If a piling’s not above your head, or even if it’s just slightly above, you can put a clove hitch on it using the following deckhand-tested method. First, using both hands, form a loop by crossing the standing part of the line (secured to your boat) with the working part while simultaneously tossing the whole thing over the piling (1) as shown. Tighten a bit. Then simply repeat the maneuver, tossing another loop over the piling (2), again with the working part of the line crossing the standing part. You’ve now completed the hitch for all intents and purposes (3) although, if you tied it while still onboard, you will have to step onto the dock and slide the whole thing around the piling a bit (slightly to the left as shown here) to get the proper looking (4) configuration. Finish off by bringing the working part back around the piling so that you can add a couple of half hitches to the standing part, else this popular but not-so-great-all-by-itself hitch may eventually loosen and let go.
The video below demonstrates how to do a clove hitch on a piling:
This article originally appeared in the September 2015 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.