Leave kayaks on car at hotel

Heading to Jeckyl island later this summer. The hotel we are staying at does not have a place to store the kayaks so I will have lok them up (with kayak lasso) on top of my car. I’m not real comfortable doing this. What are others experience doing this? I’m concerned that the boats will get stolen. Perhaps I am worrying too much. Thoughts?

I think you are worrying too much.
The lasso s/b good security.

Two cables attached to roof rack
You can make your own locking system with two heavy duty bike cables per kayak. Somebody can cut the cables if they really want to steal them, but best to park in a lighted area that’s visible from your room. Some folks put alarms with mercury switches in the kayaks to scare off anyone messing with them at night.

If you add extra straps and lock cables it will slow somebody down and they will avoid getting caught. I’ve never heard of a locked kayak being stolen but I’m sure it happens, but you can’t worry too much or you will never use them.

It could happen
I have left boats on cars at hotels often and nobody has stolen them so far, but that doesn’t mean they never will.

Try to park your boats somewhere there is good visibility, and if you have them locked, I think you will be alright.

I think a kayak is not the kind of thing that most hotel parking lot thieves want. A kayak is unlikely to convert to quick cash, and it isn’t like you can tuck it inside a jacket to conceal it if a cop drives by. I do worry about local youths that might see your boat, get inspired and want to try an adventure.

Good luck,


Just use a sign
"CAUTION: Live venomous snakes inside".

Then through a few baby rattles in the storage compartments.

Mark - Up past his bedtime so not too coherent.

Take a crayon and circle some trivial
fault on the hull of each. Put a big X inside each circle, and write “see inside” somewhere, not too conspicuously. Possible thieves will wonder what might be wrong with the boats, and won’t want to scamper with them when others may take note of who has the marked boats.

I do it lots of times
with high end kayaks and canoes.

I figure if they get stolen, that’s a good excuse to get new ones

Jack L

I don’t want my car insurance getting too comfortable.

If I’m somewhere a little janky I just give the night clerk a twenty to watch the boat.

Ryan L.

Where is the hotel?
We’ve done this with no problem in areas well away from the shore, with sea kayaks. We just make sure to put the car under lights and get it somewhere that we can see it from the window of the room. It seems like no one gets these boats inland, and it’s not exactly easy to run down the street balancing a 16 to 18 foot hunk of fiberglass on the shoulder.

We have also used double straps (two at each point) with the long ends past the buckle wound and knotted to points on the rack, and wrap the kayak lasso as tangled-looking as we can. When we are done, it’s going to take someone a lot longer than 2 and a half minutes to figure out how to get a boat off the car.

The most stories we’ve heard, all second-hand, of this being a problem as you get closer to the shore.

More a problem in the WW community
As indicated above, a smaller, lighter weight boat is easier to steal. But the real answer is “that is what insurance is for.” Take reasonable precautions (like locked cables) so it cannot be argued that you were negligent. If the boats are expensive consider a rider on your homeowners insurance. Be sure you can identify the boats and prove ownership if they are stolen and recovered. Keep a record of serial numbers and use a marking tool to write your name and address in a hard to see place.

I’ve actually brought
mine in the room with me. I can imagine what housekeeping thought about that! It was a 16’ CD Sirocco.

remove hatch covers
I think Kayaks only get stolen by people who know what they’re after, and know how to sell them. I’d lock the boats, and remove all the hatch covers. They can’t sell the boat without the covers, and they’re unlikely to spend $250 to replace the hatch covers on a boat they stole.

What if it rains?
But without hatch cover, the boat will be filled with water if it rains overnight.

do it all the time
I have 2 sea kayaks on my car parked on the streets of San Francisco right now. Living in the city, I don’t have storage here. And storage areas close by are too expensive, so my storage area is a good 30+ minute drive away. Also do this regularly at hotels and campsites. So my boats spend significant time on the roof of my car.

In the 3 or 4 years I have been doing this (with boats on roof at least 3 months per year), twice someone has tried to remove the boats and in both cases the boats were left there when the thieves found they were locked. Both were on weekend, and I suspect local pub goers who had a few to many and thought it would be cool to try a kayak out but didn’t realize they were locked until after they got the straps off.

My theory matches what has been mentioned before - thieves don’t know how to deal with kayaks. They basically need another vehicle to carry the boat away if they steal it (unlike a bicycle, which the thief can ride away). And they wouldn’t know how to sell it.

Of course, I stick to cheaper plastic boats, rather than high end composites. So cost of a theft would be less for me.

I Like That Idea, Mark!

– Last Updated: May-31-12 10:51 AM EST –

That's even better than my sign I used once on a boat left at a landing, "Bubba, be right back with my 12 gauge and some more ammo."

Park near the front in the best lighting and maybe use a locking cable. Then resign yourself to the fact that some things are just beyond your control! I've done plenty of traveling with canoes and kayaks and never had one bothered in the midwest, Texas, and the Rocky Mountain west.

Did it a few times
I had my kayaks on my car over a few weekends in Carlsbad and La Jolla CA. This was in two different hotels and I never worried about it. I did have a steel cable but it was not a lasso and could have been removed by removing the seats.

To have a kayak stolen in this situation, you will need to find a criminal that wants a kayak, has a way to transport a kayak, and that doesn’t mind the exposure of standing next to your car trying to take your kayak while it is parked at a hotel. The odds of this seem a little low.

Make sure that the cable is very visible.


other strategies
I’ve had to do this a few times (though since I have mostly owned folders, I usually had the option to stash the boat inside the car or room.) Going by the principle of mitigating the “attractive nuisance” factor, besides cable locking them I carry a lightweight painters canvas drop cloth(they come in 6’ x 20’, perfect to enwrap a sea kayak) and wrap the boat(s) in it using bungees to secure it. I think not seeing what is in the odd shaped lump makes it less appealing and handy to would be thieves.

I’ve also though of printing up “official looking” stickers for the boat hulls warning that the kayaks are part of a law enforcement theft prevention pilot program and have been embedded with micro tracking devices.

I used to keep my good tools klepto-free on job sites when I was a construction electrician by painting them hot pink (and sticking flower decals on my tool boxes and Stanley thermos.) A couple of my kayaks are so distinctive I doubt anyone would dare to steal them. Honestly, I worry more about vandalism (someone scrawled obscene graffiti with a Sharpie on one of my friend’s RM boats left on a car on the street years ago.)

In addition to the many good ideas
In hotel lots I usually try to park near the main lobby entrance, or the secondary entrances, as these are generally higher trafficked areas and the security cameras are in place with better lighting. Tends to serve as a thief deterrant.

don’t stay in hotels
camp where you can see your boat at all time

That’s a good one
Mark’s rattlesnake idea, your defects indicators, what else can we come up with?