This is a neat quick-release knot that can hold a considerable strain. It’s also known as the Fireman’s Hitch and the Highwayman’s Hitch. Though there is no verifiable evidence that it was ever used by robbers on horseback to unhitch their horses for a quick getaway, it is ideal for reliably securing a boat to a mooring (or horse to a hitching post) with the assurance that you can easily release the knot with a simple tug and quickly be on your way. And all you need is one hand to do it. In Scout Pioneering, John Sweet describes the draw hitch as “definitely a fun knot—fun to make and use.”
In addition to securing the end of a line to a fixed point, the draw hitch can be tied in the middle of the line resulting in two ends of the rope hanging down equally. This way, a climber can lower himself down using one end (standing part), and have the ability to retrieve the rope by tugging on the other end (free end).
Pioneering Use: When hoisting a large structure that is not intended for climbing, e.g. a tall gateway, and the lines you’re using for lifting and preventing over-pulling are not guylines, tie the middle of the hoisting ropes to the structure with draw hitches. Then, when the structure is standing, these lines can be easily removed with a simple tug on the free end.
The following photos illustrate the draw hitch being tied starting from the left and ending on the right, i.e. the part of the line that will be holding the strain is on the left, and the part of the line that will be pulled to release the rope is on the right. The draw hitch can be tied just as easily proceeding from right to left. Click on the photos for a larger view: