Night Reflective Flag

The first Red Flag I had attached to my boat was nothing more than a piece of plastic with the boarders reinforced with Red Duct tape, this was made for me by my Kayak retailer, I am for the first time takeing a long day trip and will be transporting back home at night, and was looking for ideas of what folks have used with some type of Reflective properties to it, is their a reflective roll of Duct tape out there that is reasonable. I have looked online some of these are rather salty in price, any advice would be appreciated.

Reflective tape?

– Last Updated: Oct-11-14 1:23 PM EST –

Though flagging the trailing end of a boat in transport is done pretty rarely, it may be a good idea, especially with a really long boat on a really small car (in most other situations, for a following car to actually hit the back of the boat before striking the rear bumper of your car, they'd have to be driving a van or a bus, and if they end up getting that close it means they already screwed up and a flag probably wouldn't have helped). Anyway, you can buy really bright reflective tape at hardware stores. You just need something to stick it to. Even a piece of cardboard or stiff paper would do, but you'd want to reinforce the whole thing (including your connecting loop) with with something strong like duct tape or packing tape. Maybe make the "flag" a few inches wide and about a foot long, with an attachment loop at one end? That way wind resistance won't be too problematic, as far as keeping it attached. If I were to do this and wanted to keep it simple but strong, I'd run a piece of wire around the full length of the cardboard, wrap the cardboard with strong tape to reinforce everything and keep the wire in place, and leave a little little loop of wire extending from one end (to attach a string to).

Oh, by the way, the reflective tape I've seen in the stores is available in very short lengths, a few feet rather than a whole roll, so yes, it's very cheap.

Go to the automotive dept at store
or to an auto supply/parts retailer. Or a farm supply store. Get the self adhesive reflective tape that truckers and farmers put on their bumpers/back ends and that equestrians put on their horse trailers. This stuff REALLY shows up at a distance. I know this because I’ve followed my spouse driving the truck, with the car while we’re doing the “river relay” on the way home. Instead of putting it on the flag, I put this on both ends of kayak itself, above the waterline. The end of the kayak, which is over the edge of the truck bed when traveling, is now distinctly lit up whenever light hits it. And this also has the effect of giving you more of a safety margin on the way home, hot-snots behind you, who are in such a big hurry to hit the local beer joint are reluctant to tail- gate, they can see something big is in the truck, but are not sure just WHAT is in the truck.

BONUS: adds to your night time safety on the water. The truck bumper reflective tape has held up on my kayak for 2 years now.

You could put some on a flag, too, if you want. We flag the kayaks anyway to comply with the law.

I have hung a glow stick back there
Mainly because if I’ve been night paddling I’ll have a glow stick going anyway. Just carbiner it to the carry loop. I’ve done it alot and never been stopped for it so I am guessing it’s legal, your experience may vary.

no reflective tape for me
Never used reflective tape on my flags.

The rule for most states is that a flag if required if the kayak hangs out 4 feet or more from the rear bumper. Flag must be red. Nothing about needing to be reflective. If you want, you would add some red reflective tape to your flag. My kayaks don’t extend 4 feet, so I use a flag just as a nicety (not requirement) on my longer boats. Never considered reflective tape on the flag, though I do have some on the kayak itself.

Don’t rely on the other guy’s lights

– Last Updated: Oct-13-14 10:15 PM EST –

Fabric shops have reflective material that is more flexible and more appropriate for use on a flag than automotive reflective tape which is brittle.

You might also consider using your beacon light. Just leave it turned on. Truckers are well lighted for a reason.

If you paddle in saltwater or in high traffic freshwater, you’re required to have a single white light that is visible to all other boaters. Myself and several friends go a step further, and use suction cup mounted regulation bow and stern lights (Red/Green on bow, and white on stern). I’ve had powerboaters tell me on more than one occasion that I look like a powerboat from a distance. That’s all I had to hear - they are on my kayaks whenever I paddle at night.


Impresses the hell outta the natives