How to Attach a Bolt Snap to Dive Equipment

by Dillon Waters

Bolt snaps are used in a variety of ways with technical gear configurations, and attaching one to their scuba gear is something most divers will need to do at some time or another. Whether you just purchased a new regulator set that needs a bolt snap on the primary regulator and SPG or you are replacing an old clip on a dive light, you need to know how to attach the new snap correctly.

When attaching a bolt snap to your scuba gear, you will want to ensure the connection is strong enough to avoid accidental breakage if snagged, yet it should be something that you can cut or easily remove in an entanglement. It is because of these stipulations most choose to attach bolt snaps to their equipment using braided nylon line. Nylon line is readily available, cheap to replace, durable enough to withstand a great deal of abuse, and it can be easily cut if required.

Below is a step by step guide of how to tie a bolt snap to your gear using nylon line.

What will you need?

  1. 2ft of Braided Nylon (Cave) Line
  2. Bolt Snap
  3. Item Being Attached
  4. Shears
  5. Lighter

It is important to remember to tie the bolt snap tightly to reduce the movement of the clip on whatever you are attaching it to. When attaching a snap to a hose, you can tighten up the knot enough so that the snap will “stand up”, making it easier to grab and clip onto your D-ring.

How to securely attach the bolt snap.

To begin, you will wrap the nylon line around the hose and through the eye of the bolt snap three times as shown below.

Then, you need to tighten up the line to allow the desired distance between the bolt snap and the object.

Next, tie an overhand knot so that it rests against the bolt snap. Pull the knot tightly to secure it and pass the two ends of the line backwards between the bolt snap and the hose.

Now turn over the entire assembly so that you’re looking at the other side. Tie an overhand knot tight enough to snug up the lines running between the bolt snap and the hose. Then, tie a second overhand knot, reverse of the previous one, to make a square knot. Pull the knot very tight.

To complete the knot, trim each end of the line, leaving about 0.25 in free. Burn the ends of the excess line and use the bottom of the lighter to flatten or mushroom the top of burned ends. This helps to avoid the line getting pulled through the knot. Another alternative would be to place a drop of super glue directly on the knot to keep it secure.

Now that the knot is complete, we must examine and test it. Twist it, pull on it, and look for any signs of weakness. You do not want bolt snaps falling off of essential gear, so if it looks questionable, cut the knot and start over.

With the variety of uses for bolt snaps in the diving world, sooner or later most divers will need to attach one to a piece of their scuba gear. Taking the information from this article into consideration while doing so will help ensure a successful and long-lasting attachment of your bolt snap anywhere you need to put it!

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20 replies
  1. Jack MacLachlan
    Jack MacLachlan says:

    This is good method for attaching a bolt snap. I would suggest an improvement which ensures that the first knot is balanced and not crossed. Threading the cord means that you start with the cord on either side of the hose and bolt snap. Suggest that you first take the cord and put the two end together to create a loop. Use the loop to attach the cord to the bolt snap. The two loose ends can then be wrapped around the hose…each end twice, so four loops in total. As this is an even number of loops the initial knot will be tied in a balanced way…complete as described above…cheers….Jack

  2. Nicolas
    Nicolas says:

    What about cable ties?

    Takes 2 seconds…

    Of the appropriate width, it’s strong enough and can be broken by twisting the eye of the bolt snap

    • Dillon
      Dillon says:

      Using a cable tie is a very common practice but they do have the risk of being accidentally broken. This could result in a dangling SPG or regulator, or even a lost dive accessory. The connection should be strong enough that it is only broken when you decide it needs to be.

    • Gregory
      Gregory says:

      The problem with cable ties is that you never know when it opens or breaks. It’s not a question of “if” – it’s always “when”. Usually it doesn’t take long – depending on temperature and load applied to it.

  3. ZipTyer
    ZipTyer says:

    Guys, cable ties are available in UV resistant……and can be rated to 1200 lbs. So the “They break under heavy loads” is BS. Go get yourself some zip cuffs and let your friend handcuff you and break out of them for me. It can’t be done. That’s why cops use them.
    I’ve used zip ties since forever. They’re cheap enough that I can replace them every year.

    • Eric
      Eric says:

      Hey zip tyer, I had an advanced golfer ask me once why I was lining up my putt the way I was. I have him my reason. He then.asks, “do you ever see anyone on the pro circuit do it that way?” No I replied. He then replies” don’t do it that way then”…I’ll give you 1 and only 1 reason why tour formula uv resistant ties are not a good reason. Your in a wreck something catches, you pull your dive knife and go to cut the accessory held by this thick strong plastic. You start sawing and and sawing and sawing. If your lucky tour serrates, if not your f-d. With nylon, two.swipes.of your knife and your free. A zip won’t do that.

      • Ryan C
        Ryan C says:

        An easycut will remove it effortlessly. Carrying steak knives are a thing of the past.

        An easycut will also go through 1″ of marine line as well in no time. No sawing needed.

        For me, I won’t zip tie my bolt snap, but they are easy to break with a double ender and twist of needed.

  4. Justin Kantor
    Justin Kantor says:

    I use zip ties for may things, but if they are used for dive gear melt and round the ends which may be sharp and can also provide a locking spot if the zip tie slips it will stop on the melted part. An even better knot for this is called a “nail knot” which is easy once you get the hang of it and very secure. It even looks good, and of course we want to look good when we dive.

  5. Braden
    Braden says:

    also, on a recent dive I had a small zip tie that held the SPG to a clip just snap off. over time these become brittle and could break at at the wrong time.

    • Brian @
      Brian @ says:

      That’s what I was thinking…the zip ties I’ve used in saltwater/UV environment’s tend to fail often.

      Have you ever used Dyneema? It’s popular in the sailing world for high strength applications. It can’t be broken by twisting, you’ll need to cut it in the case of emergency.

  6. Brian @
    Brian @ says:

    Zip ties and plastic fails in the UV and saltwater environment. I’d check out Dyneema. It’s used in the sailing world for high strength applications – the caveat is that it must be cut in the case of emergency. You won’t be able to pull it off whatever you’ve tied it to or just twist it to break it. It’s about as strong as steel, but can be cut with a blade.

  7. Greg
    Greg says:

    I’ve taken to using two independant cords on items that can wear (primary light in my case, for example). Just as easy to cut, but very unlikely for both cords to fray.

  8. Bob Wollam
    Bob Wollam says:

    Zip ties have their place. Great for quick repairs but not a permanent solution. I have some in my save-a-dive kit. Bolt snaps should be connected using the method mentioned above or a variation of it.

  9. Fil
    Fil says:

    A braided fishing line is a good idea too. I like it because it can stand unaffected by saltwater and UV longer than most materials. And use non-slip knot used for slippery ropes when you attach things. It looks like a square knot but with an extra turn around the knot before re-inserting the end through the exit loop. After tying the [final] knot, cover it with a small drop of superglue. It permeates the strands making the knot hard so it won’t unravel, and also makes the knot look smooth and tidy. Dive Safe!


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