French Bowline

Do you know about how useful a French bowline is in case of emergencies? Did you always want to learn to tie the French bowline? Read our step by step instructions to start...

There are several advantages to learning how to tie the French bowline. This is a knot that is secure enough to hoist injured people. The knot has two loops, one of which is used to seat the person while the other goes around the person’s chest. The loop is kept tight due to the weight of the person and this prevents the person from slipping. Learning to tie the French bowline will take some practice and here is the technique to do it.

Start with a fairly long rope. Both the ends of the rope should point upwards. With the two points form an overhand loop. The working end points to the left of the knot. This end should be on top of the standing end.  Now bring the working end down and move it around. This will form the first loop of the French bowline.

Now take the working end and bring it back up, passing it through the loop from below. Now pull the end through and take it down again. This will form the second loop.

Once again take the working end of the rope and bring it back up passing it through the loop once more from below. Make sure that the end is above the first loop. Now pull the end through the loop and take it to the back of the standing end and bring it around from the right.

Take the working end and pull it in front of the standing end from the left. Now lay the working end over both the loops and push it back through the initial loop from the top. Finally adjust the size of the loops and tighten the knot at the working end of the rope.

There are other bowline knots besides the French bowline and these are the Brummycham Bowline, the Eskimo bowline and the triple bowline. Besides hoisting injured people the bowline has several other uses notably among them is the use of the bowline for boating



Rob says:


I like your video on the double reverse french bowline. I am not quite there. Working on consistent and quick tying of more basic bowlines: running bowline, bowline on a bight, french bowline, and spanish bowline.

the term “eskimo” and reverse are a little fuzzy for me at the moment. Watching you do it seems like I can get them quick we the time comes.

Here is something that all knot gurus can do to help us budding marlinespike apprentices: in addition to showing the how two, can you give some concrete examples of how it is utilized in a real life situation.

I heard that a Spanish bowline was useful for hoisting in the horizontal plane and that the French Bowline was useful for hauling in the vertical plane. Just couldn’t visualize that. Then I heard, Spanish Bowline is good for hauling a man back on board or for rescue situations. A french bowline seems to be useful in hoisting cargo, possibly asymmetrical, up using a block and tackle.

I have seen a french, reversed french, and a portugese bowline tied to a spar. Not sure what the application might be.

Any practical usage scenarios are greatly appreaciated!