How To Lock Up A Kayak


Kayakers love and treasure their kayaks and with good reason. These wonderful watercraft enable you to enjoy the beauty and wonder of nature while having a workout; they keep you physically fit while embalming your soul and helping you to relax. 

It is no wonder then that the well-being of kayaks is one of all kayakers’ main priorities. A crucial knowledge all kayak owners should possess is how to lock their watercraft. 

Not only does this ensure the kayak’s safety, but it also gives you peace of mind as you are certain your watercraft is safe. All you need to know to successfully lock your kayak is discussed below.

Why Do Kayaks Need To Be Locked?

Kayaks’ safety can quickly become jeopardized if they are not properly secured. Locking your kayak is the best way to keep it safe while you’re out on the water. Here are 5 reasons why you should lock your kayak: 

  • Kayaks are susceptible to theft. If someone can get their hands on your kayak, they can take it wherever they want. There are others who know of the joys of kayaking and won’t think twice about robbing you of your joy to get theirs. They may even sell your watercraft. Locking your kayak will make it more difficult for someone to steal it.
  • Locking your kayak also makes it harder for children to get into it and prevents them from accidentally putting themselves in danger.
  • It is easier to find your kayak if it is locked should it be stolen. If you have to look for a lock or a remnant of a lock, you will be more likely to find it.
  • It is easier to return your kayak for storage in a locked position. If you have to carry your kayak upstairs, downstairs, or through doors, it will be more difficult if you have to take off the seat and paddle support.
  • Locking your kayak will put your mind at ease that your watercraft is as safe as possible. That will allow you to focus on whatever you are currently doing.

Kayakers should always lock their vessels when leaving them unattended in areas where they do not have clear access to storage or a security system. 

Remember that kayaks are typically easy to steal and there’s not much you can do if they’re stolen. Locking your kayak is the best way to protect the kayak and yourself.

How To Lock A Kayak

Locking your kayak is important for safety reasons and all kayakers should know how to lock their vessel. 

To tackle this task several methods of locking a kayak exist some of them peculiar to the type of kayak. How to lock a sit-inside, sit-on-top, and inflatable kayak is explained below.

How To Lock A Sit-Inside Kayak

Sit-inside kayaks can be locked in many ways. A good approach to this task is the drain hole method. 

This method involves installing a drain hole onto the kayak and the method can be used to lock two kayaks together making them safer as it would be quite difficult to steal both vessels together.

Another way to lock sit-inside kayaks is to use a loop-style cable. To effect this cable loop method, you tie a loop around the bow of your kayak and another loop around the stern of your watercraft then connect both loops with a tight locking cable. 

By locking the loops together, makes it impossible for someone to remove the loops at each end of the vessel and make away with your kayak. It is an effective way of ensuring your vessel’s safety.

Depending on the handle type of your kayak, you may be able to use them to run a cable lock on the watercraft. If your kayak is accommodative to this locking method the handles will usually already have holes that you could use to make your task easier.

How To Lock A Sit-On-Top Kayak

Sit-on-top kayaks usually have accessories like scupper holes or drive well(s) to help with locking your kayak. You can typically run a cable through these holes to lock your watercraft.

As seeing is believing, it is sometimes better to see something to be able to do it well. If you don’t want to employ this method, the good news is that any of the methods for locking a sit-inside kayak will help you easily lock your sit-on-top kayak as well.

Locking An Inflatable Kayak

An inflatable kayak is a type of kayak that is made from an inflated plastic or rubber bladder and is filled up with air for use. 

Inflatable kayaks are perfect for those who want to kayak but don’t want to deal with the hassle of packing a regular kayak. 

These vessels are also great for people who live in areas with a lot of water, as they can be easily stored away when not in use. 

Inflatable kayaks are a great option for people who are new to kayaking, as they are easy to learn on and provide a lot of stability. All the benefits of these ingenious watercraft make them coveted prey to those who would steal them. 

Fortunately, inflatable kayaks in their deflated state are very easy to keep safe as all you have to do is store them out of sight. When they are inflated and are not in use though, they can be stolen if care is not taken. 

You can easily lock your inflatable kayak with a cable loop when you are not using it keeping it safe from theft. 

Locking Your Kayak At Home

Though kayaks are bulky and take up a lot of space when stored indoors, a great advantage of this storage method is that it also ensures the kayak’s safety as the kayak is not noticeable unless someone knows you own a kayak and in which room you keep it.

