Many people transport their canoes by van, but danger lurks for paddlers who don't know the proper way to secure their canoes to the roofs of their vans. Even when their canoes are secure, driving with such an unwieldy object on top of a van is a challenge, at best.
Install a rack for your canoe and secure it to the roof of your van. If your trips to the water are infrequent, an inexpensive roof rack that's made of plastic foam is the right one for you. It will protect the finish on your roof and it is relatively secure in that the edges of the canoe, or gunwales, are snapped onto the rack. Many boaters purchase such a device because it is easy to take off of their vans. You can also use a permanent rack. While you'll spend more money, it is far more secure and the canoe won't shift as much as it may on a rack made of plastic. What's more, it will keep your canoe from harming your roof because it is above it. The rack is secured by bolts or clamps and there are horizontal bars that are above the roof by a couple of inches.
Pick up the canoe, with the aid of another person, and turn it upside down so that the edges of the boat are facing down. Place the canoe on the roof of your van and center it both horizontally and vertically before you strap it down. To take the canoe off your van's roof, simply reverse this process.
Tie your canoe down with either ropes or straps. If you use rope, make sure that it is not new, as new ropes tend to stretch. Place a minimum of two ropes horizontally and in the middle of your canoe, then secure them tightly. At each end of your canoe, place a rope or strap through the opening of the boat, both fore and aft, and tie them tightly to your bumper. Pull each as tight as possible without cracking the fiberglass or plastic hull of your canoe.
- Photo Credit canoe image by Goran Bogicevic from Fotolia.com
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