I had spent about two days getting my personal fishing kayaks ready for a demo at a Flyfishing event. Everything from anchor shuttles to sponsor stickers, everything was just right. Loaded them onto the roof of my Avalanche, strapped em down and went in for the night. I assumed that because my vehicle was just feet from my window, and the area was well lit, I would not need to use my cable locks. So I went in to go to bed. The next morning went normal as well with the exception of my brand new Native Manta Ray 14 missing from my truck. All that was left was the two tie-down straps with perfect cuts. I was devastated, but instead of getting mad I called the police and filed the report, I included a very detailed description of the kayak, and it’s hull ID number. They send out an officer very quickly, he filed the report and wished me good luck. I am pretty sure I will never see this kayak again, but if I do I have more than enough info to have it returned. Hard to believe that a $4 cable lock would have saved me a $1100 kayak. I assure you I have learned my lesson and I will never make it this easy for t thief to take my kayak ever again. Here is what I do and I suggest you do the same thing.
( first article photo: In a blink of an eye you can go from that, to the photo to the right: taking the right precautions can make it hard for thief to take your kayak.)
1.) Record the Hull ID number and store it away, most kayak manufacturers actually send a “statement of origin” with every new kayak, hand on to this. I also take a picture of the kayak and its id number with my phone, and email it to myself. My android automatically date stamps the pictures, as does an email.
2.) Mark the kayak in an inconspicuous place, like inside the hatch, under the seat, etc. I now engrave my phone number in side all my kayaks, in a secret place.
3.) Inside the kayak, with an indelible marker write you name and phone number. Do this where it can be seen, if you kayak is found, you can be contacted.
4.) Purchase a cable lock that will secure the type of kayak you are paddling. Cheap cable bike locks will work, but get the best you can afford, the Master Python locks are very versatile, and bulletproof. They will work on just about any kayak. I like the fact that the cable will go through the scupper holes on just about every Sit On Top kayak. Make sure to secure the cable to a strong connection point on your vehicle. If you use racks make sure they are locked to the vehicle and cannot be removed. Some thieves simple take the racks with the kayaks. There are kayak specific locks out there and your local outfitter can fit you with the right locks for you kayak.
5.) Lastly, don’t freak out if you kayak is stolen, it is beyond your control, stay calm and call the Police. Check with the local pawn shops, outfitters, and Craigs List. If you find your kayak do not confront the thief. If its on a vehicle, write down their license plate, or take a picture with your phone, then call the Police. Also if it shows up online, or in a classifieds, let the Police know. Don’t alert the thieves they that you know. Let the detectives get it back for you. If you have the above mentioned info, it will be very simple to prove it is yours.
(above photoThis is the exact kayak that was stolen, good thing about the camo kayaks is every pattern comes out different, almost like a fingerprint. Take pictures!)
I hope that my kayak will someday show up, but I feel that if it does, it will be in the hands of an unsuspecting purchaser. I hope you follow my lead and take precautions to prevent theft of your kayak. Ill leave you with the saying “Keep the honest folk honest”.
See you on the water.
Cory Routh is an outdoor writer, author, photographer and kayak fishing guide. His most recent book is Kayak Fishing; The Complete Guide which covers all the details of kayak fishing. It's a must read for beginning and expert kayak fishing enthusiasts. You can purchase the book below