Recommendations for Sea Kayak Safety Knife with Locking Sheath

Appreciate recommendations for a good, reliable fixed-blade sea kayak safety knife with a locking sheath that can mount on your PFD (fixed blade because it avoids having to fish out and open a folding knife, because if and when you need it, I’d it to be readily available).

I know how to maintain equipment, such as cleaning and lightly oiling a knife after use at sea, but anti-corrosive blade material if available is a plus.

I got one from NRS years ago. The knife blade is actually titanium and is probably superior to stainless steel.

Some prefer a surgical scissors if you only have one hand free.

I have one of these McNett blunt-tip knives on the front lash point on my pfd, handle down. Push the release and it drops into your hand. I don’t use it much, and I’ve used the screwdriver tip more often than the blade.

Mine is black, but I like the yellow better, I think. I have a thin lanyard on it, wimpy enough to break if you pulled it hard to avoid entanglement. It’s a little corroded after 10 years, but not bad.

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Something like the McNett. Nice to have for cutting oranges at lunch break too. I use the Kokatat MS Fit PFD and have it tethered in a dedicated pocket under the zipper. Kokatat PFD’s are tested with just the clips, so they should not lose any functionality if you open the zipper.

The Spyderco Salt series have pretty extreme anti-corrosion properties. One YouTuber buried one in the great salt lake for awhile and it was fine.

I stopped carrying a knife on my PFD after seeing more than one pop out of it’s sheath during rescue training, flopping around dangerously on their tethers while the rescue proceeded. Instead, I carry a rescue hook, which is actually better for cutting cord, fishing line, netting and such than a knife. It’s a lot safer, since the blade is not completely exposed and there’s no sharp point. The one I carry is an older version of this one from Benchmade, but there are many different designs on the market:

I do carry a folding knife in a PFD pocket and a Swiss Army knife in a dry bag in my day hatch, as there are times when a knife is needed, as well as the other tools. I just don’t need them to be instantly available.

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Rescue hooks also an excellent idea

I really like Mora fishing knives made in Sweden. They are stainless with plastic handles and sheaths. They are plenty sharp. You can get one with a partially serated blade for cutting lines for around $20. They clip right on your PFD.

I’ve been happy with a Gerber River Shorty. It’s always stayed in it’s sheath, and the sheath is firmly on the PFD.
I think only the blunt tip is available now. On their website for $34.00


I had to replace a knife earlier this year and here’s a quick summary of what I found when looking around: With one exception this list doesn’t include knives that are mostly marketed to divers, but those are worth looking at if you are set on a fixed blade. Also, this is not complete, but just what stuck in my memory.

Low cost: Easily available in any fishing, boating, outdoor store or website. May not lock in sheath well, but you can add a string, bungee, twist-tie, or velco strap to hold it in place. Cheap to replace.

Middle cost:
* Gerber River Shorty and the Crossriver - Salt knives.
* Squeeze Lock sold under various brand names such as Wenoka, Stohlquist, and Deep See. Works well. My better half uses one of these.

Middle upper: NRS pilot, co-pilot, and neko knives. People seem to either love or hate the locking mechanism on the two pilot knives. NRS recommends getting the titanium version for salt water. The stainless steel version is 420 HC so with some care it should last a long time. If you get this one oil or wax it before you expose it to salt water.

High end: Spyderco Salt series, Benchmade H2O dive knife.

Very high end: custom makers. Hmm, do you want a beautiful knife or a new custom-built carbon fiber layup kayak? :slight_smile:

While I was trying to decide, I was given a Spyderco as a gift. Life is good.

I saw the video the BladeHQ made burying the knife in the mud in the the Great Salt Lake. Wonderful marketing but not the best chemistry. If you really want to make steel rust, it needs oxygen, and there is an optimum salt concentration. Too much can reduce the rate of corrosion.

That said, the point that the H1 steel is more corrosion resistant than the other steels show is perfectly valid. Just don’t expect a knife to be spotless if it is frequently exposed to warm, salt spray, especially if the water is somewhat acidic.

Spyderco Enuff Salt. H1 Steel. I’m giving it a seriously high recommendation. This is an incredibly neglected knife. It lives in the pocket of this Kokotat lifejacket. Really. It was given as a gift around 4 years ago. She does not even take it out of the pocket to rinse it. We are salt water paddlers. This thing has been submerged in salt water in the lifejacket and left in the wet salty lifejacket for days at a time. And has stayed in the pocket of this lifejacket, at all times except to use it while kayaking, since it was new. So this is what this knife looks like after years of absolutely no care - pure saltwater abuse.

good to know!

I showed my darling wife the post I made about her knife, and she was embarrassed. So here it is after 5 minutes of Barkeeper’s Friend in the kitchen sink. It cleaned right up - and the edge had no corrosion to start with!! We figured out that this has been in the pocket of this life jacket 4 years this past May. I think that’s pretty amazing! Enuff6|666x500

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