Tie Down Placement

I’m struggling with the placement of the tie downs for my canoe. I know this isn’t rocket science but it seems to me that there are better places than others for this. Suggestions??

Some advice

– Last Updated: Apr-24-07 11:56 PM EST –

It's hard to know what you are asking. I seem to remember that these two articles covered a lot of the basics:


In general, you want a loop of rope or webbing over the hull at the points where the hull sits on the rack. These hold it down. Some sort of blocking against the gunwales to keep the boat from sliding back and forth are nice (I use a separate set of ropes for that purpose). Bow and stern tie-downs also help control side-to-side movement (if you use two in an inverted 'V' setup), and they also keep your boat on the roof should something catastrophic happen, like the rack rips loose from the roof in a terrible wind gust or something (never heard of it happening, but better safe than sorry). I usually install one or two additional lines from the rear of the car to one of the middle thwarts to prevent the boat from sliding forward in extreme braking or collision (the end tie-downs won't help you there; you need ropes that will actually get tighter if the boat tries to move forward even a small amount). I prefer using ropes for everything, rather than webbing. I can tie good knots a lot faster than messing around with buckles. If you can't tie knots or don't want to learn, go with webbing.

If you are wondering how to anchor tie-downs to your car, ask. Modern cars are miserable contraptions for those of us who use them for practical stuff like hauling boats, but there are a few tricks. People here will tell you some if that's what you need to know.

Others may have more advice, but if any of these comments spark questions, you can ask again and people will know what to say.


Placid BoatWorks




If you have a Yakama, Thule or equal
rack system that is installed properly then all you need is a set of gunnel brackets, and two double looped camlock type buckle straps over the upside down canoe.

If you have foam blocks or some other cheap set up, put a bunch on the front a bunch on the back, and a bunch all over the place cause your canoe will move.



Yup. Placid BW’s

– Last Updated: Apr-25-07 11:35 AM EST –

photos are wat you might consider doing. But bow an' stern tiedowns are prudent as backups in the event of rack failure (sure, it's not common but can an' does happen to the best of racks an' installations on occasion. Ah's seen it happen quite a few times.) A few extra minutes to put these on can save de life of someone behind you an' maybe a new boat).


make sure
that you put the ropes, straps, over the same area of the boat as it is supported on the bottom. ie, if the boat is resting on a crossbar, put the strap over that spot, not a couple of feet away. Could cause a lot of stress on the hull and even warp it.

I second the bow and stern tiedowns. They don’t have to be very tight. Just snug, again as not to warp the hull. If a main tie down lets go, then the bow and stern ropes will keep the boat from going through someones windshield. This will create an unbelieveable amount of paper work at the very least.

gunwale brackets
are a great help in stopping your boat from sliding backward or forward. Also I find them helpful in loading the boat the same way every time. There is no more fidgeting to center it.

However, rack systems do fail and its wise to tie something to the frame of the car. I tie a tag line from the boat right down to loops installed under the hood and same in the back, straight down. The parallelogram shape of normal tag lines wont stop your boat from sliding forward.