How To lock A Kayak: Keep Safe & Secure At Home Or Traveling

by Jason | Last Updated:   October 8th, 2022
How To lock A Kayak: Keep Safe & Secure At Home Or Traveling

If you’ve recently bought a new kayak, you’ll know firsthand just how expensive they are. 

So, you probably don’t want someone to come and steal it, which is why you need to know how to lock a kayak securely.

And here’s the thing:

If you love your kayak, there’s a good chance a potential thief would love to make some money from your expensive kayak.

So, whether you’re leaving your kayak unattended or storing it in your garden, you need to know how to lock a kayak to keep it safe.

Locking your kayak securely can prevent it from becoming an easy target for thieves. And that’s what we’re going to discuss in this article, so don’t go anywhere:

How To Secure Your Kayak Safely

One thing you have to remember is there are different styles of kayaks, and they require different attention when it comes to securing.

And it’s not just the style of kayaks:

You also need to think about what/where you’re securing your kayak. And that’s what I want to explain in this section:

How To Lock A Sit On Top Kayak To An Anchor Point

How To Lock A Kayak

One of the best ways to lock up your sit-on-top kayak is to use an anchor point. And this could range from a tree, your storage rack, or a fence post.

Whatever anchor point you decide to use, the most important thing to remember is it must be permanent or immovable.

Think about it:

If there are any weak points regarding your anchor point, then a potential thief will be able to work around it to steal your kayak.

The hard part is finding a suitable anchor spot for your kayak. Once you have that, locking your sit-on-top kayak to it is simple.

And here’s why:

Sit-on-top kayaks come with scupper holes that you can feed your cable lock through and on the anchor point.

One of the most critical factors you need to consider is finding a cable long enough to feed through the kayak and the anchor point and then lock the two ends together.

And this isn’t always an easy task:

And that’s because some cables with locking loops aren’t always big enough, especially if you’re trying to lock two kayaks together.

Yes, you can make your own, but this isn’t always advisable because they can easily be breached.

So, ideally, you need to search online for one that’s long enough to handle your need, and later on, I’ll have a few options for you.

Another thing to mention is you can also use this method to lock an inflatable kayak if you’ve pulled up for some lunch.

How To Lock A Sit-Inside Kayak To An Anchor Point

how to lock a kayak

Now then, locking your sit-inside kayak to an anchor point can be more tricky than sit-on-top kayaks.

And that’s because you have no supper hole to feed your cable locks through. As a result, you will have to lock your kayak differently.

And I’m going to try and explain it as best I can right here:

The first thing I should probably mention is that you’re going to need two cables, and we’re going to call them:

  1. Cable A (the longer cable)
  2. Cable B

Cable A will loop around the stern or the kayak’s bow; Cable B will then loop around the opposite side of the kayak.

Due to Cable A being the longer of the two, it will be pulled towards the anchor point and wrapped around the anchor a few times.

You will then pull it towards Cable B, where it can be locked together, which should stop anyone from walking away with it.

The most important thing here is to make sure you don’t leave too much slack. The last thing you want is a thief to be able to pull the loop off one end.

This method is great if you’re trying to lock up a kayak freestanding kayak rack or a tree trunk.

How To Lock Two Sit-On-Top Kayaks Together 

Okay, you know how to lock one sit-on-top kayak to an anchor point, but how do you lock two of them together?

And while locking your kayak to an anchor point is more desirable, it’s not always an option. For that reason, you do have the chance of locking them together. After all, it’s going to be no easy feat to walk away with two kayaks in your hands.

Again, because you have scupper plug holes, you’re going to be able to feed the cable through the scupper holes that can lock the loops together.

And if you have some extra cable, you can feed the cable through two scupper plug holes to make it harder for them.

If you have an anchor point, you could also use a separate lock to connect your locked-together kayaks to your anchor point.

How To Lock Two Sit-Inside Kayaks Together 

Again, this is another tactic you can use if you don’t have an anchor point to connect your sit-inside kayaks to. 

