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Kayak flags can be a pretty important safety feature when you’re out paddling, especially if you paddle in open water or anywhere where there might be other boat traffic.
But with the different types of flags on the market, as well as the various types of mounts, it can be difficult to know how to choose one or even how to attach it. So that’s why we’ve put together this guide; to give you a little advice on why you might need a flag and the type you might need.
Recommended Flag Poles & Mounts For Kayakers: At A Glance
- YakAttack VISICarbon Pro
- Shoreline Marine Propel Safety Flag With Mount
- YakAttack VISIpole II
- Railblaza Flag Whip
- Aqua Suction Cup Dive Flag Pole
What Is A Kayak Flag, And Why Would I Need One?
A kayak flag can help to keep you safe while you’re on the water by helping to increase your visibility. By having a bright flag, usually orange or red, attached to your vessel it can alert other water users to your presence on the water.
Video: Kayak Fishing Flags For Safety And Identification On The Water
Kayaks tend to be quite small, low profile vessels, compared to motorized vessels. This can be particularly hazardous because it means that other boaters may not see you until they’re right next to you, which can be dangerous, especially if the other vessel is traveling at speed.
Having a flag on your kayak can add a bit of height to your craft and can help you be seen more clearly from a greater distance than if you don’t have a flag.
If you’re fishing or paddling in areas where there might be motorized boats, such as larger rivers, lakes, intracoastal waterways or the ocean, displaying a flag can be a good idea.
A flag can be essential if you’re traveling. If your yak hangs out of the back of your truck or overhangs your vehicle in any way, a flag can alert other road users of its existence and the fact that there is an object that is longer than your vehicle.
This allows other road users to keep a greater distance than normal between your vehicle and theirs. Travel flags are often red in color. You may find that at night you will need a red light as well, if your yak is more than 4 feet beyond your rear bumper.
A diving flag, or diver down flag, can be vital for safety while you’re diving from your vessel. In the United States, a diving flag is recognized as a red flag with a diagonal white stripe across the center.
In international waters, however, the flag is an Alpha flag, which is a blue and white flag. Sometimes it can be a good idea to display both flags if you’re diving in waters off the coast of the USA.
These flags can alert other boaters to your presence under the water and it means that they have to keep at least 100 feet away from your yak or 300 feet in open water. This can allow you to resurface safely and can let other water users know that your craft has not been abandoned and that you are close by.
Video: Dive Flag Public Service Announcements
It’s important to remove the flag once you are back in your yak.
There are various mounts you can use to hold a flag pole on your kayak. You may already have flush mounted rod holders on your yak, and often these can be ideal. You can also craft your own rod holders to attach to a crate, that can then double as a flag pole holder.
Video: Adding Fishing Pole Holders To A Kayak Crate
Gear tracks can also be useful for mounting a flag pole, as well as many other accessories. The gear track can stay mounted to your yak and you can simply remove the flag pole when you’re not needing it.
You may find that with some kayak flag poles, they might come with a mounting point that you can attach to your kayak in order to secure the pole. But some mounts may require drilling, making them more of a permanent feature on your vessel.
In some cases, there might be flag poles that can be attached using suction cups or clamps, which can allow you to easily remove your flag or reposition it elsewhere on your craft.
How Do You Attach A Flag To A Kayak Or Canoe?
You’ll find that many kayak flags will come with flag poles and mounting hardware, so you can attach it to your vessel straight away. However, some may require additional purchases or may require you to have gear tracks installed on your craft.
If you have a gear track already on your yak, you might find there are flags and poles that can be easily mounted directly to the gear track. Others may require to be bolted onto your craft.
If your craft has built-in rod holders, you may find that you can use these as mounting points for a flag pole. However, you might find that the rod holder will be larger than the diameter of your flag pole. But you could use tape to help keep the pole in place.
Recommended Flag Poles & Mounts For Kayakers
- Length: 48 inches (14 inches folded)
- Weight: 14 ounces
The YakAttack VISICarbon Pro is designed for all types of kayakers, from experienced anglers to casual, recreational paddlers. Because it’s designed for all levels of kayaking, it has the added bonus of a built-in white LED light that can boost your visibility at night and in low light conditions.
This lightweight, collapsible pole features carbon fiber tubing and is designed to float, if it ever ends up overboard. The bright orange flag also doubles as a case to store your folded flag pole when not in use.
Another handy feature of this flag pole is that it has SilentSlip foam at the end which is designed to fit straight into most flush mounted rod holders. It can also be easily mounted onto most gear track systems.
- Length: 32.2 inches
- Weight: 12.8 ounces
The Shoreline Marine Propel Safety Flag features a telescopic flag pole that can be extended for when you’re on the water.
The red safety flag is highly visible, allowing you to be seen in the water by fellow paddlers and other water users.
It also comes with a mounting point, which you can attach directly to your kayak using the included screws. But if you prefer not to drill any holes in your vessel, you can also mount it to a gear track system on your craft.
- Length: 4 foot 6 inches
- Weight: 15.2 ounces
The VISIpole II by YakAttack is built to increase your safety while paddling. It features a lightweight fiberglass pole that is 54 inches long, allowing you to be seen from just about every angle when your flag is flying.
As well as the high visibility orange flag, at the top of the pole there is also a bright white LED light that is designed to burn for up to 100 hours on 3 AA batteries. The handy light is built to enhance your visibility on the water and meet regulations that require you to display a white light during hours of darkness or low light.
The base of the flag is built to float, making it more convenient for use on a kayak and it can easily be installed on existing gear track systems on your yak. However, this flag pole cannot be folded for storage.
- Length: 47 inches
- Weight: 5.6 ounces
This Railblaza Flag Whip safety flag is designed to maximize your visibility while on the water. It features a lightweight fiberglass flag pole with a blase mount that is designed to fit all Railblaza mounting bases.
It comes with a bright triangular orange flag to alert other boaters to your presence. While the flag cannot be removed from the pole, it can be rolled up around the pole in order for another flag, such as a dive flag, to be slotted over the top of the pole.
The pole is 47 inches long including the base, which adds to the visibility of the flag. While the pole can be easily removed from your kayak, the pole cannot be folded or shortened when not in use.
- Length: 3 feet
The Aqua Suction Cup Dive Flag Pole can be ideal for attaching to your kayak if you want something affordable and easy to install and remove. The 3 foot long pole features a suction cup mount that can be attached to the deck of your kayak, as long as it’s on a flat surface.
This pole comes on its own, without a flag, meaning you can choose to fly your favorite flag or fly a dive flag if you plan to take to the water while you’re kayaking. But this means you will have to purchase a flag separately.
The suction cup pole means you don’t require any other mounting accessories or gear tracks and it could be ideal for occasional or recreational paddlers who simply want to increase their visibility on the water without spending too much on gear.
The Chequered Flag…(Conclusion)
As you’ll have seen, a kayak safety flag can be a pretty useful accessory to have on your craft. If you fish or paddle in areas where there are other water users, they can help to keep you visible and increase your safety on the water. They can even be useful when you’re transporting your vessel.
We all know how important it is to stay safe when we’re kayaking, so to help out your fellow paddlers, share this with them. And if you have any suggestions of your own, please let us know.