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How to Lock a Kayak – Keep it Safe From Thieves!

Kayak theft is more common than you think and it’s in your best interest to secure your kayak when you can’t be around it. While they say experience is the best teacher, I’m sure you don’t want to be a victim of kayak theft before you start taking the security of the yaks seriously.

Knowing how to lock a yak is something all paddlers must have knowledge of and this article will teach you how to secure your kayak in different circumstances.

How to Lock a Kayak to an Anchor Point?

Sit-on-Top Kayaks

If you have a sit-on-top kayak, the best way to secure it is to lock your kayak close to or on an anchor point. Your anchor could be anything from a stake to a large tree or even an outdoor kayak storage rack. In the case of a stake, the stake must be immovable and permanently driven into the ground.

Any anchor you use must be permanent and immovable, not just the stake. If your anchor doesn’t need the aforementioned criteria, then a thief can easily remove the kayak from the anchor and get away with it.

After finding an appropriate anchor, the next thing to do is to lock the kayak with the anchor. Sit-on-top kayaks are easy to lock thanks to the scupper hole that you can pass a cable through. Also, kayak locks for sit-on-top kayaks are generally inexpensive.

While you can make your own DIY kayak lock by buying a length of cable and a combination or key lock from a store, it’s better for you to buy ready-made kayak locks.

Sit-Inside Kayaks

Unlike their sit-on-top counterparts, sit-inside kayaks don’t come with scupper holes and this makes locking them a bit trickier since there’s no hole for you to pass a cable through. But does that mean you don’t lock your sit-inside kayak? Hell no?

To lock a sit-inside kayak, you need to loop a length of cable around the bow and stern. The cable will then be secured to the anchor point which could be a large tree or any other permanent and immovable structure. Also, you should ensure the cable is firm – there shouldn’t be enough slack. The reason for this is that a thief can potentially slide one of the loops over and remove the kayak if there’s enough slack to work with.

Inflatable Kayaks

One of the main benefits of inflatable kayaks is the ease of transportation and storage they offer. When deflated, inflatable kayaks fit into a portable carry bag or backpack. A deflated inflatable kayak is easy to store as you can put it in your closet, under your bed, in a corner of your room, or any other place in your home you deem fit.

I don’t think of many reasons why you’d want to store your inflatable kayak inflated. But if you must lock an inflated kayak, you should use the method for the sit-inside above.

However, your inflatable kayak should be stored deflated. That’s the whole idea of buying an inflatable anywhere. So enjoy the ease of storage it offers.

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How to Lock Kayaks Together?

Sit-on-Top Kayaks

You may have multiple sit-on-top kayaks and not have enough anchor points for each of them. In this scenario, you can lock the kayaks together making it highly unlikely for them to be carted away. There’s strength in numbers, huh?

The principle of locking multiple sit-on-top kayaks together is similar to that of locking a single sit-on-top kayak to an anchor point. Thread your cable through the scupper holes of the kayaks before locking it to itself. Depending on the length of your cable, you may be able to lock up to four sit-on-top kayaks together and this makes it very difficult for them to be carted away by a thief.

Sit-Inside Kayaks

If there’s no functional anchor point around and you have more than sit-inside kayaks, you can secure them by locking them together. Unlike sit-on-tops that have scupper holes where you can just pass a cable through them, sit-inside kayaks do not have cable so you have to find a way around that. And you can do this by locating hardpoints on your vessels that you can pass a length of cable through.

If you are familiar with sit-inside kayaks, you’ll know that they come with small metal loops that are bolted into their decks around the bow or stern. And these metal loops will come in handy when locking multiple sit inside kayaks as you’ll be passing the cable through them.

One thing to consider here is the width of the metal loops and choosing a cable that can easily pass through the loops.

