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How To Lock A Kayak – Guide To Keeping Your Kayak Safe At Home Or When Traveling

Mark Armstrong
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Love your new kayak?

So might a passing thief!

Don’t leave your investment to chance. Whether you’re journeying afar or just parking it at home, we have the secrets to help make sure it remains undisturbed.

Join us in mastering kayak security!

Key Takeaways On Locking Kayaks

Here are the main points from the article on how to lock a kayak:

  • Indoor Storage: Store your kayak inside a locked shed, garage, or home. If outside, keep it close to your house.
  • Cable Lock: Use a cable lock to secure the kayak onto your roof rack.
  • Drilling: For sit-inside kayaks, you may need to drill a hole into your kayak for the lock.
  • Camping Security: Find alternative ways to secure your kayak during camping trips.
  • Element Protection: Use a tarp or cover to protect the kayak from the elements if stored outside.

How To Safely Lock Up Your Kayak

Locking Up A Kayak At Home

One of the best ways to keep your kayak safe and secure is to make sure it is kept inside in a locked shed, garage or your home. This can mean it’s out of sight of any would-be thieves. But as we know, this is not always an option.

If you have to lock your kayak outside you should make sure it is close to your house as possible. You may even want to install a wall rack to one of the exterior walls of your home, as this can help keep your vessel off the ground.

In order to lock it, you would need to find something permanent to loop a cable through. A bolt loop or eye bolt secured into your wall might work. Alternatively you could build your own outdoor wooden rack which could give you a more secure place to loop a lock cable through.

Video: How To Build A Kayak Rack

Remember, if your yak is being stored outside you might want to consider a tarp or cover to keep it protected from the elements.

Locking Kayaks When On The Road

When you’re taking your kayak on the road, it may mean you’re having to leave it in locations that you’re not used to. When you’re going camping or on an overnight trip, locking up your kayak can be even more important.

A cable lock can be ideal for locking your kayak and securing it onto your roof rack. With sit-on-tops you will probably have scupper holes where you can thread the cable, allowing you to then secure it to your roof rack.

> How to transporting without a roof rack

With a sit-inside you may need to drill a hole into your kayak. However, in order for your kayak to remain watertight, you may want to think about the best location on your vessel for this. If there’s a storage deck or cup holder within your cockpit, this could be a good place to drill a hole, as long as it doesn’t go through the hull.

You can also use the same method to secure it to a truck or trailer, using the tie down points located inside the truck bed or trailer.

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Kayak Camping

During camping trips, you may not always have your vehicle with you, so securing your vessel to your car might not be an option. But the last thing you want is for you to wake up to find your mode of transportation is no longer where you left it.

Similarly, though, you can use the same methods as you would for securing your craft to your roof rack, using a cable lock. But instead of a roof rack you will need to find a permanent structure near your campsite.

Well, Here’s One Way To Lock A Kayak!

This can be a tree or a dock or any other permanent structure that you can find close to your campsite. It can also be a good idea to lock it up as close as possible to where you’ll be camping and not down by the water on its own.

What Else Can I Do To Prevent My Kayak Or Canoe From Being Stolen?

Keep It Out Of Sight

Some thieves are opportunistic and if they see your kayak out there by itself it could give them the idea to take it. So it’s important not to provide them with any opportunities. If they can see that your vessel is locked, they might not attempt to take it, as it could take too much time and they risk being caught red-handed.

It can be best to keep your vessel hidden from view and inside a garage or shed but if you can’t do this, keeping it covered with a tarp can mean it’s not as identifiable.

Make A Note Of Your Hull Identification Number (HIN)

Just in case your kayak does get stolen, it can be a good idea to keep a record of its Hull Identification Number. You’ll usually find it somewhere near the stern of your vessel, even though it might be tricky to find.

This means you should be able to give the information to the authorities, which can make it easier for them to identify it if a stolen one turns up.

However, some thieves may attempt to get rid of the HIN for this reason, so consider adding the number elsewhere on the craft, where thieves may not look.

Always Lock It Up

No matter where you’re going with your yak, make sure you lock it up when you leave it. Even if you’re just paddling up to what seems like a secluded rest stop for a picnic. If you lock it to a tree or dock or post, at least you know it should still be there after you’ve enjoyed your lunch.

It can be a good idea to make sure your yak is always locked while on the roof of your vehicle, in the back of your truck or in your trailer. Even if you’re just stopping for gas. If you remember to lock it securely before you set off on your journey, it will save time while you’re on the road.

Get It Insured

Having insurance for your kayak can be the little bit of reassurance that you need if you’ve spent a significant amount of money on your craft.

