Hotel Stays With A Boat On The Roof

Hi There,

This is my first forum post, but I’ve been auditing silently for a couple weeks. I am finally getting ready to pull the trigger on my first boat, and I want to take a trip to test it out as soon as I get it. I’m not concerned about transport, as I have a set of thule racks on the roof of my Jetta. My concern is overnight storage of a 14 foot boat whilst staying in a hotel, since most hotels won’t have the ability for me to bring it in the room like I do with my bikes.

I’ve thought of things like finding a close by self storage unit (inconvenient) to finding a way to lock it to the racks (not necessarily secure).

How have people solved this issue in the past?

Lock it to the rack.
You can make a make-shift burgler alarm and do a pass through cable into your car with a bolt on one end around a seat post they so they have to break into your car too. Most Kayak thefts are crimes of opportunity. If you make the lock down cables look daunting enough most thieves will look elsewhere.

Drawback is it takes forever to lock it up and unlock it.

hey good idea
Never thought of anchoring it inside the car, but it should work…

Talk to hotel
Ask at the desk where the most secure parking is. They can probably tell you where to park under the best light, and possibly security cameras. Avoid dark spots. Look for places where lots of people can see your vehicle, places where thieves don’t want to work because of the visibility. Have the kayak looked well locked will also discourage thieves. They want quick and easy.


Good Call
That was my concern with the Thule racks since they don’t necessarily lock well to the car. They’re secure, as long as you don’t have a hex wrench. Leaving a slight crack in the window would allow for this.


take the others advice

– Last Updated: Jul-18-16 9:03 PM EST –

though I have only locked for a two week parking stay at Newark Airport
My boats ought to have rewards points aplenty for their own room but I don't fret much about it
I will pick mom and pop motels( drive into the room door) over hi rises with interior hallways
If I have to stay in a swanky motel I go for parking under the room though frankly I'd never notice a driveaway
Front desk overnight is not usually attentive. Often its the junior person.

not too worried
Seems stealing boats off of cars is not too common - definitely less common than stealing bikes or stuff out of cars. Seems the resale market for boats is not that large. Does happen, but not often.

I had boats living on the roof of my car for months at a time in San Francisco, before I found convenient storage. I have used Lasso brand locks most of the time. One boat does have a lock down point, so I would use a bike cable lock with standard lock for that one.

Use this same format for when I am traveling.

If your hatch covers are removable, you can take them off and store inside car. This would make the boat less salable, should it be stolen (someone would have to buy new hatch covers).

Adding stickers or the like also makes the boat more customized, so easier for someone to recognize as yours.

Haven’t lost a boat (yet - knock on wood).

If you can park in front
of your door you can usually get a 14 footer in the room. Hassle to step around but secure. Done it a few times

Frist, get a set of these
Thule locking straps:

They’re steel-belted and they lock. Then, make sure you also have front and rear lines down to your hood and trunk. It makes for an imposing enough presence, and should deter all but the most determined thieves.

I use Gumby Cables for this
You can use d1/8" steel cable or slightly larger diameter. I use a product called Gumby Locks with padded cable. I have no idea where you buy this stuff in US, I won it as a prize.

I can close this cable in my door and it does not hurt the cable, door or weather strip.

I have a 6 ft long cable lock from an old Bic ski rack that I can run through the boat and into the car. It has large balls on each end that secure it inside the doors. Someone can easily smash the windows and take the boat, but I doubt most casual thieves would want to make that kind of noise.

I also have a cable Master lock that I run through a canoe thwart and the roof rack (with a kayak perhaps you can drill a hole for the cable). Again, it is nothing that will discourage the determined thief, but it will probably stop the casual thief.


– Last Updated: Jul-19-16 6:38 AM EST –

Insurance, not expensive to add a rider to cover the boat.

That said, I always cable lock it to the rack and lock the racks. Can it be stolen? sure, rarely does it happen.

Bill H.


the MGR needs a noise alarm.

An Omega alarm shock sensor is mountable on roof with a car horn for alarm noise.

You’re not trying this so search for a commercial model.

All shuttle vehicles will have LOUD car akarms.

Less risk than at a put-in or take-out
I’ve stayed at motels numerous times sometimes with numerous canoes or kayaks on my vehicle. I use the same precautions others have mentioned: cable locks, park under lights, park in view of security cameras, park right at my ground level front door.

I doubt there are many canoe/kayak thieves that prowl around motel parking lots at night. I think there is a far greater theft risk from other boaters or drivers-by at put-ins and take-outs. And that risk applies not only to boats left on top of the vehicle, but to the all the valuables one might have inside the vehicle.

It’s just part of the several risks inherent in the sport.

Lucky so far
I’ve been whitewater rafting for 20 years and we travel all over the western US with boats & gear in open utility trailers. None of it is locked in any way. So far nothing has gone missing in a motel parking lot overnight. Park in well lit areas, close to the room. Perhaps we have just been lucky, but so far so good. The only time theft entered our minds was a trip back to Utah from Oregon/California when we passed up staying the night in Reno, and drove further to find a motel.

I lock my kayak to my locked yakima rack with a short stout cable that would take some work to cut through.

Out of curiosity I Googled kayak alarms.
This popped up:

120 decibels should wake up everyone in the motel.

Looks good
That looks like a good idea. I was wondering if such a thing existed. Thanks for posting it.

I think its a bad idea
and has the peril of getting you ejected and arrested

If you go ahead I don’t want to be in that motel

Besides, who pays attention to car alarms anymore? Most of us just gripe and bury our heads in our pillows.

Maybe pick up a phone and touch base with the hotel manager beforehand.

when a Hella horn goes blat blat blat

– Last Updated: Jul-20-16 8:20 PM EST –

from top of a van, thieves n vandals doahn stand around debating potentials in criminal demographics n anthropology