Painters for my kayak

Can anyone tell me where I can buy painter lines for my kayak? I need bow and stern lines… probably about 20 feet each. I’ve been looking online and I’m having a very hard time finding anything! Thanks!

Try this

– Last Updated: May-27-14 12:34 PM EST –

Reflective line is nice:

I run a painter clipped at the cockpit, up through the bow loop and back to the cockpit, with SS spring biners. Then one biner can be used to clip the painter around a fitting at a dock, a tree trunk or whatever. The line is longer than it needs to be, and is shortened with a buntline hitch (slip knot).

In addition to being a painter, it acts as a nice grab line on the forward deck, and will hold down a jacket. In addition, while the boat is on the rack, you can undo both biners and use them to attach the bow of the boat to the tow hook on the front of the car.

I originally did this for the SOF boat which had no forward grab lines, but I liked it so much I put one on all my boats.

Deck perimeter line??
Did you mean Deck Perimeter line? If so you can get that plus a whole lot more for deck rigging here.

Unclear what you mean - clarify?
Painter usually means an additional line that stays coiled on or in the boat until it is needed to tie the boat off to something during a stop - usually used in canoes and usually bow only.

Perimeter lines are what run around the edges of a kayak. And you need both the line and the deck fittings thru which to run them. No deck fittings, you have to start drilling a bunch of holes in the boat.

I wonder if you have a kayak with the deck fittings but the perimeter line is shot - is that it? In that case, answer number 2 above will do you better.

I don’t have any deck fittings on my kayak at all. I only have a grab handle on each end. I only need the line for tying off to a tree or other stationary object on a riverbank. Advice?

Nautical things like to have special names like “painter” or “line”.

But a painter is just a length of rope.

You can’t find rope in a store near you?

Everything I’ve read indicates that you need a specific type of rope… i.e. 9mm polypro kernmantle and I can’t find that anywhere.

Any kind of rope will work

– Last Updated: May-27-14 3:40 PM EST –

Any kind of rope will work. I myself would use braided polypropylene, with a diameter of either one-quarter or three-eighths of an inch (thicker makes it easier to handle, thinner makes a coil of rope take up a lot less room). Braided polypro rope is supple so there are no problems with kinks or tangles, it takes knots well, is easy on the hands, and it floats. Nylon rope is "better" in terms of all the things that it can do (including greater strength and slower deterioration in sunlight), but braided polypro is more than good enough and is nicer for this particular application. You can get it at any hardware store, either the small traditional shop or the modern big-box kind. Polypro rope is so popular with power boaters that most stores will have bags of 50-foot lengths labeled as "anchor line", "mooring line", etc. Those lines are usually about one-half or five-eighths of an inch in diameter, but the same brand/style with smaller diameter will be right alongside on the display shelf. Or just ask - the store WILL have it.

By the way, for kayak painters, a knot that makes a cinching loop, tied around the carry handle, works fine.

No fittings?
With no fittings, you don’t have any perimeter lines, which is not really safe. In this case, the method I mentioned in the first reply is more relevant, as it provides grab lines on the forward deck, at least. You should have them on the rear deck too, it gives you something to grab if you capsize and the wind takes the boat.

I would suggest this

– Last Updated: May-27-14 4:58 PM EST –

I like 5/16" diameter rope. That is closer to 8 mm in diameter which I find ties (and stays tied) better than 9 mm rope, and is still thick enough not to cut your hands under tension. It will be plenty strong.

I like BlueWater rope:

This is 100% polypropylene rope of kernmantle construction. The kern is the core, which in this case is stranded polypro. The mantle is the braided yellow sheath (also polypro) which makes the rope easier on the hands.

I do not usually attach painters to my kayaks but there is no reason not to do so as long as you have a good system for keeping the painter stowed yet having it easily deployed. I use painters on both ends of my whitewater canoes. If you swim the painter can be deployed such that you can swim into an eddy and pull the canoe in after you. If anything, the stern painter is more important because if you swim you want to stay at the upstream end of the boat, which is usually the stern.