Sometimes home insurance policies can cover kayaks and canoes, so it might be worth checking your policy details before you buy specific cover.

What To Look Out For When Buying A Lock For Your Kayak

Key Or Combination Lock

An important thing to consider when choosing a lock for your kayak is the type of locking mechanism it has. This will often be down to personal preference. Key locks will obviously require you to remember to carry the key with you at all times.

A combination lock can be more convenient as you don’t have to worry about losing a key. It can be helpful to keep a note of your combination number somewhere safe, for example, on your phone, just in case you forget it.


The length of the locking system can be an important feature to look at, as you will need to make sure it will fit around or through your kayak. Many locking cables or straps have their lengths listed, rather than the width or length of boat they’ll fit.

Remember if the straps will be going around your kayak, you’ll probably want to take into account the depth of your hull and not just double the width of your yak. This may be more of an issue if you have a wider fishing kayak.

If the cable will be going through scupper holes on your boat, remember to check the diameter of the cable and the diameter of your scupper holes, as well as the cable length.

You may also find locks that are designed for longer touring kayaks and these may not be suitable for shorter recreational boats. However, some cables may be capable of being wound multiple times around a rack or post but this might not be practical in all situations.

Corrosion Resistance

Corrosion resistance can be important if you plan to lock up your kayak outdoors. This can help to protect the locking mechanism, as well as protect your kayak from rusting metal cables.

Many locking cables will generally have a coating that helps to stop corrosion on the cable. The coating can also help to prevent your boat or vehicle from being scratched. Some will also have a coating on the lock itself, which can be useful as it can help to keep the lock in working order and can be beneficial in coastal environments.

9 Best Kayak Locks

1: Seattle Sports Cradle Cable Lock For Kayaks (best overall)

Seattle Sports Cradle Cable LockPin

The Seattle Sports Cradle Cable Lock is designed for kayaks, canoes and paddle boards up to 18 feet long. It can be used to secure your vessel to any stationary object, including car roof rack, kayak storage racks and docks.

The vinyl coated galvanized steel cable is ¼ inch in diameter and 20 feet long. It features a locking system that clicks into place onto the cable, which can then be locked using the included key.


  • Versatile – can be used to secure a wide range of vessels to different stationary objects
  • Adjustable lock system – lets you control the length of the cable before attaching the lock body to the cable
  • Durable vinyl coating – protects against corrosion and helps to prevent scratches to your boat or car

This cradle cable lock can be ideal for both longer touring kayaks and wider recreational or fishing kayaks due to the adjustable design that can let you choose where to set the lock.

2: Lasso The Original Kayak Cable Lock (best for touring kayaks)

Lasso The Original Kayak Cable LockPin

This Original Lasso Kayak Lock is designed specifically for sea kayaks and sit-inside touring kayaks. It features two cables, each with a looped end – one for the bow and one for the stern.

The galvanized steel vinyl coated cables can be looped around your roof rack or storage rack before being joined together and locked using the four digit combination lock. The overall length of the cable is 16 feet.


  • Galvanized steel construction – protection against being cut through
  • Vinyl coating – helps to protect your vessel from scratches
  • Combination lock – can easily be set without requiring a key

This is built for long, narrow touring kayaks and is not designed to fit shorter or wider recreational vessels.

3: Kanulock Lockable Stainless Steel Tie Down Straps (best for roof racks)

This Kanulock stainless steel lock can be ideal for securing your kayak to a roof rack. It features two tie down straps that are reinforced with stainless steel for added security, designed to be cut resistant from a knife.

This means you can use the locking straps in the same way you would with regular tie down straps, but these ones can be locked with a key. Two keys are included.


  • Dual purpose design – these are reinforced tie down straps that lock
  • Various sizes available – to lock different sizes of kayaks
  • Flexible straps for tightening – ideal for securing to roof rack

The Kanulock straps can be great if you’re looking for a secure way to tie down your boat on your vehicle for traveling. The straps can be easily adjusted to suit different widths of kayaks.

4: Lasso Tandem/Sit-On-Top Kayak Security Cable (best for sit-on-tops)

Lasso Tandem/Sit-On-Top Kayak Security CablePin

This Lasso Kayak Security Cable is designed for sit-on-top recreational kayaks, as it has wider loops than the original Lasso cable to accommodate a wider vessel. The loops at either end are 55 inches long and there is 16 feet of ¼ inch galvanized steel cable with a protective vinyl coating.

This lock can be used to secure your boat to your roof rack or any other stationary object. It features a combination lock with four digit code.


