Mounting location, tow/security shackle?

Finally got a small stainless U-bolt to allow for securing my kayak with a cable or for the occasional tow. Any installations I’ve seen have been in the centre of the rear deck, where it seems to me it would interfere painfully with cockpit re-entry. My dumb logic says to put it off to one side, just behind the cockpit, say near the rudder control lines. This would allow for clean re-entries and a slightly offset tow that hopefully would keep the towline off the rudder assembly.

Does this make sense? Anyone done this?

Mounting your U bolt
The ring in my Skerray is behind the seat under the back of the combing. Not a great spot for when I need to put on my cockpit cover with the cable sticking out. The U bolt on my Boreal came mounted by the manufacturer about a foot ahead of the rudder. Not a bad spot and it never caused me any grief.


Thanks Irish
I’ll have a look at the rear location. Btw, got my electric planer and a cedar 2X4 today…

Pretty lousy quality on both.

If It’s A Glass Boat…
what I did was to glass in 1.5" piece of 2" diameter pvc tube right under the front coaming area. I run a cable through it when I want to lock the kayak.

This set up obviously does allow for towing. But I prefer quick release tow belts, which I believe are safer, since I don’t want to reach behind me to release if I have to.


I located a back
deck towing cleat by sitting in the boat, leaning fully back on the deck, and then marking a spot two inches above my head. I didn’t want any risk of snagging or hitting my head on the cleat.

When you tow from the rear of the boat, it makes paddling less comfortable, as the towed boat yanks your boat around. Towing from as close to your center of gravity as possible makes it easier. A mid-back-deck location is a compromise, and also makes reaching the U with your cable lock easier.


Tow Line Connection Point
I am for the most part unfamiliar with towing but have noticed higher end PFDs have a tow line loop built into the vest and the talk here today is about connecting the tow line to the boat.

I have experienced dragging a small bait bucket around that is attached to the kayak and find it nearly impossible to pull along without serious effort.

To me it seems having the tow line attached to the paddler would enable much more shock absorbsion and the ability to actually use the torso for pull power when the tow fights back.

shock cords are sometime used correct ?

I wonder if a hard to reach connection could be a potential hazard or an easy to reach connection on the PFD is safer or more of hazard.

Is the connection point a matter of preference or is there an approved or say ACA certified location.



I have no experience with locking the yak up so I will restrict my input to tows…

In my experience the advantage of a boat mounted tow is the comfort-any jarring that would normally be transmitted to your waist from a belt tow is transferred to the boat and for tows in rough{ish} water it is far more comfortable. The disadvantage I found was that because of that comfort if it releases accidentally {I had a ph quest and used a small shackle-this wouldn’t be as likely perhaps with jam cleats and such}, you may not realize it. This of course will only happen at the most inopportune time. Keep whatever hardware you use up to snuff

If it were me, I would mount a jam cleat on the left hand side {are you right handed?} just astern of the cockpit…then in the center and slightly farther astern, mount a small “circle” {I have no idea what this mounting is called…you can see it on the vcp and ndk boats with boat moounted tows} that allows your tow line to be centered directly behind you…the mount is quite small and should in no way really inhibit anything you will be doing {although anything back there could be tricky if you do a cowboy re-entry}

The reason this mount {or your ubolt} are located as close to the cockpit and in the center is so that if you tow…you can turn. The farther astern you place it, the greater your mobility is going to be hindered. If you mount anything like this at the very stern of your boat, you’ll never turn if you have a boat in tow.

I thought I read in one of the posts about a rudder? If that’s true, I would forgo the boat mounted tow entirely…the risk that the line will foul is greater {and in an emergency when it really can’t…a foregone conclusion…that dang Mr. Murphy!} and you either won’t be able to clear it or it’ll just snag in the rudder and so then you’ve got 2 boats that are having problems…if there’s a rudder, a waist mounted tow may be something you want to look at again.

Good luck with whatever you decide to do.

All makes good sense
Thank you

All good sense and reasoning


security shackle
This doesn’t address the towing issue but the most secure locking arrangement I’ve seen is this; Get 2 pre-swaged Kryptonite cables, a 7 footer and a 15 footer. (About 25 bucks total at Home Depot.) Feed 1 end through the loop at the other end to make a noose. Do this with each cable. Slip 1 noose over the bow and 1 over the stern. Slide the back to the point where your boat starts to fatten up (3 feet or so). Snug up the nooses and bring the other 2 end loops together over the cockpit and secure them with a lock, either a big padlock or a Master Python sliding cable lock work well. You can adjust this for various length boats by looping thru twice with the noose to shorten it up. Oh yeah, and remember to include a post or tree or something before you tighten everything down.

Hi Brian,
it’s a matter of taste–I prefer waist-mounted towing, as the line doesn’t snag as easily, your boat’s control isn’t affected by the tow line, you have instant quick release right in front of you, and you can sense what’s going on with your tow better. But some people find it strains their backs. My main ocean boat is set up for both, so I have the option.


Towing is secondary
I appreciate the excellent comments, particularly the “noose” idea. I’ve mounted the shackle just behind the rear of the cockpit coaming, well off to the side. We have a pool session coming up, I’ll double-check its interference then.

I wouldn’t use it for a normal tow, but might if we encounter another wounded jetski.

where did you get this u-bolt?
I have been trying to figure out how I will be able to secure and lock the kayaks to my rack. I had thought of something similar to your u-bolt but I can not seem to find anything that would look decent on a yak. Nothing at HD or Lowes looks appealing. Is it just a standard zinc plated u-bolt or something that would look like it belonged on the yak? thanks, GD

At local marine chandlery
Waypoint Marine. U-bolt is stainless, high quality and only 6 bucks.

A West Marine Store
Might check around for a West Marine Store, they have about 250 locations nationwide.

Might even be able to get the U-Bolt on line.



It’s called a “fairlead”

thanks for suggestion
thanks, magoo… and hart… for the name. my next stop was a local marine shop. only problem i am in tucson and not to many marine shops to visit in the desert. thanks gd