How To Tie A Running Bowline Knot

Joe Appleton by Joe Appleton Updated on July 12, 2022. In Nautical Knots

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Knowing how to tie a Running Bowline Knot should be second nature to most boaters. It’s an incredibly useful knot with so many practical applications.

The Running Bowline is mentioned in the Ashley Book Of Knots (#1117) and is described as an essential knot that can create a noose that won’t bind or easily slip undone. It’s strong, tough, and reliable, with very few shortcomings.

The Running Bowline Knot is a noose-type knot that’s based around the standard Bowline Knot and other Bowline variations. Nooses are particularly useful, and every sailor, arborist, climber, and knot-tying enthusiast should be able to tie a reliable noose or two.

We like the Running Bowline Knot because of its simplicity and general practicality.


There are countless uses for the Running Bowline Knot. Aside from the more sinister reasons for crafting a noose, there are plenty of good reasons for knowing how to tie one. For boaters and sailors, the Running Bowline can be used for retrieving items that have fallen overboard, such as rigging or lumber, or for lifting heavy objects. For climbers, it can be used for hanging a rope or securing a dropped object.

For home-users, the Running Bowline is ideal for use as a garden swing, or for the tying of a parcel. The options are endless!

If you want to learn how to tie the Running Bowline Knot, then read on. You’ll find everything you need to know right here.

How To Tie A Running Bowline Knot

There are a couple of ways to tie a Running Bowline Knot. If this is your first time trying one, you might find it easier for you to tie it around an object. If that sounds like a good idea, try tying it around a pole, tree limb, or similar object. If you want to go without, here’s how you do it.

Step One: Make a loop with a section of the rope.

Step Two: Pass the shorter end of the rope around the standing end and through the loop.

Step Three: Continue by passing the working end around itself, and pack through the loop once again.

Step Four: Tighten the knot to create a Bowline.

Other Things To Consider

Like with all knots, learning how to tie the Running Bowline Knot is only half of the learning experience. To make sure you make the most out of this knot, it’s also worth learning this knot’s shortcomings, possible variations, and potential alternatives. Armed with this extra knowledge, you can guarantee that you’re using the right knot for the job every time.


The Running Bowline is a great knot: it’s strong, won’t bind, and can easily be untied. Unfortunately, it can only be untied if you can reach it! If you’re securing it up high, then you’ll either need a ladder or a climbing rope to free it. However, this can be overcome by securing the knot with a retrieval line, or by making a long tail that you can reach. If you want to use a long tail, you might benefit from using an Alpine Butterfly Loop to secure the excess line.


Depending on your situation, it may be easier to tie the Running Bowling in a different way. If you have access to the Standing End, it could be a wise idea to tie the Bowline Knot first, and then pass the standing end through it. Each situation is different.


Running nooses can be made out of most loop knots. It’s possible to replace the Running Bowline with a plain Noose Knot, the Uni Knot (also known as the Duncan Knot), or Slip Knot. However, the Running Bowline has more advantages, such as the fact that it won’t close or bind on the standing end, and that it can easily be undone when unloaded.

About Joe

Joe Appleton is an outdoor enthusiast who loves everything from bushcraft and hiking to wild camping and boating. If he’s not out in the woods, you’ll find him out on the water.


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