But again, you’re going to find it challenging to find a place to lock them together due to the lack of scupper holes.

And this means you need to find hardpoints on your sit-inside kayak so your cable can feed through.

Luckily for you:

You’ll find that most sit-inside kayaks have small metal loops that are either bolted to the bow, stern, or both.

And these loops can make the perfect location for you to feed your cable through. The one thing you’ll have to look out for here is that your cables are thin enough to fit through the loops.

It’s then a simple case of locking the two kayaks together to prevent them from being stolen.

But what happens if you don’t have any holes in your kayak?

If you’re lucky enough to have rails installed into your kayak, you can actually purchase tie-down eyelets for your kayak.

How To Lock A Kayak To A Roof Rack

The final thing I want to discuss in this section is how to lock your kayak to a roof rack or kayak trailer, which is very important if you’re going to be away from it for a while.

This will give you the freedom to run into the shop and be sure that your kayak will be there waiting for you when you return.

So, how do you lock your kayak to a roof rack?

In all honesty, the easiest way to do this is to buy locking straps. And the best thing about using these is you can use them for tying down your kayak and locking it in place.

And that’s a win-win!

If you don’t want to use locking straps, you can use a cable lock in a similar fashion to when you’re locking your sit-inside kayak to an anchor point. But, you’re going to be using the crossbars of your roof rack as the anchor.

Other Tips To Prevent Your Kayak From Being Stolen 

Best kayak Seat

Due to us talking about securing your kayak and keeping it safe from potential thieves, I wanted to give you a few more tips.

The thing is:

If a thief wants something badly enough, they will take it. And it doesn’t even matter if you locked it up or not.

Luckily, there are a few other things you can do to protect yourself:

Make A Note Of The Hull Identification Number (HIN)

In some places, non-motorized kayaks are exempt from labeling and registration standards. And this means some kayaks need to be registered (how to register your kayak) while others do not because the laws vary from state to state.

But there is some good news:

Any kayak that’s made after 1972 NEED to have a Hull Identification Number or HIN. And if you’re not aware, this is an excellent thing!

The hull identification number is a unique 12-digit code that you’ll find near the stern of your kayak – and it basically serves as the ID for your kayak.

This means:

If your kayak was stolen, you can provide your HIN to the local authorities and have a chance of it being returned to you.

And this is why you must write down the HIN.

And, of course, thieves are masters at removing these numbers. But you can get one step ahead of them with this little trick:

Try and find a hidden spot inside your kayak where you can write the HIN there. If your kayak gets recovered, you have a better chance of getting it back.

Keep Your Kayak Out Of Sight

If there’s one thing we all know about thieves, they love an easy target, and if your kayak is in view, you’re making it an easy target.

Most thieves scout areas for an easy grab, and when they see your kayak sitting there all alone, they think they’ve hit the jackpot. So, they do what thieves do; they steal it!

And you might be able to remove that possibility from ever happening.

All you have to do is keep your kayak out of sight, which shouldn’t be too difficult.

Keeping your kayak out of sight adds a level of protection for your kayak. After all, if they don’t know it’s there, how can they steal it?

You can do this in a few ways, like keeping it in your garage, basement, or shed. But if you have to store it outside, you can also cover it with a tarp so they can’t identify it.

I’ve also written a guide on how to store your kayak outside. In that, I mentioned how to store your kayak under your decking.

Get Your Kayak Insured

Unfortunately, bad things happen in life, and in those times, we can look to things like insurance policies.


If you have homeowners insurance, there’s a good chance your kayak is included in the policy. But, you have to be mindful…

You need to check that your kayak is covered in your current policy before becoming too complacent.

The other thing you need to be aware of is that they only apply to a watercraft up to a specific price, so you need to make sure your kayak doesn’t fall above that bracket.

If your kayak is on the pricey side, you might want to look at specialized kayak insurance to see if they will cover your needs.

Whichever method you go for, having your kayak insured can save a lot of heartbreak if your kayak does get stolen. 

