Hotel - canoe - theft


I am new to this forum. I plan to travel (in Northern California) with a canoe on top of my car. I did it already but always stayed in campground for the night. No problem.

This time I plan to stay in hotel and my car will stay parked on the hotel parking lot.

What do you do in that case to minimize the risk of theft? (the canoe is a used OT appalachian).

Nothing to do ?



Run a cable through it…
Run a cable around a seat or thwart and lock it to your vehicle with a padlock. Depending on your car, you can anchor the cable to a door handle, vehicle rack, tow hook, bumper, etc. If you can’t find a long cable made especially for locking canoes and kayaks to vehicles, use a couple of bicycle cables run through each other to make one long enough.

just make it a PITA for
run and grab thieves.

I used a cable on a old non locking roof rack in Newark Airport while was gone for an extended time.

If you are in a motel the racket would rouse you. Dont make it easy.

While it may be a beater boat those lowlife are not canoe experts and may lightfinger anything.

Take normal precautions
Make it difficult for non-professional thieves to succeed. Park in a lighted area visible to hotel staff. Tell them about your situation and ask them to keep an eye out. Use some kind of locking device, like a cable, that will make it difficult for amateurs to steal your boat. If a pro really wants your boat it is gone. The only thing you can do in that case is to make it possible to identify the boat without question in a way that the thief cannot do anything about or might be very unlikely to find. Keep a record of all serial numbers. Keep your receipt of purchase. Put identifying information several places in the boat with an engraving tool. Make sure that you do that in at least two places, one obvious, one obscure. Finally insure your boat against theft.

Thank you all for the tips.

Criminals are Lazy
Most tweakers won’t mess with stealing anything that takes longer than 5 minutes to grab or weighs more than 40 lbs … a cable lock will likely be more than enough to stop these lazy bums. While living in the deep south our truck got broken into 7 times in a two year period. They always took the spare tire, small electronics, and all of my loose change, but never once disturbed the several thousand dollars worth of sea kayaks on the roof !

Lots of water flowing in NorCal for your Appy … where ya headed?

Navarro river
I planned to go on the Navarro river, the 12 miles above Dimmick state park. May be Thursday and/or Friday.

But I just checked the weather, and the river level is raising as crazy right now(it went from 800cfs to 2500fcs in 6 hours and still going up). The recommended is below is below 2000cfs.

So now, I don’t know if I’ll go there. I’ll check the level during the week.

I’ve traveled all around the 48 states
with a canoe on the roof, over the past 35 years, and have yet to see evidence that someone was trying to steal it. But I know it does happen… I think boat theft may be more likely in areas where there are a lot of boaters, like the Nantahala River in NC.

Occasionally, when carrying a new and very attractive canoe, I have cable locked it to the racks.

Another strategy is deliberate ugliness. On one ten year old red canoe, I have painted crude stripes of blue paint on the hull. Prominent patching also helps.

Kind of overkill…
But depending on the Neighborhood your staying in, you can take the boat in the room at night, I’ve done this twice and besides some odd looks, the motel staffs were generally receptive. BTW, I paddle an 80lb poly 16 ft prospector.

Our solutions . . .
when carrying our twin Pygmy Arctic Tern 14s on the roof - or any of the other boats - one or more of the following:

  1. Locked the boats to the roof rack with bicycle cables, as described above,
  2. Requested a motel room where we could see the boats from the room,
  3. Parked the car with the boats on top where they could be seen from the lobby, where the staff offered to keep an eye on them,
  4. On one occasion, when we were paddling and putting in on the harbor marina across from the motel, we took a room with two queen beds and put the kayaks across one of the beds (staff were fine with that),
  5. Finally, to dissuade anybody who might be casing the boats, I obviously peek out the window and/or go out to the car once or twice during a stay (something I often have to do anyway).

    We also use front and rear tie-downs, in addition to the straps to the roof rack - which I think tends to discourage opportunistic thieves - because of the hassle involved in removing the boats. If the boats on the car are in a fairly public area, it would be obvious if people were cutting straps, and the time frame in unstrapping and untying raises the risk level of being caught.

    Another trick is creative (but honest) use of decals on the car. I know of a case where somebody put an NRA decal on their car to discourage would-be thieves. I have decals that reference my Vietnam service, and from a distance, my DAV decal looks like an NRA decal! Somebody else I know of used a bumper sticker that said, “Never mind the dog - beware of owner!”)

Lasso cable locks
We just spent a week in Florida with our kayaks. We bought the Lasso’s just for this trip and they worked great. We stayed at hotels the entire time.

Paddle SOF boats. Thieves don’t know what they are or what to do with them.

Jackson, Mississippi…

– Last Updated: Apr-12-10 10:11 AM EST –

Spent a saturday night there in a motel room on my way to the La Lou Freestyle Symposium in Louisiana.

On the way back to the motel room from supper at a nearby restaurant I was propositioned by a prostitute, and also offered an opportunity to purchase some meth. This was not seemingly a BAD part of town.

My canoe had bow/stern tie downs, was strapped to 2 canoe racks, and 2 cables secured the boat to the canoe racks & the truck's rear bumper.

The next morning my Bell Flashfire was NOT on top of my truck.
It was inside my room, at the foot of my bed.