Heave a Line and Make a Monkey’s Fist

Learn how to tie and heave a monkey's fist.

A heaving line is a light line about 50 feet long that you can throw to someone on another boat or on a dock, or you can use it to pull across a heavier line such as one for towing or docking.

To throw it a good distance, one end of the heaving line must have a weight, which is usually a knot called a monkey’s fist. The knot’s name is a perfect description of its appearance. Picture small fingers intertwined to enclose a round object and you’ve got a monkey’s fist.

Here’s how to tie it:
1. Make three 3-inch-diameter loops about 4 feet from the end of the line.


2. Put a second set of three loops around the first three at right angles to them, ending with a single pass through the first three loops.

3. Put a third set of three loops around the second set, passing inside the first set of loops.

4. Insert a rubber ball into the knot’s middle if you want it to float, or add lead sinkers if you’re heaving for distance.


5. Carefully work out the slack, and splice the leftover end into the standing part as if making an eye splice.

Now that you’ve weighted your line, here’s how to heave it:
1. Coil it into 2-foot loops.

2. Divide the coil, keeping the half with the knot in your throwing hand and the remaining half in the other.


3. Swing the throwing coil in a low arc back and forth at your side.

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