Keep Kayak Safe

TIPS FOR KEEPING YOUR KAYAK SECURE

I can’t keep away from kayak forums. Whenever I have a spare minute at work and my boss isn’t breathing impatiently down my neck, I find my hands wandering to my mouse and before I know it, kayak related pages fill my browser. If left unchecked it can become a real problem.

But what has struck me recently, is how many of the popular Australian kayaking forums are increasingly becoming filled with stories of stolen kayaks. There is a horrifying number of kayaks stolen across Australia every year. How can we as responsible kayak owners ensure our kayak doesn’t get whisked away by some devious thief in the dead of night.

STORING IT IN A SAFE PLACE AT HOME

Kayak thieves are usually opportunistic. While kayaks can be very valuable, they are not like car thieves which steal cars to order. Most kayak thieves have no idea of the value of the kayak, they merely saw it unlocked and took an opportunity.

Minimise these opportunities by storing your kayak in a safe place at home. Keep your kayak under lock and key if possible. Mine sits in a locked garage, but a basement or locked shed will also do. If space is an issue and you have to keep it outside, keep these golden rules in mind. Keep it out of sight of the road. This will stop any opportunists driving past from noticing your yak. Keep it chained to something fixed like a tree or a pole, and keep it away from the water. Nothing could be easier for a kayak thief than jumping in your yak and making a hasty getaway down a flowing river.

LOCK IT UP DURING TRANSPORTATION

Most kayaks seem to be stolen from cars. I had a mate who had a kayak stolen in downtown Brisbane while he was grabbing a bite to eat. How the thief got away with lugging a kayak around a city centre without invoking suspicion I will never know. Lock your kayak to the rack wherever you are. Even if you think you will only be gone a few minutes.

MAKE A NOTE OF THE HULL ID NUMBER

Your twelve-digit hull identification number is the only way you will be able to identify your kayak if it turns up stolen. Make a note of this number and keep it in a safe place. It is also worth discretely etching this number on another part of the kayak. If the criminals who steal your yak are experienced, they might try to file the hull ID number off the stolen kayak. If you have it discretely etched on another part of the kayak, it might increase the chances of your kayak finding its way back to you.

DON’T HELP THE THIEVES BY BUYING STOLEN KAYAKS

If nobody bought stolen goods, then crime wouldn’t pay and stealing kayaks wouldn’t be profitable. If you suspect a kayak is stolen, don’t buy it! Before you buy, make sure the kayak has a hull identification number, and if the price sounds too good to be true, then the kayak is probably broken or stolen. If anybody does try to sell you a kayak without a hull identification number and it looks like it has been ground off, report it to the authorities and help someone get their pride and joy back.

Removing the opportunities for easy theft and keeping your hull ID number minimise your chances of losing your kayak to thieves. As a community, we need to be aware of theft and play our part in combating it. Let’s tackle this problem together by refusing to buy stolen kayaks.


 

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Jackson Williams
jacksonw@dinga.com.au

Jackson Williams has been fishing around Australia for 20 years and loves his home region of far north Queensland.