How To Tie A Stopper Knot

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

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Knowing how to tie a stopper knot is an essential skill. If you’re a rock climber, a sailor, or an arborist, you’re going to need at least one strong and reliable stopper knot in your arsenal. Now, the term “stopper knot” refers to many different knots. However, if you hear the term “stopper knot” without any other name attached to it, then you’re most likely hearing about the Ashley Stopper Knot.

It’s named in the Ashley Book Of Knots as the Oysterman’s Stopper, and designated as #526. These days, it’s more commonly known as the Ashley Stopper Knot. The Ashley Stopper Knot is a big and bulky stopper knot that’s reliable, strong, and simple to construct. The Ashley Book Of Knots describes it as being made of three components, with a symmetrical shape.

No matter what your hobby is, there’s always a good reason to know how to tie this useful knot.


Stopper knots are generally tied at the end of a rope. Their purpose is to stop the end of a rope from unraveling, or from slipping through another device, or as a support for a device that’s attached to the rope. For this reason, they have to be strong and reliable. That’s why these knots are so popular with climbers and sailors. In fact, if you need to climb a rock face, a ship’s mast, or a tree, then knowing how to tie this knot will be an essential skill to learn. This knot is also useful for tying lariats and halyards.

So, how do you tie a stopper knot? Here’s all you need to know.

How To Tie A Stopper Knot

Before you get started constructing your first stopper knot, it’s worth mentioning that know is very easy to tie. However, it’s also very easy to get wrong. For the best results, we recommend that you follow our picture guidelines very closely. Once you’ve got the hang of it, you’ve got the hang of it for life. But getting there can be tricky the first few times…

So, grab a rope and get ready to learn how to tie a stopper knot!

Step One: Pass the working end around the standing end of your rope to form a small loop. Pass the working end through the loop that you’ve just made.

Step Two: Pull the working end down, and pass it through the larger loop.

Step Three: Pull the working end to tighten the knot.

Step Four: The stopper knot is now complete.

This will take a couple of times to get right. However, it’s easy enough once you’ve gotten the hang of it.

Other Things To Consider

Despite being one of the most secure and practical stopper knots out there, it’s not without its shortcomings. Before using this knot, familiarize yourself with this knot’s quirks, variations, and some suitable alternatives. Here’s a bit of extra information for you.


It’s important to know that for this knot to be a secure stopper knot, it’s essential that you tighten the half knot. We’ve mentioned this in Step Three of our guide, but if it’s not tight, there’s a chance that the knot could become unstable. Keep this in mind!


There aren’t many variations of the Ashley Stopper Knot. However, it can be compounded by adding more stopper knots in a line. If you really want to ensure that your knot won’t fail, adding a series of stopper knots behind it can add extra security.


If you’re looking for alternatives to the Ashley Stopper Knot, you could use the Double Overhand Knot or the classic Figure 8 Knot. However, these knots can come undone, but it does depend on what you’re using them for. A Double Overhand Knot is particularly useful for climbers because it’s not likely to shake loose. For boating, a Stevedore Stopper Knot is a fine alternative.  If you’re dealing with a slippery rope made from modern materials, an EStar Stopper is probably a better stopper knot option.

Despite these alternatives, the Ashley Stopper Knot will be more than enough for most applications. It’s tough, bulky, fairly reliable. And once you’ve mastered how to tie it, it’s quick and easy to deploy too! We think it’s one of the most important knots that all boaters should know how to tie.

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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