Kayak Security

-- Last Updated: Jan-24-06 12:58 PM EST --

We've talked before about ways to secure kayaks when cartopping them and/or staying at hotels, but I'm wondering about how people keep their kayaks from being stolen in their houses? A friend who lives in a small town down here in Texas just got his lifted, and he just kept it outside. It reminded me that this Sunday I was biking around the subdivision my bay house is in, that I saw a lot of kayaks just left under the houses (our houses are 16 feet up on pilings). Some may have been chained to the houses some way, but it didn't look like it. Now this is a neighborhood of vacation houses, so it is largely deserted this time of year.

When I am gone, I keep my kayaks locked in my garage. When I am down for the weekend, and have my boats in the water, but want to run into town during the day, or don't want to hassle with putting them back in the garage overnight when I am going to want to go paddling the next day, I leave them in the water at my dock, but I join them together by running a coated cable like those used for locking up bikes through their scupper holes, and then lock that cable via heavy-duty padlock to another cable that has been wrapped around a piling. Works great. I wouldn't leave it like that under my house long term, because while it deters the casual thief while I'm sleeping upstairs, someone who sees it out there on an empty house might bring a bolt cutter. That's why they stay in the garage when I'm away.

I was wondering what most other people do to secure their boats long term and temporarily?

Speaking of people coveting your boats, I guess I am probably being too sensitive, but I was cleaning out the garage, took everything out and laid it out in my yard and driveway, including my kayaks, swept out the garage, etc, and threw out a few things, including a very old surf board with a large chunk taken out of the nose. The old surfboard was leaned against the designated trash bin I have at the end of my driveway, which is like the trash bin every other house has at the end of theirs. I had just put my solo kayak up on its rack, but the tandem was still sitting out on the grass, close to the garage, not near the trash bin. A guy comes up in a golf cart, so I know he must have a house in the subdivision, sees the ancient surfboard with the large chunk taken out of the nose leaned against the designated trash bin, asks if we are throwing it away and can he have it. I tell him it is all his. He puts in in the back seat of the gold cart, and then his eyes wander up the driveway to my brand new, pristine, 4 month old tandem kayak. "You getting rid of the kayak, too?" It just really irked me, he cam across as really greedy and grabby. He had to know we were not getting rid of it, he was watching me clean the garage, it was not near the trash bin, and it looks brand new - who would throw away a boat, even if it was used, when it could be sold?

Use a club…
I’ve heard that a car, steering wheel club can be used across the cockpit and then a quality cable or chain run through that though the car rack or around a patio post. Something to that effect.

Instead of the club you may be able to run the cable or chain around your seat or seat post, depending on what you have and the type of setup.


If they really want it…
…they will have it…locks keep honest people honest…

Out of sight
What the thief don’t see can’t be a tempting target!

Make 'Em Take Time, Make 'Em Make Noise.
Thieves don’t like to do either. For casual security, we use cables, chain, padlocks…anything that means they’ll have to have cutters. Two kayaks cabled together, and then to a roof rack, makes a very awkward thing to untangle on a parking lot; multiple obstacles - two cables, cable and chain - means even more time. Lots of loose chain also tends to be noisy, especially if it’s rigged to rattle and clatter against soemthing when handled. Around home, the dogs take care of the noise - if anything moves, they bark.

With that said, it’s awfully hard to stop thieves if they really want something. A friend, years ago, got so tired of winter breakins at his cabin that he had special metal shutters made up for the doors and windows - they were through-bolted through the door and window frames, and required a special tool to remove the bolts. The laddos took a chainsaw and went thru his back wall.

Next year he should bolt it up again
But be sitting in there with a shotgun.

At home is easy
We keep them locked up in a shed. The shed is on a steep hill with “difficult” vehicular access, so if anybody broke into it and tried to steal the kayaks, they’d have a lot of work on their hands. Hard work is not something that characterizes thieves.

On the road is more difficult. We almost always camp, thereby avoiding the problem of unwatched kayaks in a motel/hotel parking lot. I have an extra-long cable that could help slow down any potential thieves. Also, more than a gentle bump on the trailer will set off the truck’s alarm.

I’ve thought many times of adding a gun rack to the cab window. An EMPTY gun rack.

We keep the 6 of ours in the back yard cabled together and to our rack and to the fencepost behind the palms that back up to the rack.



We cable through the scippers on our OK SOTs, and use taut nooses over the prows & sterns of our 2 SINKS b(so you can’t slip them back over the ends), and our glass Knysna Isthmus (the red & white boat atop the rack) because its scuppers are venturis through which we cannot thread a cable.

Cable is more difficult to chew through than chain.

A friend “lost” his much-loved, modified Impex Serenty Sport from atop his truck a couple years ago. We had our first boat, an old OK Malibu II tandem, lifted from our side yard -but I think that was a revenge move from neighbors who moved away and then returned to hassle us.

On the road, when we tote the boats, we feel comfortable leaving them unlocked atop the car most places we stay. When we stop to eat, we park near the windows, and sit near the windows, of restaurants when we travel. I’ve only locked them up twice when we were where I felt it might be unwise to tempt fate.

I think your approach is pretty good with the cables attached to the pilongs.

But as the other reasers noted, and we well understand, these measures thwart the casual theif; a real burglar will have your stuff.