Always Lock Your Kayak Up 

And there’s one more thing I’d like to mention before moving on to the next section. And that’s always to lock up your kayak, no matter what.

By not locking your kayak up, you’re making it easy for thieves to come along and walk away with your kayak.

So, even if you’re popping to the shop for a second, or stopping somewhere for lunch, make sure you lock your kayak up.

It’s a simple thing to do, but it can make all the difference, so make sure you do it!

The 3 Best Kayak Locks You Should Use

I’ve spoken a little bit about how to lock your kayaks and keep them safe when you’re not around. But, it wouldn’t feel right to leave you here without pointing out some of the locks you can use.

If you can recall from the previous section, I’ve mentioned three different styles of lock, and I want to introduce you to them here:

#1 Suspenz Universal Kayak Locking System – Best For Sit-Inside Kayaks

The Suspenz Universal locking system was designed to keep your sit-inside kayak safe. It’s made with stainless steel, so thieves can’t cut it easily.

It was built for kayaks between 9 and 14’, which gives you a little bit of wiggle room. The downside is that it doesn’t come with a lock built into the system.

And this means you’ll have to buy your own padlock to secure the cables in place and prevent them from being stolen.

And finally, it comes with a limited lifetime warranty, so if anything happens to the cable, you know you have some backup.

  • Locks your kayak very securely 
  • You can use it on a roof rack and kayak rack
  • The cables are solid
  • It doesn’t come with a lock
  • The loops are too small for some kayaks

#2 Lovinouse Lockable Tie Down Strap – Best For Locking Kayaks To Roof Racks

The Lovinouse Lockable tie-down straps were designed to lock your kayak to your roof rack and prevent it from getting stolen.

To do this, they designed the nylon straps with three steel cables running through the center. And this prevents anyone from being able to cut through the straps and run away with your kayak.

It also comes with lock clasps at the end of the strap. They come with two keys, making it impossible for people to loosen the straps.

The straps are also 10 ft long, so you should have more than enough to strap your kayaks down comfortably.

  • Cut resistant straps
  • Locks down tight
  • Very long straps
  • Small wire poke out and stab your fingers

#3 DocksLocks Weatherproof Security Cable – Best For Sit-On-Top Kayaks

The DocksLocks weatherproof lock was specially designed to secure sit-on-top kayaks to an anchor point. 

It uses a 4-digit code to unlock the combination lock, which you can choose or change as and when you please.

They are also made with weatherproof materials, so you don’t have to worry about them being outside in the elements.

Overall, it’s a great cable lock that comes in multiple sizes, which means you’ll be able to find one long enough to secure multiple kayaks with one cable.

  • Multiple lengths to choose from
  • Combination cable lock
  • Made with strong materials
  • It’s coiled very tight

Final Thoughts & Takeaways

Well, that’s everything I have for you in this article. And I really hope it has helped you understand how to lock a kayak.

There are different ways to lock your kayak depending on the type of kayak you use, how many you’re locking, and where you’re locking it.

And this also means there are different styles of lock you’re going to have to use, but I’ve given you some pretty good options above.

Finally, don’t forget there’s more to protecting your kayak from thieves than just locking it up. Make sure you:

  • Keep it out of sight
  • Note down the HIN
  • And get it insured

If you’re looking for some more information, why not check out this article on how to store your kayak in a garage?

Frequently Asked Questions

Is It Okay To Store Your Kayaks Outside?

Yes, you can store your kayak outside, but you should only do this if you have no other option. The most important thing to remember is to keep it out of sight and protect it from harmful UV rays to prevent damage.

How Does A Kayak Lock Work?

It really depends on the style of kayak lock you’re using. Each kayak lock performs slightly differently. But the sections above explain how each lock works, so you shouldn’t have any trouble.

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Hey, my name's Jason, and before I was a writer, I worked as an outdoor activity instructor where I took groups kayaking and camping. Now I use my personal experiences to share tips and tricks I've learned over the years. For as long as I can remember, I've been passionate about the outdoors, and now I want to share that passion with my readers.