Picture of Anti-theft Kayak Cable

The day I bought my first kayak, I had to make several stops on the way home and I realized there was nothing to stop a miscreant from taking it off the roof of my Explorer. After my first paddle, I immediately set out to make it theft resistant.

Remove these adsRemove these ads by Signing Up

Step 1:

Picture of

I had an idea was that a vinyl clad steel clad cable would be ideal for securing the kayak. This left me with two questions to answer: How do I connect the cable to the kayak, and how to I secure the cable to something?

I looked my kayak over, and then took a look at other models and decided that all kayaks are divided into two groups: those with something permanent to connect the cable to and those without.

My first kayak was a Perception Swifty; the seat was molded out of the same piece of plastic that the hull was. A cable wrapped around the seat support in that type vessel (or through the hull, as would be the case with a sit-on-top) cannot be removed without tearing up the boat or cutting the cable. If you have ever tried it, you know how hard that is.

Step 2:

Picture of

The other kind of kayak or canoe is manufactured with no way to connect the cable permanently. I later purchased a second kayak, an Old Town Loon, and in that vessel the seat mounts to an aluminum rail that is bolted through the plastic hull. Anyone with pliers and a screwdriver can easily unbolt the seat and remove the security cable, so that is not the way we want to approach that situation.

Step 3:

Picture of

Forget cabling the kayak for a moment. What can we connect the cable to that will hold the kayak securely and keep if from being stolen? Very simply, your vehicle. And we will do it by closing the two ends of the cable in one of the vehicle's doors. Provided there is something that keeps the cable from being pulled through the door opening, the only way the thief will get the cable out is to break the glass and unlock the door. A thief is most likely not planning on making a lot of noise or attracting attention, and as an opportunist, may not be equipped with anything to break the glass with.

Let's begin our Instructable and I will tell you why we do what we do as we go.

Step 4:

Picture of

First, buy some vinyl clad aircraft cable. You can get this at your neighborhood hardware store. I would get the 1/8" size; it has a working load of about 340 pounds, so nobody's going to break it. With the vinyl coating, it is about 3/16" in diameter, and will easily close in a car door without hurting anything. You will need about fifteen feet; if you buy more of it, you can get a firsthand illustration of just how hard it is to cut.

Second, get two 3/4" PVC pipe caps and some JB Weld. Drill two holes near the sides of the end of each cap, just slightly bigger than the cable. Take one end of the cable and run in in to the open end of a cap, make a loop, and run it back through the second hole. Adjust the cable end so it is not protruding past the end of the cap. Do the same for the other cap, fill them both with JB Weld and let them cure. What you then have is a piece of cable with a knob on each end that will keep somebody from pulling it through the door opening.

Actually, you are done with the cable part of the Instructable unless you want to dip the ends in Plasti Dip rubber tool handle coating to make it look more professional.

Step 5:

Picture of
Say for the sake of argument that you have a craft like my Swifty. Make it fast to the roof of your vehicle, or throw it in the bed of your pickup, then run one end of the security cable through the seat mount and out. Close both loose ends in the vehicles door and lock it. Your Swifty will be right there when you come back. Couldn't be any simpler.

If you have the other type of kayak, there is a chance you already have a metal security connector on your craft. This may take the shape of a U with both ends connected to the deck, or else a flat plate connected over a depression in the deck. If you don't have one like that, you need to visit your local boating supply store and buy a stainless steel pad eye, a couple of stainless Phillips-head bolts and nylon insert nuts, and a pair of stainless washers. Mount the pad eye on the rear deck near the cockpit, tighten the bolts, and strip the bolt head by drilling it out. ( We don't want somebody with a screwdriver and a pair of pliers removing the nuts.)

Step 6:

Picture of
step 2 (1024x768).jpg
Using the pad eye involves a slight trick, since obviously you won't be able to get the PVC cap through it. All you have to do is make a hairpin in the cable about a foot from the end and pass that through the pad eye. Then, pass the other end through the hairpin, pull it tight, and close it in the door.