Because of the space factor, however, many kayakers end up storing their vessels outdoors which exposes them to the covetous eyes of those who would like to possess the kayaks. A good way to keep your vessel safe is to erect its shelter as close to home as possible and lock it. 

Keeping the storage location closer to your house makes the vessel more difficult to steal and increases your chances of catching any brazen or adventurous fellow who tries to dispossess you of it. 

To lock the vessel, you can have a bolt loop secured into your wall and make use of a cable loop system to keep the vessel in place and safe. You could also get a kayak rack to store the watercraft and secure the vessel to that rack. 

Do not forget to store your kayak above ground and shield it from the elements if you decide to store it outside.

Locking A Kayak To Your Vehicle

Kayakers move their vessels from one place to the other for several reasons. Whatever your reason for moving your watercraft, chances are you are using a kayak rack attached to the roof of your vehicle or transporting the kayak in the bed of a truck. 

Regardless of your preferred method of transport, it is crucial to lock up the watercraft while in transit to ensure its safety when you are away from your vehicle. 

You can run a cable through the drain plug of your sit-inside kayak to lock it before attaching it to the kayak rack. Similarly, you can run cables through the scupper holes of a sit-on-top kayak and then attach and lock those cables to the kayak rack.

If you own an inflatable kayak, it’s best to not inflate it unless you are about to use it. That way you can be sure it is safe and stored with all your gear.

Locking A Kayak While Camping

Kayakers are many-time adventurers and explorers and love spending time in nature. While on a camping trip though you should still lock your kayak when it’s not in use if you want to see it there after waking up. 

As such locking your kayak to a dock or tree with a cable lock is a good idea. This dock or tree should also be as close to your camp as possible to help you keep an eye on the watercraft.

Thieves can be very brazen so it’s up to you to reduce all chances of your watercraft being their latest loot.

When Should You Lock Your Kayak?

The safety of his vessel is naturally one of all kayakers’ top priorities and as such, they lock their watercraft for safety reasons. But when exactly should you lock your kayak? ALWAYS lock your kayak when you’re not using it. 

This golden rule will spare you headaches and heartache as your vessel will always be safe. Some specific instances when you should lock your vessel are:

  1. When you are transporting it from one place to another, particularly over great distances.
  2. When you are in an area with a lot of people it would be easy to lose track of time.
  3. If you have to leave your kayak for whatever reason to go get something somewhere.
  4. If you find yourself easily distracted in a place. Make sure the watercraft is well secured as you might find it gone if care is not taken. Thieves get bolder every day and will help themselves to your vessel if you give them the chance.

How To Keep People From Stealing Your Kayak

Kayaking is one of the most popular outdoor activities, and for good reason. The experience of being surrounded by water and the natural beauty of kayaking can be enjoyed by just about anyone.

However, this popularity also means that kayaks are vulnerable to theft. Fortunately, there are some things you can do to prevent or at least reduce the chances of your kayak being stolen. They are enumerated below.

  1. Always lock your kayak when it is not in use. No matter how much you love kayaking you can’t kayak 24/7. The moment you take a break is an opportunity for the vessel to be stolen so always make sure it is well-locked before you do anything else.
  2. Keep your watercraft out of sight when it is not in use. It is better to go through the hassle of always properly storing your vessel in an inconspicuous location than to leave it where it will attract unhealthy attention and be taken away from you.
  3. Buy insurance for your kayak. While this won’t prevent the vessel from being stolen, having insurance lays your mind at rest as you know that if the vessel is not recovered, your insurance company can get you another one.
  4. Have a picture of your Hull Identification Number (HIN) and store it in an accessible place. Again this measure can’t protect the kayak from theft but it will help track down your watercraft should it be stolen. Every vessel has a unique hull identification number, so if the watercraft is still in the vicinity, it will be easier to find.
  5. If you are transporting the kayak and have to stop, avoid leaving the vehicle and kayak alone for an extended period of time as thieves could help themselves to both your vehicle and your kayak before your return. Also, make sure the kayak is well fastened to the vehicle and the vehicle has a good security system.

Things To Consider When Buying A Lock For Your Kayak

After deciding to lock your kayak whenever you are not using it for safety reasons, you then have to procure yourself a convenient lock. 

Naturally, several locks exist on the market so you should use some criteria to decide which one is best suited to your kayak. Some things to consider when getting a lock for your kayak are given below.