It used to be relatively common for whitewater kayakers to have a relatively short length of rope attached to a grab loop at one end with the free end secured in a jam cleat next to the cockpit:

This allows for only a relatively short painter unless you have a ridiculously long kayak. You could drill some holes through your deck near the cockpit to run some shock cord loops through to stow the coiled painter under.

I bet you are reading about motor boats
If all you have is grab handle front and back, it is a rec kayak and does not have to be treated with special care.

A rope for the bow will do you fine, especially since places you pull up a kayak for lunch are not usually equipped with two trees the right distance apart. Bring a spare rope if it’ll make you feel safer.

But a kayak is best pulled up on shore - complete with dirt on the bottom - for a lunch break anyway. The mooring with two lines is a motor boat at he dock kind of thing.

Two lines can be invaluable

– Last Updated: May-27-14 8:49 PM EST –

There's no clue here as to why the OP wants two lines, but in some of the places I go canoeing, I wouldn't be able to launch or carry over a tangle of downed trees without having a painter at both ends. Sometimes you really need to be able to let the boat run some distance away from the bank, but then pull it back via the rope at the other end (generally to a different spot than the entry point). Even though I've often had to do that, I won't try to explain specific cases here (a video or series of photos would be worth a million words). However, launching/landing in such places, or crossing such tangles with a kayak instead of a canoe would range from very difficult to practically impossible. I just thought I'd mention that two lines CAN be very necessary. By the same token, the idea that one can simply park the boat by pulling it up on shore reflects experience in particular situations. I know of a few rivers around here where parking the boat on shore simply can't be done at any average place along the way.

I can see the possiblity
… but without more info my instinct is that something is being way overthought here. I can also think of a lot of spots where I would rather float my boat than pull it up on land. I have also secured the kayak both fore and aft of the cockpit to keep it from banging around when we had a cluster and limited options to secure boats.

But these spots usually involve messy steps from the kayak to the land or nasty rocks or some other inconvenience. Not my first image of the OPer’s preferences.


Outdoors fishing has floating ropes, yellow with stripes. And near the coasts, kayak fishing equipment, maybe kayaks.

Hardware has screws n washers. Not stainless but hulls screws.

Packaging next to soap has sandwich baggies.

Pharmacy carries sunscreen, chapstick, skin emollients, Cliff bars.

Foooooooooood, carries some food but not much. There are cans of fluid called Red Bull. RB in the original form will get you across the bay in rough conditions.

In a subject not often broached but frequently considered but never planned for until you came here, Wal Pharmacy carries inexpensive bottles of magnesium citrate, a worthwhile addition to any kit but useful only if on hand.

Home Depot or hardware store
Has cheap braided polypropylene. You can daisy chain it short and tie off somewhere on deck?

Beware of that cheap rope
There are quite a few inexpensive types of polypropylene rope of kernmantle construction and Chinese origin sold at places like Walmart, Home Depot, Ace Hardware, Lowe’s, etc.

It looks decent in the store but deteriorates quickly in my experience. The kern typically fractures when stressed by bends and knots, and the mantle deteriorates quickly, the dye in it becomes chalky and makes a mess of your hands, and the stuff has very poor breaking strength.

Breaking strength might not be that important if you are just tying you boat off to a tree in an eddy, but your painter might be called upon to help extricate your boat from a pin someday.

Wal on the beach

– Last Updated: May-28-14 7:48 AM EST –

We're on the Gulf of Mexico. Wal competes with West marine down the street, HD across the street.

The marine/fishing area may not be West or Orvis but not inadequate.

The yellow striped floating rope is durable over 7 seasons.

Caveat on all rope. Buyers are expected to know clothes line from halyard. If you can tie a knot then you can operate a Yakima...maybe.

Currently Wal has a cord in several sizes on a black handle. Working as a kayak roof tie down...on foam of course. Ends heat seal. Doesn't immediately un-ravel or un-rack. Recommend. Buy 2.

Painters for my kayak
I would recommend the use of floating dock line that can be found in those lengths at just about any marine shop.

go to the body shop and cut the roof off, or have the damaged one replaced!