preventing theft

I was wondering if anyone has an idea for securing a canoe or kayak to a roof rack in such a way that would make it difficult for anyone to walk off with your boat. I’ll be taking a rather long road trip soon and would like to end the trip with the same boats I started with.

my solution
My solution was to discourage but not prevent theft (because can you really PREVENT it?) by buying some cheap ($5.99 each) 4 foot bike cables and a couple master locks.

My Yakima rack locks to my luggage rack already so I just loop the cables through my kayak seat (which is bolted to the boat) and lock them to my round bars.

Problem solved, for less than $20.

Granted, this would not prevent someone with tools from stealing my boats…but that kind of person will get them anyway. I’m just looking to protect them in parking lots and on the occasional hotel overnight stay.

I added the security loops, and use a bike cable and padlock. A U-bolt would also work as a locking point if the kayak seat doesn’t.

It won’t stop someone with serious bolt cutters, but it should discourage the guy looking for an easy target.

Home Made Cable System
I bought some 3/8" coated cable and ferrules at a local Lowes, and made my own system. One long length (~ 14’; measured to fit my boat), and a smaller length (~3’). Each has a small loop in each end. I thread one end of the long length through the other end (making a lasso). I loop this over the bow and run it aft, under both rack crossbars. I then take the shorter length and loop it over the aft end of the boat and lock both ends to the long length. There’s not enough slack to pull it off either end. Additionally, I run another short length from the security bar on the stern of my wife’s boat (I don’t have one) to the three locked loops at my stern. This effectively locks both boats together and to the rack (which is locked to the top of the truck).

It sounds more complicated than it really is, and only takes one or two minutes to hook up.

Can a determined thief defeat this system? Sure, but it will deter most casual thieves and I sleep better.

BTW, atop my truck is the only place I have to store them. So anytime they’re not in the water, that’s where they live.


Heavy duty
I use haevy duty chain and good locks. It’s kinda awkward to do but when someone has to try and cut through a thicker link with heavy boltcutters and the noise factor invoved with chain, they are really risking their behind. Now granted this isn’t something I used on the roof rack. Rather, on the ground when running around without the boats or now with the trailer. I just lock it so the loop of chain at either end of the boats is inward enough and tight enough to prevent any sort of escape. With about 25-30’ of chain and up to 5 locks (depends what I’m doing) my boats don’t go anywhere. I can lock them to large trees, my trailer or to any theiving scums neck while I wait for the police. I hate stealing and I believe in seriously protecting my investments.

Paranoid attitude
I too have locks and chains but in my opinion just thinking helps a lot. Try to park under streetlights at night. When you go into a store or a place to eat park in view of the front of the store. Don’t park behind vehicles that protect a thief from view. I could go on and on but this is a big part of protecting any of your stuff.

Guard dog? S&W?

Master Lock Python adjustable cable lock
MasterLock makes a cable lock that fits together cinches to any length loop you want.

Now, I just slip the end of the cable through the security bar on my Dagger kayak, flip it over the boat, around the bar on my rack, slip it up the front of the boat and into the locking mechanism on my MasterLock, cinch the cable to the approprate length and turn the key.

At least it LOOKS locked. It’ll also prevent the boat from bouncing off the road and killing somebody if your straps fail.

just your standard grenade inside
the kayak with a wire tied to the pin and truck rollbar, losing a kayak sucks but the thief doesn’t get far.sets an example,also I’m for shot shells mounted in the seat posts of bicycles, hard to ride off without a spine. ,truthfully steel cable and the smallest kryptonite u-lock you can find deters all but the most determined…

u bolts and locks
I also rigged up a loop system with heavy coated

steel cable. I found the u bolts very easy to remove with a wrench so I used locks to make the loops.

Cable “U”-bolts
Instead of using “U”-bolts (there’s a technical term…but I can’t remember), get some swage ferrules. If you don’t have access to a swage tool, you can use a vise or a hammer to squeeze them down.


use high test loctite
and round off the bolts once you tighten them up.

They ain’t going nowhere fast.

I second the pythons
I also use the Python locks and like them very much. If you are able to get them from the same shipping case from one of the big retailers, they will be keyed the same which is nice. I would not tell anyone else about that little secret until you are sure the rest of the locks have been sold.

steering wheel lock
I use a steering wheel lock called the club across the cock pit. They woukd have to damage the cock pit rim to get it off. It would also work across one of the hatches but I think the cock pit makes the thief see that it cannot be paddled without removing. For added peace of mind I have at times locked the kayak with a coated cable under the club and pad locked to the rack. Usally use this when leaving the kayak on my truck over night.