The Length Of The Lock

Many kayakers favor the cable loop system of locking a kayak. This system involves tying a loop around the bow and another loop around the stern then locking both together. 

As such this locking mechanism demands a cable or cables of considerable length. Depending on your kayak’s size, you will be looking for specific dimensions when purchasing a lock. 

You will have to consider your vessel’s length and depth if a lot of straps are involved, and the diameter of the cable will matter to you if your vessel has scupper holes. 

Some locks are also designed for specific watercraft and won’t work well on others. Do your research on which lock length best fits your vessel then purchase one.

Key Or Combination Lock

Your locking mechanism could make use of a key or a combination lock; the choice is yours. If you opt for a key, you have to be sure you will be with the key at all times and have little to no risk of losing it. 

This is because once your key is lost, accessing your kayak will be especially difficult as you lock it to protect it from thieves in the first place.

The other option is of course a combination lock. This method is generally more convenient as it eliminates the necessity of always carrying a key and being vigilant to not lose it. 

It is however a smart idea to save the combination you used in a secure and easily accessible place like your phone to make sure you can easily access your kayak should you by any chance forget your combination number of choice.

Corrosion Resistance

Durability and resistance to harsh weather are natural criteria a good kayak lock should possess. The lock must be corrosion resistant if you lock your kayak frequently outside, as an easily corroded lock will quickly become useless. 

Many locking cables usually have a coating on them to help prevent corrosion of the cable. The coating also helps in keeping your kayak and vehicle from being scratched which is very important if you are concerned about such things. 

Some locking systems even have a protective coating on the lock itself to help further protect the lock and your watercraft. While corrosion resistance is good, it is good to keep in mind that the more protection a lock has, the more likely it is to be quite expensive.


In all things, how much you are willing to spend goes a long way in determining the quality of the products you can obtain. 

After weighing the durability, resistance, length, and mode of locking of your intended kayak lock, how much you have and how protected you want your vessel to be will ultimately determine the kind of lock you will obtain.

Tips For Locking A Kayak

If you’re kayaking in an area where theft is a concern, locking your kayak when you are not using it is a smart idea. Here are some tips to lock your kayak.

  1. Find a secure place to store your kayak when you’re not using it. A good option is to lock it to a dock or tree using a kayak lock.
  2. Make sure the kayak is properly secured before locking it. Make sure the straps are tight and the kayak is level on all four corners.
  3. Use a cable to attach your kayak to a post or dock.
  4. Lock the front and rear deck hatches with a padlock.
  5. Anchor your kayak to something solid using heavy-duty ropes and knots.
  6. Don’t lock the kayak on top of something. It could fall off and damage your kayak or the object it is on.
  7. Don’t lock it to a tree that has branches that extend over the water. The closeness to the water would make it easy for thieves to sail away with your watercraft.
  8. Put up a “No Trespassing” sign. This won’t help you if you have determined thieves but it would reduce the number of people who move close to your vessel.

The popularity of kayaking has made kayaks a precious resource. Locking a kayak is an important safety measure that can help to prevent theft and protect your investment. 

There are several ways to lock a kayak that vary with the type of kayak or even where you are at the moment and what resources are at your disposal. 

All kayakers must take the time to learn about the different ways of locking their vessels and adopt the method most suited to them to help keep their kayaks safe. 

After deciding on a method, kayakers should carefully do research on which kayak lock meets their kayak’s requirements and is within an affordable range. 

It is often preferable to use a durable and resistant combination lock to lock your kayak but the choice is ultimately yours. 

Kayakers should never forget to lock their watercraft when it is not in use as if they don’t, they might not own a kayak at the end of the ordeal. Always remember to employ safe kayaking practices and have fun on the water.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do sit-inside kayaks have lock holes?

One of the most commonly asked kayaking questions is whether or not sit-inside kayaks have lock holes.

The answer to this question is a little bit more complicated than you might think. Lock holes are a design feature that can be found on both sit-inside and open-bow kayaks.

What this means is that they are not required on every kayak, but they are a plus if you want to keep your kayak secure when you’re not using it. The good news is that even if your kayak does not come with a lock hole, you can always drill one yourself.


How do you secure a cable lock to a kayak?

To secure a cable lock to a kayak, you simply pass the cable through the scupper hole and then wrap it around the dock, tree, or other solid structure you want to secure the vessel to. Sit-on-top and fishing kayaks usually have scupper holes for this very reason.

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