That’s why we have insurance…

And that’s why we still get and store boats, and transport boats, as we do, in between the times we


-Frank in Miami

Another reason I keep em in the garage
when I am not down at the bay house - I was the very first person in my neighborhood to get a kayak back in 2000, got a lot of questions about the yellow Ocean Kayak Frenzy, at that time it seemed there were no kayaks in all West Galveston Bay. Now kayaks are very common, especially OKs. Many store theirs outside, and though they are much newer than mine, they look faded, while mine looks practically pristine until you look close at a few shallow gouges from barnacles and oyster shells. I have a feeling my boat, the original kayak on West Galveston Island, will still be going long after the latecomers that have been stored outside have cracked up from UV exposure.

Security Cables
My wife and I have been quite satisfied with Lasso Security Cables to lock our Wilderness Systems Tempest Pros to the Thule cross bars on the top of our car. Here is their URL.



We bought a 10’ X 20’ mini-barn from a local shed dealer. Cost about the same as a kevlar SK, but well worth it. We keep the boats and bikes in there. The doors are heavy and the lock is about as secure as you want to get, considering nothing will stop a determined professional.

We also live in an area where some people still leave their doors unlocked (Hard to believe a place like that exists in CT, but it’s true). Location is a big part of security. There’s also a large lake about a mile away, with lots of unsecured boats on lawns, so ours are too much work to bother with.

We put it right at the top of the driveway for easy loading & unloading from the cars, and adjacent to the tool shed. Our motto is “One for tools, one for toys”.

On the road, we cable the boats to the car & park right outside our room if possible, or under a light by the office. Camping, we cable them to a tree.

Deterring amateurs is all that’s really practical.


nice resource, thanks…
i have my boat “cabled” to a supporting beam of a two-story back deck. for the most part, it is behind other thigns and what does show pretty much blends in with the surroundings.

i find the bike cable a bit short and difficult to deal with at times, though, and it also dictates where i can put the boat. something longer might be nice.

i’m also looking for some thing much longer with whic i can secrue the lathe to the same deck (only on the deck itself and through the floor slats).

one of these cables may be just the thing! :slight_smile:


I have mine secured with lassoo type cables and each one goes through a large eyebolt secured to a vertical post on my fence. I don’t have room indoors so I’m forced to keep all 3 kayaks outside. They do fine over the winter.

Here’s a photo, I didn’t have the locks attached in the photo.



Yup, that’s another security measure of
mine - making my boats not visible in the garage when I’m not using them and in general harder to steal than the ones left out on the lawn on the houses across the canal is a great deterrent - thanks neighbors for being easy pickings!

Make your own cable locks
Hardware stores (NOT Home Depot, but real hardware stores) sell cable of various thicknesses, plus clear PVC tubing that you can fit over the cabling. Staff should have someone on hand who can make a secure loop out of the ends.

Cheap, and you can make it whatever length you want.

Make your own cable lock
I made a cable lock system for my kayaks. While it won’t stop the determined thief, I think it will stop the opportunistic thief.

I purchased the coated cable, clamps, and fittings from Home Depot. These photos show the lock system before I covered the clamps with duct tape to eliminate any scratches to the boats.



I also use this same system on my vehicle to secure the boats as well – I just run the cable underneath my roof racks.



I use a “car club”…

– Last Updated: Jan-26-06 12:32 AM EST –

As "SuperTroll" inferred, a determined and well equipped thief will often enough find a way to take what they want. However, the very nature of opportunistic thievery involves a degree a laziness (to get something for little or no real effort, as it were), so it does make sense for us to do what we can to make the opportunistic thief realize that they would have to actually work for their "prize".

When I need to leave the boat unattended on the car for any extended period of time, I put a "car club" across the aft end of the cockpit, behind the hip plates (not much "play" left for the club to move around). Then, using a very heavy duty bike lock (almost one inch thick armored cable with integrated lock), I secure the club to the rack (which is also locked to the rain gutters of my car). A regular bolt cutter won't get through the bike lock.

At the very least, it would take some heavy duty equipment and/or considerable time to defeat this system without causing extensive damage to the boat. So far, so good (knocking on my wooden head...just in case). :-)

Though I know that boats are too often stolen, it always makes me very sad to think that these thieves might be "fellow paddlers". I've always had such good experiences with other paddlers, so it's hard for me to even imagine that a fellow paddler would think of stealing another's boat. :-(


Cable locks
They work well for most applications. But as I said in another post in this thread, nothing will stop a pro.

Case in point: I went paddling on a friday night last summer, and didn’t get home until after dark. Since we were paddling again in the AM, I left my boat on the car, and cabled it.

We drove to the launch for the next day’s paddle, and went to unload. We were 80 miles from home at this point. I picked up the wrong set of car keys on the way out the door & didn’t have the key to my commercially made heavy-duty cable lock. Oops.

So, I bought a pair of bolt cutters at a hardware store just down the street from the launch for about $12. They went through the cable lock like a knife through butter. And we got to paddle that day, and keep the domestic tranquility.

I still use cable locks, because they work in 99% of situations. I also carry the bolt cutters with me on vacation just in case I lose my key.


I finally
have a garage (woohoo!) and I store the boats there. I’d never store them outside, even chained, if I wasn’t home. Small town security went out the door when I moved. Got to find a good way to secure them to the roof rack while out and about. Unfortunately, the garage isn’t tall enough to house the boats on top the vehicle. Tis okay, though, because that means I have more room for other things. Thanks for the lock ideas, I’ll try 'em.

Security in NE CT
We keep our kayaks inside even though we live in a small “safe” northeastern CT town too! We also use locks and cables on the Thule rack and even try to get 1st floor accomadations when we travel so the boats can “bunk in” with us! Better safe than sorry!