Moral dilemma

You agree to sell a 14.5’ kayak to someone. Person indicates he intends to transport the kayak 60 miles on the interstate with a blanket on the roof of the car and only two cross ties, no end straps. You’re unable to convince the person that this isn’t safe. What do you do?

(Considerations: Other drivers; passengers in those cars, including children; cars braking and swerving to avoid a flying kayak; your legal liability for letting the person drive off when you knew the kayak wasn’t safely attached)

Legal versus personal
Once a legal adult has given you the money, you may not have much legal liability - especially if you refrain from excessive honesty.

But for what it is worth, because of safety concerns we have decided not to sell a boat to someone who would have happily forked over the money. It was a different safety issue - he wanted to immediately take the kayak out into waters for which he was utterly unprepared. (was a complete newbie paddler)

If we had been able to convince the guy to go out with us once or twice in a safer environment so we could get him thru some basics, he could have had the boat. But he totally refused to do that, and we like both he and his wife. So we told him that we had taken the boat out and decided we still needed it for some purposes. He is still around and his wife still likes us. I don’t think he has gotten a kayak yet - he probably only wanted to jump on this one because we and the boat were present and accessible.

do the f&r tie downs for them
Tell them you’ll use your own rope and tie them yourself. But you’re not selling unless they agree to that.

Do it in a way that makes them feel like they “won”.

not right?
Is this not how your supposed to transport a boat?

If they tied it through the windows and laced it through some deck lines it is probably more likely to beat up their car than it coming off.

Ryan L.

Same here.

– Last Updated: Jun-10-11 11:32 AM EST –

I've got enough old stuff around the garage that I would donate to safely tie on a boat for just about any one-way. Price of doing business and a clear conscience.

No rack
Well, he doesn’t want to bring a second set of straps and I don’t really want to give him a set of my own. Plus adding the front and rear tie downs doesn’t solve the problem of no rack or even foam blocks. This kayak is domed in such a way that it won’t sit flat on a car top either rightside up or down. Foam blocks would at least bring that dome up off the roof so there would be 4 contact points.

Grab a set of bocks and some cheap line.
Offer them at cost and offer to tie it on. No go, no sale. The blocks are handy to have around, anyway.

I’d just make sure they have a line through the decklines of the boat. You’ve told them that it’s a shabby way to transport a kayak, and you’re right. I don’t think they’re going to hurt anyone though. More likely they’ll scuff up the boat and their roof.

a potential problem for the seller…
if they tie the boat to the roof they could become liable in the event of an accident.


two words: shrink wrap

– Last Updated: Jun-10-11 12:10 PM EST –

I've always advocated this as the safest way to cartop a kayak.

Hey - it helped Karl Rove maintain his patriotism!

Folks buy
Corvettes, guns and crotch rockets too. You tell them what the concerns are, you send them on their way. You can’t save the world and you can’t fix stupid.

Sue me.
I believe it is the operator’s liability.

I wouldn’t have any trouble sleeping.

Hey, now, that’s not a bad idea!
'cept I think it’s called “stretch-wrap”.

does money change your values ??

– Last Updated: Jun-10-11 1:24 PM EST –

........ waterbird , for instance let's say you were loaning your kayak to a friend who was going to go paddling with you (or for that matter , just borrow it from you) .

Your friend shows up with the same loading gear and abilities as the potential buyer you mentioned has . You tell your friend that it's not safe to transport the kayak the way they want to , and suggest they accept your advice and help to get the kayak loaded so you all can get going on down the road .

Your friend says no thanks , they've got it covered and aren't concerned , they feel sure "your" kayak will be fine doing it their way .

What do you say ?? ... my guess is you say (politely) , either you let me help you get it loaded so I feel OK about it or let's forget the whole deal .

Now let's say your friend was going to buy your kayak , and then you all go paddling . They show up and you ask them how they intend to load it . You find the same scenario as before ... would you sell it to them and just head out to go paddle together allowing them to load as they see fit ... or would you say , sorry no deal until you have a safe loading method ??

In one scenario no money changed hands , the other is identical except that money (and ownership) changed hands . So my question to you is , will the fact that money changed hands alter your values (will you compromise your values) for this one time only loading event ??

I know I wouldn't .

I wouldn't stick my nose or insistence into someone elses bussiness too far if it were just a stranger at a by chance encounter at a ramp etc. ... but your case is not a by chance encounter , it's a personal and connected envolvement to you .

zerider said you can't fix stupid and you can't save the world ... in the big picture that may be true , but in the smaller and directly personal envolvement picture I say to you , sometimes you can stop stupid from happening and do your best to protect others from it , especially when you have control over a situation and better understanding of the consequences .

ps., ... there's always someone else who can buy your kayak and when they depart leave you without a sense of guilt because you felt they had it loaded safely .

LOL, did anyone else
have to Google “crotch rocket?”


– Last Updated: Jun-10-11 1:48 PM EST –

I had a used men's size L drysuit listed for sale at a good price. Someone with (I thought) a man's name in my local club asked to try it on. It turned out to be a woman, a newbie who was (maybe) a woman's medium. She insisted on trying it anyway - it was massively too large, legs and arms both at least six inches too long. Add to that, she had zipped her neck tight into the top of the front zipper opening, leaving the neck gasket lying open on the back of her neck.

She said "I'll take it!", but as I had visions of her drowning in it on her first paddle, I refused to sell, saying she was obviously far too small for it and it wasn't safe. She was not happy, and was never friendly after that, but I'm glad to be writing this post rather than the alternate scenario.

BTW the drysuit sold a couple of weeks later to an experienced kayaker who fit it, knew how to use it and was happy with the deal, so it worked out OK.

I would still sell it to him

– Last Updated: Jun-11-11 6:20 AM EST –

When we were in the Yukon we got a thirty mile shuttle up yhe Yukon River to a First Nations Fish Camp from a Germain guy, and his get up was the exact same way as you describe.
The two Yaks arrived safe and sound

Jack L

Would you stop a stranger?
If someone came to your house to buy a lawn mower and happen to have a kayak incorrectly attached to their car, would you take away their car keys? Not sell them the mower? Block their vehicle?

If you saw a car with a kayak on it the way you describe, would you stop it on the road and not let the person proceed?

If you would not stop a total stranger on the road then give up any moral high ground and just sell the boat. After you sell it, the boat and the responsibility are theirs.

They are not likely to have a problem. People tie stuff on badly all the time and drunk driving still kills 10,000 people a year. That’s probably very close to 10,000 more people than killed by projectile kayaks.


point out
that the police can cite his for unsafe load and confiscate the watercraft.

Then offer a free roap so he won;tthink you are just trying to rip him off