Alternative bow/stern lines?

For the 3 seasons we’ve had our two Pungoes, I’ve never used bow and stern lines to help hold them on our car (Plain Thule rack bars, yak’s carried upside down). Partly lazyiness, partly because on the PT Cruiser there are no really good places to hook such lines. Never had a bit of problem, even in cross winds. Still, for peace of mind…

Last week I saw a kayak on top of a car and the owner had tied bow and stern lines from the ends of the boat to the ends of the roof rack. This looks like it might do the trick to prevent rotation of the boats, which I gather is the main use of bow and stern lines. Any thoughts?

I don’t know about rotation but I think the point of a bow and stern tie down would be as insurance to keep the boat attached to the car. If you trust the rack to stay firmly attached, then it’s probably fine. Personally, I feel better with a big heavy canoe having a bow line firmly attached to the frame under my front bumper. That said, I don’t think I ever used front or rear tie downs for my Pungo.


If you have faith in your…
rack, and your method of securing your yak or canoe to the rack you don’t need front and rear tiedowns.

I have not used them in twenty years of carrying canoes and kayaks.



Sounds worthless to me
I want a bow tie-down to prevent the boat from lifting up if a strap should be cut or a buckle fail. A line tied from the bow to the rack has a poor vector for resisting that type of pull.

I am a believer in bow & stern lines. Lost a MR Explorer off a company trailer due to a snapped belly line, and do not wish to repeat the performamce.


There are probably tow eyes under
your PT Cruiser to which you could attach bow and stern lines. It is a pain to have to reach under each time, but you get used to it.

attachment for bow lines

– Last Updated: Aug-27-05 2:12 PM EST –

As for a place to attach bow lines, I made web loops that are fastened to bolts located under the edges of the hood on two of my vehicles. I used a piece of 1" wide nylon webbing about a foot long. I folded the webbing in half creating a 6" long loop. I folded the ends over and used a soldering iron to burn a hole in the end. Attact the loop to the fender bolt. You can push the loop under your hood when not in use.

No more reaching underneath.


Just clip a cheap (but load-rated) 'biner into each tow eye and leave it there. With a loop on the end of your bow line, it takes only a second to attach it to the 'biner.

strap under front of car
Hi! I had a hard time finding any place under my front bumper. Someone recommended the TOP TIES for this problem and I did find that right under the hood where the hood latches there is a place to place the gromett and then close down the hood. I havent tried this yet, but I hope any tension doesnt pull the hood up.Any more thoguhts on this? Thanks!

my solution is similar
I use tubular webbing through the tow eye, and take it through the uppermost section of the nearest grill hole . I use copper picture wire to thread it through the grill and eye and it’s fast. Every two years I just cut it, tape the new web to the cut end and pull it through. Available in lots of colors, less clanky than a 'biner and it works for me.

Pic of my version of mbboyle’s method:
I removed a top fender bolt on each side, clamped it in a vise and heated it with a propane toch. Folded the short loop of webbing over and pushed it over the hot bolt. Made a perfect hole:

that’s a good pic, especially since it shows that the lines are not directly in the forward visual scene. Thanks for posting it.

the results of a flying boat
can be catastrophic. i read not long ago about a man who was killed when a surfboard came off a car and went through his windshield. i use a tiedown at the front.

Like the man said …
…as he was falling past the tenth floor: “So far so good!”

Same deal with folks who don’t use bow/stern lines and haven’t had a problem yet.

Under the front wheelwell …
I own a Plymouth Grand Voyager. Maybe your PT has some similarities?

Not sure what you call it, but under each front wheelwell, and above the tire, is a large piece of hardware in the suspension. It has a bolt hole in it, perfect to hook the end of my tie-down strap. It does turn a bit when you turn the wheels, but only a little, and doesn’t really affect the tension on the straps.

Been using this for years with no problem. Just make sure you wind the S hook through the front of the hole and not from the back of the hole. That way, it won’t shake out if the strap loosens. [similar to the correct way to hook your safety chains from a trailer to your car].

The main drawback with this method is that the straps rub against the fenders just above the wheelwells.

The rear straps hook to a hole in the frame. Once you know where the hole is, you can easily reach for it without crawling under the vehicle. Just be careful that you don’t accidently let the strap come in contact with the exhaust pipe. Burned through two straps that way!

And the “belly strap”? My kayak seats slide along rails. Rather than just throwing the strap over the kayak, I thread it through the rails for extra safety. That way the kayak cannot slide forward during a sudden stop.

Works for me. Good luck.

stern lines are easy…
I have a 2002 pt cruiser and it has places under the bumper to tie lines, one under each side of the rear bumper, the left side one is close to the muffler, but I didn’t have a problem today when transporting two necky manitous down I-75. Bow lines are a problem though, i’m going to try and tie some under the hood somewhere.

I have a question for you, i got a thule rack and the install put the clips over the weather stripping, i thought they were suppose to go underneath the weather stripping? I can hear a slight whooshing sound from the top of the door and i’m guess it will leak in a rain storm this way.

different distances, different solutions
I own a 14’6 boat and a 14’9 car. This year the boat, next year the rack…

For the 7 hour return trip after picking her up, I used the tie-down kit available at REI. Two foam blocks & webbing (tie blocks to boat), front and rear tie-downs, center strap around the boat and through the car. Needless to say, the front and rear tie-downs didn’t keep the boat from sliding in a sudden stop… but it stayed on top of the car.

When driving 3 miles to go paddling, here’s my setup: skip the front/rear tiedowns. Use two ties over the boat and through the car - one behind the cockpit coaming, the other in front. I drive like a city driver, and so far, that’s been a bombproof setup at speeds under 45mph, because the coaming prevents much movement.

My “new” (untested) long-distance setup will be the same as above, except adding the front/rear for added security. I really like the performace of using ties fore and aft of the coaming, versus just over the top of the cockpit.

Gawd, what a bunch of whiners, can’t
stand tiedowns in the line of vision? Maybe instead of rachet straps, you should try rope. Works well, cheap, and 5/8" round rope doesn’t affect vision much, if any. For almost 40 years, that’s what I’ve used and have toted flat bottom a 140lb 14 ft boat and 17 canoes cross country with no fly offs. Maybe I’ve used the wrong ratchet straps, but don’t care for the stretch in the ones I have.

Crisscross the front lines and you look
thru the hole and not at the line. Parachute cord or 1/4" marine line is small and strong. Trucker hitches are quick to tie. We use web loops front and back and eliminate paint rubbing.

Thule and weather stripping…
Yes, the clamps do go over the weather stripping and yes in HEAVY rain they sometimes leak a little bit. The PT has double weather stripping, so the other(inner) piece stops rain in most cases.

On a rainy day what typically happens is that I don’t get a lot of water while I’m driving but when I open the door the water that has gotten past the first weather strip and has accumulated on the second one comes in. Not a huge problem-- just don’t keep anything valuable in the door pockets!

well this sucks!
We left the car out from under our carport yesterday and it poured rain like it always does here in Florida. I sat in the passenger seat last night about to leave for work and my seat was all wet. No water on the drivers side, but the passenger side front and rear seat was wet as well as the floor. I think i’m going to contact yakima or someone else and see if their racks are different than the Thule, if so i’m taking this $277 dollar piece of cr@p back to the dealer. Are the Yakima racks better than the Thule? It felt like the handle for tightening down the Thule rack was going to break when turning it (cheap plastic).