Toe Rail Fender Knot

Toe Rail Fender Knot and Fender

The Toe Rail Fender Knot is a quick and easy knot for tying fenders to boats with a toe rail. The advantage of tying fenders on the toe rail is the ability to place the fender exactly where it is needed. The toe rail is also stronger than a stanchion or a lifeline.

Since the toe rail is usually mounted just above the gunwale, a fender can’t be placed right at the gunwale which can be a problem when tying against a wall (going through the Ballard Locks) or another vessel that is higher than the gunwale. This limitation can be reduced or eliminated by using large fenders.  Since most docks seem to be lower than the gunwale (floating docks for instance) this knot works great.

The Toe Rail Fender Knot is simple to tie and untie and is simply one bight of line passed through a slot in the toe rail and a second bight of the line captured by the first bight. A quick pull on the bitter end unties the knot.

Toe-Rail-Fender-Knot-01 Start tying the Toe Rail Fender Knot by passing a bight of the line through a hole in the Toe Rail.
Toe-Rail-Fender-Knot-02 Pass a second bight through the first bight. Fine tune the height of the fender.
Toe-Rail-Fender-Knot-03 Pull the slack out of the first bight using the part of the line that is away from the fender and work the slack into the second bight.The knot is slippery and can be easily undone. Pull on the bitter end to quickly untie the knot.
Toe-Rail-Fender-Knot-04 Snug the knot down. The second bight is trapped by the line going to the load. The harder the load pulls the more secure the knot holds.  It’s secure, quick to tie and easy to untie.

Pulling on the bitter end will quickly untie the knot and you don’t need to feed an end through anything. Untying the Toe Rail Fender Knot can be done using only one hand.

A few cautions. The line needs to match the hole size in the Toe Rail. If the line is too small relative to the hole size the knot might not hold. Also check the holes in the Toe Rail to make sure there are no burs that will chafe the line. Sometimes turning blocks and shackles will raise burs on the Toe Rail that will chafe the line.

I hope you find the Toe Rail Fender Knot useful on your boat. This Fender Knot is quick to tie, untie and secure.

Thanks to Lee Youngblood for the tip on this knot and for letting me borrow his boat to take these pictures. Lee is a long time friend, photographer, experienced sailor and Yacht Broker.

Thanks for your interest in boating safety.

You might also find Lee’s Fender Knot and the Spar Hitch – Ground Line Hitch – Picket Line Hitch to be useful knots.


This entry was posted in Sailing and Boating Skills and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Toe Rail Fender Knot

  1. s/v Eolian says:

    I really enjoy the knots series.


    s/v Eolian

    • captnmike says:

      Glad you like the “Arts & Crafts” section – stay tuned, I should have some more articles on better fender whips, quick and secure whipping and a few others and a few more knots.

  2. Pingback: Tips on Tying Your Boat to the Dock | Boating Safety Tips, Tricks & Thoughts from Captnmike

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