Inflatable Kayaks

You shouldn’t lock inflatable kayaks together. Deflate the kayaks and keep them somewhere safe.

how to lock a kayak - transport

Securing a Kayak on Roof Rack Bars for Transport

One of the best ways to transport your kayak is by using roof racks. And it’s important you secure your yak to the roof rack to ensure it doesn’t come off during transit to prevent damage to the vessel as well as endangering other road users.

You’ll also have peace of mind with your kayak securely attached to your roof rack when you stop on your way to get a coffee, go to a store, or for any other reason.

To lock your kayak to a roof rack, you’ll need to buy locking straps or cables. If you have a sit-on-top kayak, you should pass the cable through the scupper hole and then to the crossbars of the roof rack which will act as the anchor point.

For sit inside kayaks, you can use metal loops on the kayaks or drill a lock hole in them. If you are drilling a hole on a sit-inside kayak, you have to be careful and ensure you don’t tamper with the watertight hull.

How to Lock a Kayak at Home?

The best place to store your kayak in your home is inside a locked garage, shed, or inside your home if you have enough space. That way, you are certain of the safety of your kayak. However, not everyone has enough space in their home or has a shed and garage where they can store their kayaks. And this means you’ll have to keep the kayak outside your home.

If you have to store your kayak outside, you shouldn’t just have it lying anywhere. For starters, you’d want to keep the kayak as close to your house as possible. You can install a wooden rack outside or even install a wall mount on one of your home’s exterior walls. An outdoor wooden rack is something you can consider investing in as it could offer you a more secure place to store and lock your kayak. And if you are a DIY person, you could have fun building your own kayak rack.

Another way to secure your kayak is to lock it to an anchor point outside your home. If there’s a large tree in your compound or any other permanent and immovable structure that can act as an anchor, loop a length of cable around the kayak and attach it to the anchor point. The method of locking a sit inside and sit on top kayak to an anchor point have been discussed above.

Ideally, you shouldn’t put your kayak on the ground. Find a way to store it off the ground and you can do this by placing the kayak on any object. Also, cover the kayak with a tarp or put it inside a protective storage bag. This way, you’ll be able to protect the yak from the elements while keeping it out of sight of potential thieves.

tips to lock a kayak

Extra Steps to Keep Your Kayak Safe

Keep a Record of Your Hull Identification Number

All kayaks manufactured after 1972 have a Hull Identification Number (HIN) which is a unique 12-digit code that’s typically engraved or stamped around the stern of your kayak. The HIN is unique to your kayak and serves as an identity for it. Should your kayak get stolen, you should report it and provide your HIN to the authorities as it may bring the yak back to you should it ever be recovered.

Apart from keeping a record of your HIN, you should also engrave the HIN on inconspicuous spots on the vessel such as under the seat, inside a storage hatch, or below deck. This is because one of the first things thieves do is to remove the HIN from the stern after carting a kayak away.

Get Insurance for Your Kayak

If you invested a lot in your kayak, you may consider having insurance for it to provide yourself some measure of assurance. Some homeowner’s insurance policies cover kayaks and canoes and you won’t need to buy another plan for your kayak if your homeowner insurance falls in that category.

But you’ll have to check your homeowner insurance first to see if it actually covers your yak and the specifics of the insurance. Some home insurance plans only cover kayaks when they are within a certain range of your home.

If you feel your homeowner plan doesn’t cover your kayak, you can buy a separate kayak or watercraft insurance instead.

Keep the Kayak Out of Sight

Out of sight, they say, is out of mind. Nothing pleases a thief more than stumbling upon an easy target. Keep your kayak out of sight so thieves don’t see it as an easy target. Keep your kayak indoors in your home or locked sheds and garages. If you must keep your kayak outside, cover it with a tarp to keep it out of sight. 

Buying a Kayak Lock

Your kayak is precious to you and you shouldn’t use just any lock to secure it. Thieves usually come prepared with efficient bolt cutters and wires which allows them to cut through any lock that’s not very strong.

I wrote about choosing the perfect kayak lock. The article aims to educate you on what to look out for when buying a kayak lock.

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