The first thing to say about locking your boats to a vehicle? Just like locking up anything, the effectiveness of your system really depends on the tools and opportunity a highly motivated thief may have. Locks keep honest people honest, and keep lazy thieves from taking things. Just making something harder steal will often be enough to discourage an opportunist. Now with that out of the way….
In general, I never lock up my boats around town, only when on road trips. I always use Yakima racks with locking cores, and then lock the boats to the racks. Below are a few of the methods I use that work and are easy to get in place.
- Two cable loops and a lock.
This is easy enough to make, and there are some commercial versions out there. Take a couple of pieces of coated cable, use the crimps to make a small loop and a large loop on each. The large loops fit over the bow and the stern, and the two lines will reach each other somewhere in between at the small loops and they can be locked together. As long as the cable is run under the racks, the boat can’t be taken without some heavy cutting equipment.
- FCS Bungee Locking Straps
These straps have a metal cable core inside them, and have a locking buckle. Not only a locking buckle, but a combo lock buckle! For the win, for those of us who lose keys occasionally! No other parts to lose either. First time one uses it there is a short learning curve getting it all to come together.
3. Thule Locking Strap
These work just like any cam buckle strap, only the buckle has a sliding cover that locks in place. And, these straps have an embedded steel cable. High quality and easy to use, just have to be careful not to let the sliding part get lost as it does come off, and of course, don’t lose your keys!
A few notes-I typically paddle surfskis and sea kayaks. Locally there hasn’t been a big problem with theft of either. Fishing kayaks, SUPs and surfboards are a different story though. If you have on of those in your rack, you might want to lock it, especially if it’s out in public overnight.
Write down the serial numbers of your craft. Keep them at home and in your phone.
If something gets stolen, the cops will tell you to check pawn shops. Don’t start at the top of the listing in the yellow pages, instead start checking the closest ones to the the site of the theft and work your way out.
Good luck staying safe on the water and keeping your gear safe off the water!