Locking canoes/kayaks

-- Last Updated: May-07-15 11:30 PM EST --

Now that I have a $3,000 canoe in my backyard with nothing but a cable strung through light wood to secure it, I was trying to think of a better way. Someone with a small saw can easily cut the wood and walk away with the canoe.

I recall a post here a year or two ago about a mfr. that made a device that involved cutting into the hull to create a watertight hole in the bow/stern, that a cable could be run through. At least with that, someone would need to cut a lock or cable, instead some sawing that would take seconds. Does anyone here remember who the mfr. of that device is?

Or is there a better way to secure a Kevlar canoe, outside keeping it indoors? That is not an option for me at this point.


– Last Updated: May-08-15 12:25 AM EST –

They are called Tug-Eyes. Also, many people make their own, using plastic conduit or PVC pipe. However, how big a hole do you hope to make? A decent cable, with end loops (which you need, of course) won't fit through a Tug-Eye or the typical home-built version. You'd need one with a bigger hole than normal if you hope to use a sturdy cable (such as those used for bike locks).

Speaking of which, some of the lock styles shown in that link that Steve provided below will go through a much smaller hole than what can be done with similar cable having built-in loops on the ends. I'd forgotten about that option.

Or, you could try this…

Double Lasso
Two loops of chain, connected to each other, would do the trick. You’d also need three padlocks.

These loops would be wrapped around the boat away from the middle and toward each end. Each loop would be sized and connected with a padlock. The free end that hangs from one loop would be pulled toward that of the other, and connected by the third lock (you could use a bike cable to span from one loop to the other). If the connecting cable/chain goes around the opposite side of a tree, etc, or if a separate locking cable/chain is used in that way, everything is secure.

Anyway, this would be slightly awkward, but pretty effective.

I originally hoped that two bike-cable locks could be used lasso fashion and tightened toward each other to stay in place, but then I envisioned that pulling each loop toward the middle might feed just enough cable to the loop to enlarge it enough to keep it moving in that direction. Experimenting with a rope lasso on one of my canoes proved this to be the case, meaning you can’t use a pair of lasso loops to lock canoes. The loop has to be of fixed size, and thus it needs to be chain (or something that I haven’t thought of. Custom-built cable loops perhaps?).

On a canoe, that won’t work without…

– Last Updated: May-08-15 8:49 AM EST –

... a roof rack or some such thing "taking up the space" between the two loops. See my post below (I tested the idea just a moment ago, and it doesn't work).

However, that does bring up the point that if the boat can be laid alongside two trees or similar immovable objects, this method WOULD be ideal.

****** Edit: Scratch that idea with the two trees too. I just realized that that pulling the canoe out of the two loops will still be possible. As one loop is forced to get larger, slack is made available to allow that to happen because the opposite loop will simultaneously be made smaller (providing extra slack in the connecting cable). It's back to using two loops of fixed size. There would be a way to do easily this with cable, but it wouldn't be hacksaw-proof. Apply cable connectors as needed to lock the loops, then hammer the nuts and the exposed bolt threads (good idea to bend the exposed parts of the bolts too by hammering) so they can't be loosened.

You'd still need a way to pull the cable tight and lock it, which the commercial lasso locks won't do.

Motion detector
Perhaps a motion detector would add some security to a locking system if parked at motel/hotel/B&B or beside your home? I don’t think they’re expensive and wouldn’t be hard to attach to a canoe… after all they’re a motion detector.


– Last Updated: May-08-15 9:03 AM EST –

to your building, vertically.
chicken wire
hang under eave
rent a garage
dig a hole n bury it under a concrete slab
disguise the hull as a cattle watering trough buy a fiberglass bull
get a junked propane tank cut....
buy a used school bus...
nghfb bfhndv


Plans “A” and "B."
My own Plan A is the marine rider to my homeowner’s policy, which covers my kayaks and paddles both at home and away.

Plan B is a lasso lock as well as a heavy chain to secure my kayak to a deck near my beach. The boat is on portable stands right now so I plan to set a couple of 4’ x 4’ posts down there, install a wall cradle on each one, then drill a hole in each post so it can accommodate a thick chain. My kayaks have u-bolts embedded in the deck, forward and aft, so I’ll use those to padlock it to the posts. If that works out, will do the same for a second kayak currently stashed in my back porch.

Also purchased enough marine fabric to make shade covers for both, to protect against UV damage. That’s a work in progress.

secure locking point
After he had both a trailer and a mini-motorbike stolen from the back of his property, I helped a friend make secure attachment bases in his yard (which I plan to duplicate to secure the boat trailer I am going to buy later this month.) You borrow or rent a posthole digger, get a couple bags of concrete and the biggest, longest galvanized u-bolt you can find and make a deep concrete plug in the ground with a steel loop embedded in the top to which you can padlock anything you wish to keep secure. We actually used an old Kryptonite bike lock for which he had lost the key to embed for one of the loops. We recessed them, using short hunks of 4" PVC to frame the “well” so that he could mow over them and so he could drop a PVC plug cover in them when they were not in use and during the winter.

endless potential

Some of these might be jury for this application, assuming I understand it, instead of a chain.


Lasso cables
I don’t see why two trees would be necessary with a commercial Lasso cable. It has fixed size loops. When using mine (an older Lasso cable) for temporarily stashing my canoe somewhere I lean the canoe against a tree, place a loop around each end of the canoe, then take up slack in the cable by winding excess cable around the tree, then lock the ends together. I can’t visualize how this could be loosened without cutting the cable or the tree.

You are correct in that case

– Last Updated: May-08-15 8:14 PM EST –

Note that the lasso cables in the link are not fixed in size, but live up to their name in being "lassos". Note also that I explained elsewhere how a canoe can be sneaked out of a pair of loops that are truly a "lasso" style. Also, note that I changed my mind about the two trees being needed, once I realized that true "lasso" style loops won't work anyway (for a moment I was thinking the two trees would prevent the kind of slippage that lets the canoe be removed, but that's not the case).

Oh, and note also that I described a method using a pair of loops having a fixed size, which does not require two trees.

In short, none of this is news to me, and there's no disagreement.

Lasso cable
I looked at the lasso locks and couldn’t imagine how they would work unless the cable was a perfect fit, with no slack and impossible to work the lasso over the end of the boat.

Tug Eyes!
That’s what I was thinking of. I’m still somewhat hesitant about the idea of drilling through a Kevlar hull. I wouldn’t hesitate with a poly kayak or a Royalex boat, but many Royalex boats have built in handles that make the Tug Eye unnecessary.

Anybody have experiences, good or bad, drilling through a Kevlar hull? Any tips if I decide to go this route?

Lock straps
I saw these in my online search, but someone with a sharp knife can make quick work of these.

I know no locking system is foolproof, but I want something that won’t take a minute or two to defeat. Something that will make the casual or opportunistic thief move on to an easier target.