Safety Flag

I am looking for a safety flag for my kayaks, but one that you don’t have to drill holes in the kayak.

Prefer something with a suction cup.

Any ideas would be appreciated.


Robert G

Suction cup will not hold. Does your
boat lack carrying handles at the ends?

Let me say that a “safety flag” is not needed on most kayaks and canoes. Only if the hull extends way back beyond the end of the car, might such a flag be required.

You might tie a long rope loop around the cockpit, and then tie your flag to the back end of the loop.

You can pick up some of the
fluorescent orange strap, it’s always visible along side the road. You can double it and loop thru a deck line or stern handle. Check your state to see how many square inches are required. Maybe get artsy rig a Z-drag between boats, origami butterfly anyone?

An added bonus for boats on a roof rack it will hang down so you can tell where the stern is when backing up.



Are you talking about for
Hauling or while on the water?

For hauling, the two kayak dealers in my area both sell safety flags with their logo on them that you loop through the carry handle.

If you mean while on the water go to anyplace that sells go karts and look at what they got.

flag for cartopping or paddling?
If cartopping, see the two posts above.

If for paddling - do you have any existing holes for rudder hardware, lock loops or anything else? Footpeg screws would probably be too far forward for a flag, but you may be able to find or fabricate a bracket that utilizes holes for already existing fittings or hardware.

Related Idea

– Last Updated: Jun-13-14 1:16 PM EST –

I get the impression you are talking about a flag that sticks up high when paddling. In another thread about visibility, I mentioned that I sometimes put a fluorescent yellow construction vest over my PFD when I really need to worry about being seen. That won't be as high as a flag, but I'm sure it will be high enough and I'm sure it will be easier to see. I was thinking about that the other day when I spotted someone doing roadside work about a mile up the road when I was driving. I wasn't even looking that far ahead at that moment but I spotted him instantly. I'd put more faith in a high-visibility vest than a flag.

I wouldn’t trust a vest for a minute
except when the waves are less than three feet high or so.

The OP could be paddling Florida Bay which sometimes does get those sort of rollers…

And forget about paddling in Maine with a vest only though its certainly better than nothing… Ocean rollers are often over three feet tall even with little wind.

The other issue is fog… Nothing you do with your garb or a flag or a reflective paddle works well in a fog.

Just consider your environment and local conditions. A lime green safety vest is going to look here a lot like a lobster buoy, which are regularly run over.

We don’t know anything about the reason for the flag, nor do we know anything about the conditions it’ll be used in. I never get the impression from the south Florida paddling reports that big waves are the usual paddling conditions, but even if the OP is talking about waves high enough to hide him from view, I’d have at least as much faith in seeing momentary glimpses of a high-visibility vest at the tops of waves as longer views of one of those little go-kart flags. I’d have never spotted the roadside worker a mile ahead of me if he’d had a go-kart flag on a pole, but the vest was instantly visible even at such a long distance, even though I wasn’t even looking that far. Up close, the instantly-visible nature of the vest would have been magnified, not lessened, though at a much closer distance, a flag would be visible. And as far as people running over lobster buoys, wouldn’t that be an argument that no method of making yourself seen - flag, vest, bright paddles - is even worth the trouble? While nothing will make you visible to someone who simply isn’t looking, I don’t think that’s a reason to shoot down the whole idea of trying to be seen by those who ARE looking.

I am not shooting down the idea
of trying to make onself visible but pointing out that the solution that one person may have is not what might be best for all. That’s the problem with anectdotes. They have to be put in context.

The main threat here is lobster boats that very seldom can pay attention to kayakers. By law kayakers are obligated to stay away from working motorboats. But often they don’t.

A flag on a six foot pole has much more visibility than a sea level piece of clothing. The latter bobs with the waves. A flag makes a bigger arc.

The other issue with a vest is that in order to be seen it has to be worn on the outside. In case the wearer becomes incapacitated and needs a Hand Of God rescue, that move becomes very more difficult with the vest interfering with grabbing the PFD straps. Same issue happens with raincoats…

Fair enough, but…
… the thing that occurred to me right away, which I didn’t mention before, is that I don’t think a person who’s paddling in such severe conditions would consider putting a tall flag pole on his kayak. How would a person roll with that thing dragging in the water? Stick a fishing pole deep into the water and try to swish it in an arc and see how difficult that is. Just imagine how much greater the resistance would be with one of those flag poles (which are quite a bit thicker), and with the addition of that small flag attached to the end. That’s why my first impression is that he’s not talking about rough water, but like I said before, we really don’t know.

I know this sounds silly but
…I always wondered about carrying a large umbrella on deck. One could open and raise it pretty quickly.

Could make a passable sail too!

This is the one

I bought one last Summer and the Ram suction mount held perfectly but you need a flat surface. For my Swift Saranac I mounted it on my rear hatch cover. For my Easky 15lv I mount it right behind the seat. I also tether the RAM mount to the boat just in case I go over as I did a couple weeks ago. A little pricy but worth the change if you paddle in an area with lots of power boat traffic.