advice securing canoe at shuttle points

I have a solo boat and need to secure it to a tree or other object while shuttling. It’s royalex, with wooden thwarts, all of which simple unscrew. I have a Lasso Lock for my kayak and I’m looking at ways to use it. Works great on top of the rack, but will have to get creative with trees,etc. Any other suggestions?What do others do? I realize if someone wants it bad enough it can be had, just trying to make it a little harder to do.


cable lock
A cable lock through the thwart or seat and around a tree or post will lock your boat up, but as you’ve discovered, those can easily be unscrewed. A friend once borrowed my combination cable lock (home depot)when we ran a shuttle…and forgot the combination. By then I had already left. It took him all of five minutes to go to his truck, get a screwdriver and undo the thwart. The next day, when we paddled again, the tree was still securely attached to my cable. :slight_smile: Seriously, if you drill through the hull of your boat you can insert pvc or tug -eyes that you can run cable through. You can see how I’ve done mine this weekend.


Dirty brown tarp
Keep a dirty brown, earth-colored tarp in your boat, and after locking it to a tree, cover the boat. I think the biggest risk to boats left in shuttle situations is that they are spotted by an opportunistic thief who spots it from a roadway or crossing a bridge. In addition to locking it to something, anything you can do to make it less visible will dramatically reduce the risk of theft.

Modify the nuts and bolts

– Last Updated: Mar-10-08 10:37 AM EST –

If you put a longer bolt through the connection where the thwart attaches to the gunwale, you can "bugger up" the end so the nut can't be unscrewed. A good way is to double-nut the connection, and then squish the outer nut with a vise-grip or use a punch to dent the place where the nut and bolt threads interlock. You can still get it apart later with heavy-duty tools or a hacksaw (the reason for making the bolt longer and only buggering up the outer of the double nuts), but it's really unlikely anyone would have the tools or want to take the time to do that. This will stop a quick opportunistic thief. Remember that a thief with time and tools can just cut the lock or cable anyway.

I have another good method for boats with slotted gunwales. My guide-boat has no thwarts, and the seats unscrew very easily. So to lock it up, I have a flat steel bar about five inches long that's fat on one end and has a hole for a padlock on the other. I slide that bar up through a gunwale slot and lock a cable to it. The fat end on the bar keeps it from pulling up through the slot. I hard-surfaced all the exposed edges of the bar to make it hacksaw-proof. A determined thief could disassemble the gunwale, but that takes time, so it only prevents the opportunity for a quick get-away with the boat.

What's probably as good as anything is to just leave your boat back in the woods. Virtually no one walks very far back into the woods in the summertime, so it should be pretty safe.

TugEye works for me.
I installed Tugeye’s in my royalex solo. Bought a kevlar reinforced bycicle cable lock for it - looked for the lock with the smalles “end” I could find. Ground down the “bushing?” or whatever at the end, until it will fit through the Tugeye. That locks the hull to whatever I want, including the rack which is also lockable to my truck. Not bolt cutter proof, but otherwise, it works. I made my own cable to use as an extension for the bike lock when the extra length is needed.

I suppose you could reverse the “process”. Buy the cable lock you want to use, and drill a hole to fit.

An alternative is to make your own cable lock that would be a permanent fixture on your boat. Go to Home Depot, buy whatever length of cable you want, and a couple of cable swadges (spelling?) - at least at my local HD, they will crimp the swage for you - just have them crimp a loop in one end only. Then run it through a hole in the boat (Tugeye, or PVC, or whatever method you wnat)and form the loop at the other end - either crimp the swage yourself if you have a tool, or just put it on a hard surface and bash the heck out of it with a big hammer.

Psychological method…

– Last Updated: Mar-10-08 12:51 PM EST –

You could try the "psychological method" that wildernesswebb used on a trip with me a few years ago.

He had to leave his canoe unsecured at the put in for about 30 minutes. He wrote & left a note on the canoe that read, "Didn't bring enough shotguns shells, went to store for more, back in a few minutes".

Boat was still there when we got back.


P.S. Nice to have several photos of your boat, and the serial number.....just in case it "walks off". Some people I know put their name & phone number in the boat; either in a highly visible location, or a hidden location. This assists in identification of the boat if it is stolen & later recovered.

Sticker it up!
Throw as many stickers on as you can.

  1. It may make the boat unattractive to theives.
  2. It’s easy to spot.
  3. Your friends might recognize it on someone elses vehicle.

also nice to keep it out of sight
to simply keep people out of it as well.

On one of our Wisconsin River trips last year we were talking out and going to a shuttle point and left my Kevlar Sundowner behind locked to a tree. When we came back there were two very large guys sitting in it ‘trying it out’ to see if the bucket seats were as comfortable as they looked.

There was no damage to the canoe, but after that we started looking for less obvious places to lock it up when we left.

Once upon a time

– Last Updated: Mar-10-08 1:44 PM EST –

Hakyak left his Coleman canoo at de takeout. When he got back thaar waar two Colemans....


out of sight, out of mind
knock on wood***

5 years and its never failed me.

If im unable to leave someone to watch over it while we shuttle cars, I just drag it about 5 yards back in the woods, and its barely, if at all visible.

Most theft is opportunity, and I guess out of sight does = out of mind. ive left my boats unattended for an hour or 2 at very busy public boat ramps/ river acesses and not had any probs thankfully