  • Built for sit-on-tops – wider loops allow for a better fit on recreational yaks
  • Attaches to both sides of your boat – this can be more suitable for securing to a roof rack
  • Combination lock – easy to set and reset without a key

This locking system is built for sit-on-top kayaks, tandems and paddle boards. It’s designed to loop around both ends of your vessel and is not designed to fit through scupper holes.

5: Master Lock Two 6FT Keyed Alike Adjustable Cable Locks

These Master Lock Adjustable Cable Locks can be useful because they are designed to be keyed alike. This means you can unlock them using just one key, which can be more convenient.

The cables are made from braided steel with a vinyl coating. They are both 6 foot long and ⅜ inches in diameter, making them small enough to fit through scupper holes.


  • Two lockable cables – ideal for securing both ends of your kayak to stationary objects
  • Small diameter – can fit through scupper holes easily
  • Keyed alike – one key can unlock both cables

These cable locks can be great for securing recreational and fishing kayaks to storage racks, docks or roof racks.

6: Thule Lockable Straps

Thule Lockable StrapsPin

These Thule Lockable Straps are similar to the Kanulock straps in that they can be used to tie down items to your roof rack and can be locked.

The two 13 foot straps feature steel cables wrapped within a nylon sleeve. Each strap has a rubber lock cylinder to help prevent damage to your boat or vehicle. This locking system can be used on different sized kayaks, with the straps being easily adjustable for various widths.


  • Tie down straps – ideal for tying down your vessel and locking it to a roof rack
  • Corrosion resistant buckle – ideal for outdoors
  • Easily adjustable – can secure around kayaks of different widths

A Thule Lockable strap is designed to be used as tie down straps with the added advantage of being lockable to prevent theft. They can be ideal for securing your yak on a roof rack, truck bed or trailer.

7: Suspenz Universal Canoe Locking System (best for versatility)

Suspenz Universal Canoe Locking SystemPin

This Suspenz Locking System is designed specifically for locking kayaks and canoes. It consists of two cables with looped ends that slide onto the front and back of your boat and can be linked together and locked around a stationary object.

It is designed for vessels up to 17 feet long, with each loop having a diameter of 16 inches. The length from the loop of the long cable to the locking cable loop is 14 feet.


  • Two locking cables – this allows you to loop one around each end of your yak
  • Built for kayaks – this can allow for a better fit around your boat
  • Padlock not included – you will need to purchase a padlock separately

This locking system can be ideal if you’re looking for versatility. It can secure your yak to a storage rack or dock, as well as the roof of your car. However, it’s designed to lock – it is not a substitute for tie-down straps.

8: Lasso Kong Cable Kayak Lock

Lasso Kong Cable Kayak LockPin

The Lasso Kong Cable Lock is similar to the Lasso tandem lock but it benefits from having a thicker galvanized steel cable, which is ½ an inch thick.

The two cables feature looped ends that are 55 inches long, making this ideal for recreational kayaks. The locking system features a combination lock, as well as a key. It is designed to work on both sit-on-top and sit-inside vessels, including tandem yaks and stand up paddle boards.


  • Combination lock and key lock – you can use the key if you forget the combination or use the combination if you lose your key
  • Durable steel – ½ inch thick coated steel cable for added security
  • Ideal for roof racks – secures both sides of your boat to one stationary point

This can be an ideal lock for added security on a roof rack, as it can secure both ends of your vessel. It is not designed to work with extra wide fishing kayaks or Hobie vessels because of the size of the looped ends.

9: DocksLocks Anti-Theft Weatherproof Coiled Security Cable (best budget)

DocksLocks Anti-Theft Weatherproof Coiled Security CablePin

The DocksLocks Weatherproof Coiled Security Cable is a durable coiled cable made from braided stainless steel and covered in a vinyl coating, making it ideal for locking your boat to outdoor storage racks.

It features a combination lock for easy use and benefits from having the male end the same width as the rest of the cable, so you can easily thread it through smaller gaps, including scupper holes.


  • 10 foot coiled cable – coil design helps prevent excess cable dragging
  • Easily threaded – can be threaded through scupper holes
  • Ideal for storage racks – secures one point of your kayak to one stationary object such as a fence post or dock

This coiled cable lock can be good for securing kayaks outdoors using the scupper holes. It can also be used to secure bikes and other items.

Final Thoughts On Kayak Locks

Whether you’re at home, on the road or off on a multi-day paddling adventure, knowing how to lock your kayak can be important if you want to keep your vessel safe.

And now that you know how easy it can be, you should also remember to keep your kayak locked at all times when you’re not using it. If you think your fellow paddlers could benefit from this guide, share it with them. And remember to leave us a comment if you have any tips or suggestions.

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