Before you can start paddling, you'll have to negotiate the trip from the garage to the water's edge safely and securely.
Canoes should be placed upside down. This minimizes the risk of distortion and also stops rainwater from accumulating inside.
Touring kayaks can be positioned right side up to avoid damaging their decks, or you can place them on their sides. We recommend using curved cradles – either inexpensive foam ones or more elaborate models made by roof rack manufacturers – to properly secure and protect your boat. Take extra care with plastic boats to avoid denting them and cover the cockpit if the boat is right side up.
Whitewater kayaks have stronger decks and can be positioned upside down, right side up, or on their sides depending on their shape and the roof rack system you are using. In rainy weather, seal the cockpits of an upright kayak with a cockpit cover. Even a small amount of water in the kayak greatly increases the stress on tie lines and roof racks as you accelerate, brake or turn.
Many jurisdictions require that a red flag is attached to the end of any load that hangs over the back of a vehicle by more than four feet (check your local laws). If you use a flag that is visible from the driver's seat when the car is moving slowly, it will provide a useful guide for backing up the car without tapping objects or buildings with the back of your boat.