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How to Protect Your Kayak from getting stolen (Guide)

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In the past years one hears more and more reports of kayaks that have “detached” themselves from moorings or have disappeared from yards and car roofs. Even operators of kayak shops have already stolen boats, in some cases even directly from the sales area. This is no wonder. Professional kayaks are expensive and the sport is very popular, so there are always enough buyers for the stolen goods. And who knows, maybe the thieves themselves are enthusiastic kayakers?

It is not so easy to put a stop to the criminals. Kayaks are big and heavy, but not easy to secure. Unfortunately not every theft can be avoided, but this contribution is an attempt to explain more about this important topic and to reduce the theft rate sooner or later. With these five tips you may not stop every crime, but you can reduce the risk of theft or at least spoil the business for the thieves.

1. Note the Hull Identification Number

The 14-digit Hull Identification Number, short HIN, is a number for the unique identification of kayaks. It is similar to the chassis number of passenger cars. The HIN consists of the country code of the country of origin and a 12-digit serial number. The number is usually located in the top right-hand corner of the rear. (However, it is very likely that you won’t find the HIN right away).

The search is worth it anyway. Make a note of the number and keep it in a safe place. In case of theft you can give the serial number to the police. It is important that the HIN is associated with a stolen kayak. If the thief then tries to sell the kayak, there is a chance that the kayak will be exposed as stolen goods. Even if the police manage to arrest the thief or the thief tape, it is practical to have the HIN. In this way you can easily and uncomplicatedly prove that it is really your boat.

2. Scratch the HIN at other places in the kayak

Anyone who steals a kayak and wants to sell it is really smart. Even the thieves know about the HIN and know how easy it is to identify the kayak by this number. They are therefore likely to remove the HIN. But you can be one step ahead of the thieves.

Take some time and simply scratch the serial number into the kayak at another point. Experience has shown that hidden places are the best places to do this. Who would look under the seat, in the traffic jam or on the underside of the kayak?

With two (or more) serial numbers on the boat, the chances are much higher that the kayak can be clearly identified as your property, for example if the police investigate a suspicion.

3. Store the kayak in a safe place

Thieves don’t seek the challenge, but the simplest goal. They want to make easy prey and this is the case if the boat is not connected or is stored directly at the fence of your property. Storage in the basement, in the garage or with the appropriate wall or deck mount in the middle of the living rooms is definitely the safest way.

If you depend on outdoor storage, you should choose at least one place near your apartment or house that is not visible from the road. Use all the safety measures your kayak has to offer. Some models have built-in clamps and clips that can be used to attach the kayak to a post or tree.

The worst place to store a kayak is near water. There the kayak is unprotected and the thief may still use it as an escape vehicle.

4. Always connect the kayak

Dreiste Thiebe does not deter also the daylight. Online you can find reports of kayaks that were stolen directly from the roof of the car at lunchtime. That was not made stupid by the thieves at all. No passer-by would assume that something is not going right when two people are struggling to kick a heavy kayak from the car roof.

Reports like this are an important lesson. Don’t leave the kayak unattended and if you do, don’t leave it without fixing it to the car. With a stable cable lock the kayak can be attached to the roof of the car. It is not possible for thieves to pull the kayak sideways from the car.

5. Do not buy stolen kayaks

Also the business with stolen goods is dependent on supply and demand. The first four tips should make the work of thieves more difficult. Now is the time to take care of the demand side. It is the responsibility of the buyer to recognize the mad signals correctly and not to buy a stolen kayak.

If an offer seems too good, something may be wrong with it. Whoever sells a well preserved kayak well below the market value either knows more about damage to the boat or trades with a stolen model.

A “missing” HIN is the biggest warning signal. Every (fixed) kayak has this serial number. If the number has been milled off or removed with a grinding machine, the chances are high that the kayak is stolen. Do not buy the kayak in this case, but alert the police instead.

Another indication that you are dealing with a fence is that these people never want to meet at home. They will gladly bring you the kayak to watch. This can be a nice act of friendship of a friendly salesman, but who would like to make the effort if the purchase is not even decided. Who gets a suspicion, can also transmit pictures of the advertisement to the police. Maybe the pictures match a kayak that was recently reported stolen.


Kayaks are popular stolen goods because of their price. The ever-growing popularity of the sport makes it easy for thieves to find a buyer for their boats. Many kayak owners also make it far too easy for thieves. Boats that are stored by the water or not connected are simply easy prey for professionals.

In view of the fact that professional kayaks are a considerable investment, theft protection should also be invested. The installation of another HIN is done in a quarter of an hour and a suitable cable lock does not cost the world either.

Hopefully with the tips from this article we have made you a little more aware of the subject. The chance that exactly your kayak will be stolen is not great, but some precautions should nevertheless be taken.

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