Boat security / slashproof webbing

What are everyones thoughts on boat security.

My rack is locked to the car but I’ve never been a big fan of the fact that the racks bold on with a wrench. To make matters worse my new rack has “easy install” nuts with plastic handles on them so you can do this by hand. Does noone see that this makes it really easy to ripoff the racks, let alone the boats if they are aboard? What are the manufacturers thinking about?

Also has anyone used slashproof tiedown webbing? I saw some listed on REI with small gaige (sp) steel cable run through it. Of course it wouldn’t stop some one with a pair of bolt cutter, but it they are going to that length I don’t know if much of anything would stop them.

I’ve never taken a trip where I had to leave the boats on the roof overnight but I have been forced to load boats early and drive around to run errands and leave them on the car unattended in neighborhoods I don’t know.

Does this make the rest of you nervous or am I being a worry wort?


Could run a plastic coated bike
cable lock around the rack bar and through some part of the boat (seat brace, etc) to make theft a bit more difficult. R

That’s what I do.
I know if someone brings a wrench they can just disassemble. But it will slow them down enough that I think the odds are in my favor.

I’ve been looking at the oversize wing nuts on my gunwale Yakima brackets. Too inviting, IMO. Think I’ll replace them with regular self-locking nuts.

Hi Matt
I use a Thule rack that has a feature which releases the gear on the hand knobs and makes them free turning. A key will re-engage the hand knobs for useage. The cross bar is steel. I use the vinyl covered bicycle chains for security. Only problem is that the canoe thwarts are wood so if a thief plans ahead and want to make the effort, the thwart can be cut. That would take a few minutes. Also I carry hulls on a rack on a full sized van and the thwarts are hard to reach without a step ladder. I figure a person over 6’6" with a saw might plan ahead enough to get one of my babies but what are the odds? Oops I just jinxed myself.

hand knobs
I had the same idea about replacing the easy access hardware with something that requires a tool. I just haven’t gotten around to it yet. I just wish these were built so that the access to the working parts was ocluded when a boat was in transport or at least harder to get off (allen wrench or something).


that sounds cool
Those knobs sound like a great idea. Do they have standard nut threading on the inside? IE could I buy some and install them on an existing rack or is there some propriotary setup involved in the rack construction? Why doesnt everyone do this.


odds in your favor
Incidentally, even with the odds in your favor, would you be comfortable leaving your boats parked on the car outside a hotel overnight?


…depends on the hotel and depends on the boat. One of mine is a “beater” - perfect for hotel parking lots. :wink:

Is kayak theft a huge problem…
…in your area? If not, you’re being overly paranoid.

Particularly if you’ve got a 16’ or longer sea kayak, it’s not something that somebody can just grab and throw into a pickup truck. If someone is actually determined and prepared to steal a long boat, there’s not much you can do to stop them.

If it’s just a short rec boat, the likelihood of anyone wanting to steal it is pretty low.

OTOH, I hear that whitewater kayak theft is common in some areas, probably because it’s so easy to toss them into a pickup, van or SUV and drive off.

Unless you park in a secluded area for long periods of time, no thief is going to take the time to disassemble a rack to steal a kayak. Looping a cable lock around the rack and behind a cheek plate on your seat is more than enough to deter most would-be thieves.

I’ve used a couple of different locking techniques over the years, but finally stopped bothering with them as almost nobody steals 17’+ sea kayaks off of cars.

I have had straps
slashed on my car carrying a canoe 3 times over the past four years; twice at interstate rest stops and once when I was at a Home Depot. Fortunately I had a cable lock which slowed them down. There also was a ring in Southern Wisconsin a couple years ago that targeted lightweight watercraft,stole them off the tops of cars at rest stops and put them in the back of empty semi-trailers.

Yes, I do not get too comfortable with unattended boats on cars. When at a hotel, I always try to park in well lit areas in view of security cameras.

It does happen…

5 Things that Can Help
You can’t stop a thief who is determined to get a boat, but there are a few things you can do to deter the less motivated and clever ones…

Make 'em take time - they want a quick in and out - delay is risky…

Make 'em make noise…they, as general rule, prefer to do things quietly - smashing and bashing attracts attention…

Make it tough - a friend who rigs sailboats made us a couple of stout security cables using heavy 1x19 SS rigging wire - even with regular bolt cutters, it’s an absolute bitch to cut…

Make 'em bring tools…cuts down the opportunists, and the pros aren’t fond of wandering around with bolt cutters…cops take a dim view of that…

If you have two boats up, cable each to the the rack, and then to each other - trying to carry two 'yaks cabled amidships is an interesting exercise

Finally, realize that true rooftop security vanished when the cordless disk grinder was invented, and park accordingly…

My boat stays on my roof all the time
I live in a condo in the inner city, so I have no place to store my boat except on the roof of the car parked on the street. I use a Lasso lock to lock it to the rack. A thief could unbolt the rack, but that would take a while. My neighbors have seen teenagers messing with the boat, but the lock (and neighbor yelling at them) deterred them. Kayak theft is a crime of opportunity, usually by drunks. If I make it just a little harder on them, they move on. If someone is going to go through the trouble of taking a rack off the roof, they would probably not waste their efforts on stealing a boat. They’d be jacking cars where the money is better. Remember, the typical thief won’t know the difference between a $200 plastic recreational boat and a $4000 composite.

Where are you shopping?
I’d love to get a plastic Rec boat for $200.

Keyed Hand Knob?
Where did you buy the keyed hand knobs? They sound like the perfect solution.

If I remember correctly…
several manufacturers produce keyed hand knobs, but in my case it is Thule. Try a internet search for racks and look for some.


not sure…
I have not yet tried to take one off but imagine there is some type of stop that will prevent this. When I get through with work I’ll go to my van and give it a try.


I use the force field option
with my flux capacitor. Bombproof!

Kayak Security
In the last few years, I, or members of our group have had our straps cut on three occasions. One of our guys lost his kayak on the highway at 60 mph, due to cut straps. Each of these instances happened at restruants.

When leaving it overnight, I use a home-made cable and lock (Supplies bought at a marine supply store).

When stopping for lunch, or anytime the rig is out of my sight for more than a few minutes, I ALWAYS check the straps. On one occasion, two kayaks were on my car, and the straps were cut 9/10 of the way through on the inside of the rack (between the two yaks, where it was difficult to see).

Not everyone out there is your friend, some of these people have a weird sense of humor.

Shazam! An’ ah’ reckon’d yer would…
Git Anna ta stand guard…


that sucks
Reminds me of the time that someone slashed two of my tires on april fools day. Oh boy was that funny. Especially since that renders the spare tire moot.

They also slashed the tired of about a half dozen other cars in my appartment complex.

I don’t understand how it’s ammusing to cause other people misfortune with no personal gain. At least with a thief I understand the motivation.