How to Securely Lock Up Your Kayak
Who would steal a kayak? At least not here in BC and for sure, not on Vancouver Island! The sad reality is that kayak theft is no longer a “big, bad city” phenomenon. Kayaks are being stolen all over BC, including Vancouver Island, and not only in larger urban centers like Vancouver, Victoria or Nanaimo. We don’t often hear or read about these thefts, but when they happen to paddlers that are more visible in the sport we begin to take note.
Staff at Ocean River Adventures interact with many kayakers and outdoor enthusiasts daily, and hear first-hand accounts of kayak and kayak gear thefts. Most recently, staff came across a disturbing blog entry in Sea Kayaker Magazine posted for Mark Tozer and Helen Wilson, two prominent Team SK paddlers. The article describes the recent theft of two beautiful Tahe Marine kayaks from the roof racks of their car in Surrey, BC.
Theft usually occurs as a more random theft of opportunity, but there are more planned and orchestrated thefts by experienced and more intelligent groups. Both kinds of thief can be deterred, and even the ‘pros’ will scout for an easier target if good deterrents are in use. So, lets focus on deterring the thefts of opportunity and making it more difficult for the pros to steal your kayaks and gear.
Kayaks and gear are usually stolen from homes, beaches, parks, vehicles and other places where they are left unattended for longer periods of time or for periods of time that follow a pattern set by the owner. Prevention is the best rule of thumb, so avoid leaving your boat and gear unattended in a place where the possibility to lock it up does not exist. If the possibility to lock your boat and gear exists there are a number of locking systems available to make that a fairly simple task.
Lasso Security Cables manufactures a series of locking systems that are very effective in deterring thefts. These cable locks can be used to lock a kayak or other gear to roof racks or other stationary objects. Lasso Cables come in a couple of styles, ones that can be thread through D-rings, around seats etc, and those that have loops at both ends to slide over the ends of the kayak. Make sure you read the instructions to make sure you use them properly so they can’t be slipped off.
Make sure your roof racks are secure. We have seen kayaks locked to roof racks, but the racks themselves had no lock cores to prevent them from being easily removed from the vehicle. The roof racks were removed, boats and all! Quality rack systems like Yakima or Thule have provisions for lock cores.
Yakima also makes a lockable strap system called the Ripcord. It may be used on canoes and kayaks and has excellent reviews. For long one-piece paddles that won’t fit in your vehicle, Thule makes a nifty paddle lock system called the ‘Get A Grip’ paddle lock which securely locks paddles to the roof racks. It also has excellent reviews.
There are companies out there that have identified a real need for such security items and have stepped up to provide quality products that work. It is up to us, the gear users, to take the initiative and use common sense to take the needed steps to protect our investments.
Some additional tips to avoid the disappointment of theft
Never leave gear in your vehicle in plain sight. Cover it up or put it in a trunk. Avoid plastering your vehicle with gear stickers. They look cool, but they alert thieves to the potential for something juicy to steal. Mark your gear with something that is not easy to remove, take digital pictures of serial numbers and create an ID file on your PC, and most importantly, always ask yourself honestly if your gear is ‘safe’ before you leave it unattended!
All of the staff at Ocean River Sports wish you safe and fun-filled adventures and encourage you to ‘Get out There’ and back with all of your belongings intact!