transporting for the first time

I’m going to purchase my first kayak this weekend and I need a little transport advise. I purchased the malone seawing carrier and the store rep told me he has the same carrier and does not tie down the bow and stern even on long trips. Is this advisable or should I go ahead and buy bow and stern straps?

thanks for the help.


Use Ropes For Stern And Bow

– Last Updated: Jun-22-07 5:50 AM EST –

even if you're using a kayak carrier because it's your first time and you may know how tight to strap the kayak on. Better safe than sorry. I remember seeing my kayaks shift around while driving on the highway early on in my paddling because I didn't strap down tight enough. Over time, I knew how tight to strap on and where to locate the straps on the boats. Didn't need to use to bow/stern tie downs for a single carry after that. However, when I carried three or more boats with a stacker, I always use bow/stern tie downs because the boats can shift.


The short answer is yes
A rack or strap can always fail. It may seem like wearing a belt and suspenders, but the consequences are much greater than a belt malfunction - embarasment.

That said, other factors are how far apart are the racks, how long is the boat, how long is the car, road smoothness, and how far and how fast are you going. They were a lot more critical when I carried a 20-foot canoe on a compact car than when I carried a 10-foot kayak on a 12 passenger van, where the lines hit the roof and hood before the bumper. I always have them, but don’t always use them.

ONE THING I’m carefull to do though, is stop a few miles down the road to check and tighten the straps. I use nylon straps and after a short time they stretch due to the stress of holding the boat on. After that I check them periodically [1-2 hours] to make sure everything is ok

I’ll gladly fix you up with one of …
Redmond’s bumper stickers:


I never use them, but then I am condfident in my racks system and camlock buckle straps.



What boat/car?

– Last Updated: Jun-22-07 10:52 AM EST –

I'll probably get lambasted for this, but there is an argument that a poorly done set of bow and stern straps can be more of a risk than a well-done and doubled up set of straps to a carrier. That's because the longer straps can get loose and catch in wheel wells, all that fun stuff. If you haven't transported before and are using a new system, the single best thing you can do is to take your time and make sure the straps over the boat are really solid and decently far apart against the length of the boat.

Also, on stern lines, beware of them hanging out well past the back of the car. We know of at least one instance where a car backed into someone's stern line in a parking lot and it snapped mostly off the rear portion of a rather nice glass sea kayak.

The big thing is to make sure that you are always able to see some evidence of whether the boat is moving. In a long boat on a sedan or wagon this isn't usually an issue because you'll the bow in front of you, but if the boat is shorter or the vehicle different something like a bow or stern line will help termendously with that. We have been known to use bow lines on the WW boats, not because they necessarily need it for security within the moment, but because we need that line to see if anything has let loose. We know of people who use one strap and no visible long lines on their WW boats who have arrived home with no boat on the roof.

(We also use double straps on at least one end of the boats, both for long trips.)

Hey Jack
You probably don’t wear a PFD either!!!

Here we go agoin.
My vote is FOR bow & stern tie-downs.

Just recently a fellow P-Netter lost a Vagabond off the roof due to lack of a bow safety rope. Total loss.

You are about to join one of two camps: Choose wisely Grasshopper!


No straps… just need added weight…
I just place my 17’ boat on my roof rack, and fill it up to the coaming with water from a garden hose.

The added weight keeps it in place, so I don’t even need to strap it down.

Works great!!

But isn’t it a pain to drain the water when you get to the put-in?

use them both…
Dont tie them too tight but just enough so that when kayak shifts a bit you will see one go real tight and one go loose. Then you know its time to stop and re-adjust.

My Opinion…
I paid multiple thousands of dollars for the kayak sitting on top of my vehicle. It cost me about $20, and takes about 30 seconds for me to attach my Yakima ratcheted bow/stern tie-downs ( to my boat for a little added protection. Why would I NOT use them?

No bow or stern tie downs
Never use them. Short trips, I’m confident that my straps are put on correct and tight. Long trips, I always lock the boats down with lasso cable locks. I loop them around the roof rack a few times and then lock.


the above straps
the above Yakima straps can be bought anywhere like Lowes or Homedepot for like $7 each. They won’t say Yakima or Thule on them but they are EXACTLY the same mold and materials as the name brand.

There was an article
I read recently, either online or in a mag, where a guy was transporting a couple of expensive kayaks that were on loan from a manufacturer. The writer was traveling at highway speeds when the rack itself failed (a support cracked, IIRC) and the rack atcually detached from the roof and both yaks, still attached to the rack summersaulted through the air smashing onto the road. Didn’t matter how tight or how many cables were holding it to the rack. That’s why I say it’s worth a few bucks and a few moments of time to protect your investment.

going 2 get bad looks for this one 2:
i have the Malone gullwing-the earlier version of the seawing…

and i very RARELY use bow and stern tie downs…

the reason i got the malones is the material they are made out of…it has give…hit a small bump and the boat rides over the bump like a small wave…

add in bow and stern tie downs and you are trying to fight the bumps…the boat cannot ride out the bumps at all…instead it will be jerking against the tension of the bow and stern lines…

when i use them:

in my ICE & IDW…

if carrying two boats (i only have 1 set up there right now) on the bars i will add a bow line…and toss a leg of the line over to the bow of the boat on the gullwing…

overall love the hullwing/seawing set since it fits ANY boat easily…

Rack Maintenance
Often overlooked - it isn’t a magic bullet and parts can have manufacturing defects, but I have walked by cars with third party racks on them in parking lots and seen towers that looked very worn. The rails tend to last forever, but the upright supports (in all systems) probably should be replaced at some point in their wear. I suppose it’ll be the same consideration for the factory that’s on the newest car itself, where the Yakima towers clamp onto the vehicle’s existing rail (oln our older car they go right into the gutter over the structural member).

Racks and straps can and have broken
use straps front and rear. It is worth the etra two minutes to secure them.

Hard ware stores
i use the same things for rear tie downs. but i got got mine frome true value.(not sure if you have one around you) and they were as good as the yakimas. the price was better going with tru value. i got as extra cam hook. the extra hook goes in the middle of the rope. and ataches to the Kayaks or hook in each side of the bumber.

i didnt use front or rear tie downs in the begging either. but they are a cheap and easy extra safty mesure.

I have to eat my words today
coming back today, on the Ford Escape I had two QCC’s, (one on each side), and a 17 foot Jensen canoe in the center. On top of the Jensen I had a 18’-6" racing canoe.

I ate my words and used front tiedowns.



Nah, there for sissies !