How do you mount cleats

for towing and anchoring on kayaks and what kind of cleats do you use?

If you really want to use a cleat(i dont really see what for-bow handles can probably handle everething a cleat would be subjected to?

generic black plastic cleats are just fine. Just make sure,especially on a composite boat, that you got something there to spread the load out-don’t just put 2 bolts through with only nuts on the inside-you will end up ripping the nuts right out. a piece of thick aluminum that fits inside of the deck would be good . Then somehow reach all the way in there to start the nuts. Uck.

Another idea, use a piece of thick stainless steel, and tap the holes in it-thus eliminating the nuts and need to hold em in place(just start the bolts with boat upside down).

I see what you mean for composite boats
I have a plastic boat. It shouldn’t be a problem using nuts and bolts. The bow and stern handles are out of reach from the seat. If I want to tow another kayak or be towed, or to drop an anchor, it would be difficult to do. Also, I have a hard time adding a bicyle safety flag or a running light to my kayak (to keep my boat visible to power boats). I guess this is not a common concern to most of the kayakers. I thought there was a site or a book about rigging kayak for all kinds of things, but haven’t found any.

Same Thing…

– Last Updated: Jun-18-06 7:10 AM EST –

you need to backup plate also with plastic or the bolts can pull out. Plus with a backup plate, it'll spread the load so you don't end up with deforming area around the cleat from a load. Repairing a composite is a heck lot easier than repairing a ripped/torn holes in plastic.


I would recommend using cam or clam cleats. That way when towing if trouble develops it is snatch quick to release the line.

cam cleats and flags
I install cam cleats on all my yaks for rescues and tows. NRS sells them out of their catalog… They also save shoulder strain when doing tows. Oceaon Kayak or Surf to Summit (I can’t remember Which has flags that fit in the scupperholes of the tank well on many SOT’s an alternative would be to make a custom fit plug out of minicell…You might have to get creative… (we use the flags also when paddling high boat traffic areas. goodluck…kim

Duckworks has the best prices on cleats I have been able to find:

They also have a suction cup mounted navigation light that looks interesting:

no affliation, I just like good inexpensive products that work.

from behind
I bet I shouldn’t have said that…but I was waiting for someone else to, and they didn’t. So, I did.

Plastic cutting boards
I use a section of a plastic cutting board to back up on the inside of the cleat.

There is some useful info at