How To Make & Tie a Bosun Chair

In this blog, I will show you how to make your own bosun chair and how to tie it securely to the rigging. I hope you find this information useful and that it helps you in your sailing or climbing adventures!

What is a Bosun Chair?

A bosun (pronounced “bo’s’n”) chair is a type of seat used by workers when they need to be suspended from a rope or scaffolding for extended periods of time. The chair consists of a wooden or metal frame with a padded seat and back and typically has four legs for stability. The chair is attached to a suspending rope or harness with a system of pulleys, which allows the user to be raised or lowered as needed.

Bosun chairs are used by a variety of workers, including painters, window washers, construction workers, and anyone else who needs to be suspended from a rope for extended periods of time. While most bosun chairs are used for work purposes, they can also be used for recreation, such as rock climbing or zip-lining.

How to Make a Bosun Chair

A bosun’s chair is a seat used by sailors when working on rigging or sails high above the deck of a ship. The chair is rigged so that it hangs from a single point, allowing the sailor to move freely along the length of the rigging. Making your own bosun’s chair is a relatively simple and inexpensive project that can be accomplished in an afternoon. Here are the steps:

1. Cut two pieces of 2-by-12 lumber to length using a circular saw. These will form the side rails of the chair.

2. Set the side rails on the edge, and position them parallel to each other with the ends flush. Drill four evenly spaced pilot holes through both side rails at each end.

3. Cut four lengths of 3/8-inch diameter rope, each long enough to reach from one side rail to the other when strung between them. Thread a length of rope through each set of pilot holes, and tie square knots at each end to secure the ropes in place. These ropes will form the seat of the chair.

4. Cut two more lengths of 3/8-inch diameter rope, each long enough to reach from one side rail to the other when strung between them. Position these ropes at either end of the seat ropes, and tie square knots at each end to secure them in place. These ropes will form the backrest of the chair.

5. Tie a loop in one end of a length of 3/8-inch diameter rope, and thread the other end through all four loops formed by the intersections of the seat and backrest ropes. Pull on both ends of this rope until all four loops are tightened down onto it, forming a single point where all eight ropes come together. This is where you will rig your halyard when using the chair.

How to Tie a Bosun Chair

A bosun chair is secured with a series of rope lashings that allow it to be attached to a variety of surfaces. While a bosun chair may look complicated to tie, it can be easily done with a few simple steps.

1. Start by tying a bowline knot in the center of one end of the rope. This will create a loop that can be used to secure the chair to a support beam or other structure.

2. Take the other end of the rope and thread it through the loop created in step one. Pull the rope until the second knot is snug against the first.

3. Make a half hitch knot around the support beam or other structure. This will help keep the chair from slipping while in use.

4. Repeat steps two and three on the other side of the support beam or structure.

5. Take the remaining length of rope and tie it off around the middle of the support beam or structure. This will help distribute weight evenly and prevent tipping.

The Benefits of a Bosun Chair

The bosun’s chair is a versatile piece of equipment that has many uses beyond painting.

It can be used for tasks such as cleaning windows, washing vehicles, and even handing over to emergency services for rescuing people from high places. There are many advantages to using a bosun’s chair over other types of seats or ladders, such as the fact that it is much more stable and secure. It also allows the user to have both hands free to complete their task, which is not possible when using a ladder.

The Different Types of Bosun Chairs

There are three different types of bosun chairs- traditional, trapeze, and diving.

The traditional bosun chair is the most common type. It is a wooden or metal frame with a canvas or leather seat and backrest. The chair is suspended from four ropes- two at the front and two at the back.

The trapeze bosun chair is similar to the traditional chair but has an extra set of ropes attached to the front of the chair. This allows the user to swing from side to side, making it easier to reach out and work on the rigging.

The diving bosun chair is used by sailors who need to do underwater repairs. It is made from heavy-duty materials and has a metal frame with a padded seat and backrest. The chair is suspended from four strong ropes and also has a set of foot loops so that the user can secure their feet while working.

How to Care for Your Bosun Chair

Bosun chairs are an essential piece of equipment for anyone working on a boat, and they need to be well cared for to ensure that they last as long as possible. Here are some tips on how to care for your bosun chair:

  • Make sure that the chair is stored in a dry place when not in use, as this will help to prevent the fabric from mildewing.
  • Be sure to inspect the chair regularly for any signs of wear and tear, and repair or replace any damaged parts as soon as possible.
  • If the chair is made of canvas, be sure to treat it with a waterproofing agent before using it in wet conditions.
  • Never stand on the chair, as this could damage it or cause it to tip over.
  • Use only mild soap and water to clean the chair, and avoid using harsh chemicals or detergents.

Bosun Chair FAQs

Q: What is a Bosun Chair?

A: A Bosun Chair is a specialized piece of equipment used by window washers and other professionals who need to work at heights. It consists of a seat and back support, with stirrups for the feet, and is attached to a rope or rigging system.

Q: How do I make a Bosun Chair?

A: You will need to gather some basic materials before you get started. You will need a length of rope, two pieces of wood for the seat and back support, some webbing or straps for the stirrups, and some padding for comfort. Once you have all of your materials, you can begin assembling your chair.

1. Start by tying a basic bowline knot on one end of the rope. This will be the point where your chair will be attached to the rigging system.

2. Take the other end of the rope and run it through the middle of the back support piece of wood. Then tie another bowline knot, making sure that it is nice and tight.

3. Run the rope through the front piece of wood for the seat and tie another bowline knot. Again, make sure that this knot is tight.

4. Next, take one of the stirrup straps or pieces of webbing and tie it around both pieces of wood at the front corners of the chair. Make sure that these knots are also tight.

5. Repeat this step for the other stirrup strap or webbing, attaching it to the back corner of the chair.

6. Once both stirrups are in place, you can add padding to the seat and back if you like. This step is optional, but it will make your Bosun Chair more comfortable to use.

7 . Your chair is now ready to be installed! Make sure that all knots are tight and secure before use, and always follow safety guidelines when working at heights


Thanks for reading this guide on how to make and tie a bosun chair! We hope you found it helpful and informative. If you have any further questions, see more of our posts or contact a local safety professional.

NEXT UP: Safety Precautions When Using a Bosun Chair

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Rebecca Ross
About Rebecca Ross

Rebecca Ross an Environmental, Health and Safety (EHS) consultant who runs her own occupational safety consultancy. She focuses on hazardous materials, warehouse safety, fire safety, lab safety, fall protection, head protection and other workplace safety topics. Learn more about Rebecca here or connect with her on Twitter | LinkedIn | Medium