You use the tugboat hitch, or bitt hitch, to secure the ends of the tow line to the boats for towing. It holds well, won’t jam, and can be untied or released under load in an emergency.
Before towing or being towed, make sure the deck hardware on both boats is designed for towing, with through-bolted cleats or frame-mounted Samson posts. Also, don’t use a line that stretches, such as laid nylon, when towing. Polypropylene or polyethylene rope’s low elasticity makes it best for towing. People have been injured or killed while towing when a stretchy line parted or a cleat came loose.
A. To apply a bitt hitch, take the bitter end around the base to the left, and lead the end over and around the working part.
B. Finish by leading the bitter end around the back of the bitt, ending in a half hitch under the Norman pin. You can add a second half hitch for security.
Original materials used with thanks to Irene Rodriguez and John Bennett