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How to Lock Up a Kayak? Important Points for You to Know

Written by J. Harvey / Fact checked by S. Numbers

how to lock up a kayak

A kayak is one of the most expensive investments you’ll ever have. Therefore, you must do your best to keep it secure and prevent theft. But how to lock up a kayak?

Fortunately, locking a kayak is not complicated at all. It can be done with the help of a bicycle cable lock, such as the Titanker Bike Steel Cable with vinyl coating, Master Lock Bike Lock Cable, and Schwinn Anti Theft Bike Lock.

By locking your kayak, you’ll not have to worry when you leave it out of sight for a short time or overnight, even in unfamiliar locations. Usually, you attach your kayak to a tree, storage container, or building. Some people put it on a roof rack or freestanding kayak rack as well. It’s also necessary to lock or keep your kayaking accessories like portable electronics. To know every detail, read the entire article.

Two Ways of Locking Up a Kayak in an Outdoor Setting


The way of securing kayaks differs based on the type of kayak you own. It will be easier to work on an inflatable kayak that’s deflated. To make it simple for you, here are the two ways of locking kayaks: ‘sit on top’ or ‘sit-inside’.

1. Sit on Top Kayaks

The luxury of the built-in locking mechanism of ‘sit on top’ is the scupper holes that allows you to lock your kayak. You can insert a cable into one of the holes before locking. Surprisingly, you can utilize the ‘sit-inside’ method to this mechanism as well.

2. Sit-inside Kayaks

It’s tricky to lock kayaks with this method because of the absence of scupper holes. To lessen the burden, you can install a drain hole. With this, you can also bind two kayaks. The handle can let the kayak cable lock pass through. You may find some extra holes that you can use, too.

However, you should know that the handle is not effective in all cases. Another thing that you can make is a loop-style cable. There should be loops on the bow and stern as they hold on to the anchor point. Put them together with a cable wrapped tightly. This creates a snug fit on the kayak’s front and rear sides. So, no one can loosen it.

It will be helpful if your kayak has metal loops or cleats as these will allow you to use smaller cable locks. You can opt to add a metal eyelet to run a long cable. Lockable straps or braided steel also work with sit-inside kayaks; you can lock them through scupper plug holes. As you can see, there are several ways to run a sit-inside kayak.

Locking Up Two Kayaks

1. Locking Up Sit On Top Kayaks

The anchor point is essential when locking sit on top kayaks. However, there is no standard setup. There are different approaches, but by providing the proper steps, you can lock up several kayaks. Apart from binding them as stationary objects, you make it hard for thieves to take them all at once.

The same basic principle is applied to this. You have to insert the cable into the scupper holes and bring it back to lock the loops on both sides. If you have excess cable and an anchor point is not available, put it through the holes before locking. The result will confuse thieves.

2. Locking Up Sit Inside Kayaks

Without a functional anchor point, you may think that it’s hopeless to secure an object. The solution is to look for the metal loops to let the cable pass through. They t are usually found on the deck at the stern or bow.

When locking up sit inside kayaks, use a thinner cable so it can slide through the opening. If a rail is present in your kayak, you can add tie-down eyelets for flexibility. They slide on the rails for extra anchor points as the cable stretches along. The flexibility permits you to lock two kayaks even if they’re not close.

Different Locations to Lock Up a Kayak


1. At Home

It’s not a problem if you don’t have a shed or garage. You can choose any of the two methods to lock up a kayak outside. But be wary of exposing your kayak to direct UV rays when you have to store it outdoors.

You can provide extra protection with a kayak tarp or cover. It will shield your kayak from outdoor elements. However, make sure that you can still easily see your kayak when it is attached to a solid object, fence post, tree, or other permanent structure. It’s best to place it as close as possible to your exterior walls.

2. Trailer or Car

You’ll need to lock your kayak to a roof rack, trailer, or truck bed in some instances, like when you need to take a break from driving, eat, or stay in a place overnight. A sit-on-top kayak mechanism is ideal to attach a kayak to a a kayak trailer and car rack or roof rack. If you want or it’s necessary to have an additional cable, you can do it by installing a drain plug first.

A loop-style cable is suitable for this, and you need to place it at both ends of your kayak. Pull them to tighten so you can lock them together after placing the cable underneath.

3. Camping

Before you proceed to the campsite, you may attach your kayak to a roof rack or trailer for a theft-proof set-up. You can leave your kayak unattended by using scupper plug holes and a suspension system.

There are several options so you can experiment to find which works best for you and secure kayaks from theft on any camping trip.

How to Lock Inflatable Kayaks

Many people are attracted to inflatable kayaks because they have straightforward locking systems. You need to deflate the kayak before you store it away in a locked garage, shed, or inside a car and apartment.

If you want to lock it, we recommend the sit-inside method. Place one loop through to the other. Then, cut all the cable locks to tie and secure. You may also use the reliable handles of the inflatable kayak. Nonetheless, it’s best to deflate and store it in a secure area rather than going for a kayak locking system.

How to Lock a Kayak to a Roof Rack of the Car (For Those Always on the Go)

When you’re always on the go, locking a kayak rack is your ideal routine. You’ll find it convenient and comfortable to have a morning paddle when you have a locked kayak rack with reliable locking straps.

If you don’t like having a rack, you can get a cable lock for a solid lock system that is appropriate for both sit-in kayaks and sit-on-top kayaks. The set-up is similar to the cable underneath roof rack bars.

Choose a quality cable lock for locking kayak to a roof rack. Your kayak is secured through a key lock or combination lock. Thus, don’t forget the number combination. This kayak lock system is akin to what is used on bikes, and is what you need on camping trips.

More Tips in Locking Up a Kayak

Let’s be realistic about the security of your kayak. Despite your effort of locking up a kayak properly, a dedicated thief will do everything to get what he or she wants. Here are a few tips you should consider following.

1. Homeowner’s Policy and Kayak Insurance

The coverage of a valid homeowner’s insurance policy may include kayaks and accessories. Otherwise, it’s advisable to get a boat owner’s insurance and make sure you understand the policy. However, this insurance may only cover vessels that are in a certain price range and a kayak placed outdoors may not be covered. So, you should consider getting an upgraded insurance.

Another option is the watercraft insurance policy. It provides extra assurance if something goes wrong. The policy may also cover accessories on a fishing kayak like fishing rods, fishfinders, and more.

2. Hull Identification Number

Some areas do not require owners of non-motorized kayaks to register or comply with labeling standards and federal requirements. However, state laws and regulations differ from one to another so you have to be aware of them for compliance.

Kayaks created after 1972 have HIN or Hull Identification Number, which consists of 12 numbers. The digits serve as your kayak’s ID and are engraved around the stern. These numbers can uniquely identify your kayak. So, tracking down is easy if kayak theft occurs. You should memorize or keep a copy of these numbers.

Thieves look forward to the possible scenarios when taking their targets. Apart from taking bolt cutters to cut attachment, they may remove the HIN on your kayak. You have all the means to outsmart them by marking the HIN in inconspicuous sections like the storage hatch, under the seat, or below the deck.

Last Words to Ponder Upon

Technical steps on how to lock up a kayak are not the only things that you have to learn. You need to give importance to the hull identification number if your kayak has it. In case theft is inevitable, you can avail yourself of insurancs that can take care of your kayak’s worth and its accessories.

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