Top Rope Rescue Knots

Every rescue environment we teach in requires a basic knowledge of rope rescue knots. Whether you’re a boat operator, a field worker walking on surface ice, or a confined space rescuer, you’ll want these skills and concepts in your toolbox.

Rope Rescue Knots To Know

Here’s are three things you should know how to do with your rope if you’re working in a high risk environment like swiftwater, surface ice, or rope rescue. And the heading here is a bit misleading – these skills aren’t all knots. Hitches and bends are as important as knots when it comes to rope work!

You should be able to tie them quickly and properly, and recognize them when others have tied them into systems.

  • the “Family of 8’s” (includes basic figure 8, figure 8 on a bight, figure 8 follow through, and – if you’re feeling fancy – the in-line figure 8)
  • double fisherman’s
  • munter hitch

Concepts To Know For Rope Rescue

Familiarize yourself with these concepts so that you can confidently apply your knot, bend and hitch skills in different settings, and with different materials (ie. rescue rope, or webbing).

  • tensile strengths of rope and webbing
  • anchors (simple to complex)
  • mechanical advantage (3 to 1, 4 to 1, pig rig)

Practice Your Knots For Rope Rescue

Here’s one of our favourite online references for practicing your knots – the illustrations move!

Animated Knots by Grog

But our instructors all agree: don’t get caught up in the fancy stuff. Practice your knots so that you tie them quickly, and recognize them when others tie them, and you’ll be in a good position to maximize your learning during a course, or contribute to rope work on the job.

Different rope rescue knots work best with different materials. What works with rescue rope may not work as well with webbing, and vice versa.