaving lines ready to throw across. We joined the end of this line to our tow rope with a double sheet bend. We threw the heaving line to the skipper of the yacht and he was able to pull across the heavy tow rope through the rolling swells. A bowline was set up on the bow of the yacht on a fixed post.

We undertook the tow and slowly made our way back to Portrush Harbour where the grateful family took refuge for the weekend.

Knots are incredibly important for crew members to confidently tie and on nearly every shout or exercise we go on we need to use them. Whether its tying fenders on the side of the boat, mooring and berthing or setting up a tow, knots are a fundamental element of good seamanship.

I've since moved to Poole and joined the lifeboat crew here. I've roped* my crewmates Ed and Steve into showing you some of the most common knots we use on a lifeboat - and you can use at sea too.

* pun intended