Now you can take your kayak on vacation with you, or on a weekend paddle, and worry less about it going home with somebody else.
framakers2 months ago

Warning on your cable-trick: that knot can be untied, even if the end of the cable is firmly attached (e.g. to your car door)!

NB: I appreciate the instructable. I am only posting this, because I would hate for your (or anyone else reading this) canoe being stolen.

DaveB131 year ago
I like it. If I were to do it I would drill two holes in the end of the cap. Run the wire up the inside and back inside to form a loop, maybe strip off the plastic of the portions of wire to be buried in the JB weld. Would look a little more finished and leave a loop to run the entire cable through and have the option of padlocking the end to something. Longer, cheaper, and lighter than what is usualy available for a security cable without the swaging equipment, and good enough to stop casual theft. Personaly I 'd prefer what looks like a security cable to be a giant snare powered by a old garage door spring, but that would be the rural model.
RangerJ (author)  DaveB131 year ago
Or maybe a giant mousetrap...

Thanks for the kind words, and you got the point - enough to stop a casual thief.
Schmidty162 years ago
where did u get ur first kayak at
RangerJ (author)  Schmidty162 years ago
My first kayak was a Perception Swifty 3.1 meter kayak. I bought it from a local outfitter. I liked it, and used to throw it in the pickup and take it all kinds of places, but it was too little for me. My brother said I looked like I was paddling a decoy.
mrbill58343 years ago
This is just what I'm looking for. Thanks for the instructions and clear pictures. What type of JB WELD product did you use?
RangerJ (author)  mrbill58343 years ago
Thanks! I hope it works out for you.

As for the JB weld, it was the regular kind with one tube with black lettering and the other with red.
Thanks for your reply. I'm going to start my kayak theft prevention project this morning.
RangerJ (author)  mrbill58343 years ago
Great! Let me know how it goes...
dr_insane3 years ago
You will need something much stronger than that cable, my friend had his locked up with that stuff, and guess what? It was stolen. You need a motorbike lock/chain, or anyone with a pair of bolt cutters will be able to steal it in a few seconds. But the way you attach it to the kayak is great.
eg_colon733 years ago
I own a 15'sit on top fishing kayak and my friends and I use a Bell Sports KEVLAR Bike Locks. Just past them thru the holes on the yak and lock it to the rack on top of your SUVor the utility holes on the bed of truck.This locks come on different length and they are super strong! Very hard to cup, trust me!! I lost the keys ones and want easy to cut them.
you3 years ago
My version was to use the aircraft cable with 2 loops at the ends. The loops were done with those aluminum crimp pieces from the hardware store - and it was so long ago, I can't remember how I crimped them - probably used a vice grip or 3lb hammer. 2 more loops are put closer to the center of the cable so that when a lock is put through them and onto the rack it snugly pulls the end loops over the far ends of the kayak. Nothing is punctured in the kayak for this method.
schkip19733 years ago
I'm with Ranger J. Where is a person going to fence a 7' surfski with decals, a cable and photos. Or a rotomolded kayak with 'stolen from Ranger J, cell number ..." engraved in it.
For these things its more about making it difficult for a silly person to rip it off your roof and vandalise it or cause themselves an injury than an expert safe cracker pinching your specialised kayak.
"a single tree will never make an orchard"

LeviMc3 years ago
you can't stop a thief all your doin is protecting it from the honest guy
grh3 years ago
A thief will break out your window without a second thought ....very easy with just a sharp pointed attack. Happens all the time in retail parking lots when fools leave valuables visible from outside. Run it through the car doors in a loop or secure the ends to a seatbelt anchor point?? A glass side window of a car as the only thing keeping a creep from making off with your toy. Better rethink it. Hardened steel or insurance.
RangerJ (author)  grh3 years ago
I didn't claim it was theft proof, nothing is. The idea is to make it too difficult, time consuming, or attention getting to bother with, which is the idea behind Crime Prevention. As I said, hopefully the would-be thief may not be equipped with the right tool for the job.

The other side of the coin is make it too difficult or annoying to activate or undo and the owner won't bother with it.

Thanks for the observation.