Securing a boat over night is one of the key activities for me after camp is setup and dinner is done. There are many steps, most involved in getting ready for the next day to minimize time between waking and launching. Tasks such as refilling the hydration pack, making sure snacks & sport bars are restocked and any packing that can be done is done (ie stow the dinner bag, fuel bottle, etc.).
Below is a photo with the boat secured for night.
Note hatch covers are closed, paddle secured to the boat along with the spare paddle and a cockpit cover is used. In the cockpit the PFD, sprayskirt, booties, wetsuit and paddling clothes are stored over night.
Why am I concerned about securing gear? Several things, high winds will scatter it possibly causing it to be lost – not all high winds get forecasted. In the middle of the night, if the seas and/or tides come up and you misjudged where the high water mark is, you can quickly move everything. Finally, animals. In the Pukaskwa I encountered Porcupines, famous for eating the latrines for the salt from the urine as well as in the glue in the plywood. They also liked to sample items touched by sweaty hands. One glance with a flashlight will tell you if anything is near your boat. Nancy had one eat her water bottle top and sample her hatch covers. The water bottle top was done for, fortunately the hatch covers only had teeth marks.
Finally, when possible, I like to use my tow rope and secure the boat to a tree. (The above photo was take in Ireland and there wasn’t any trees nearby). Below is a thumb from another trip where you can see the blue tow rope going out of picture to a tree.
Why is that important? Obvious I like to think but here is a photo taken in Haida Gwaii (Queen Charlotte Islands) to make the point.
Yep that’s our boats floating and tied to the dock post. Thing is, we carried them up there at low tide for a LONG way and then ran to the ranger station to get our permit. We misjudged the tide and the time to get the permit. By securing the boats and all the gear, retrieved the boats instead of spending the first morning trying to track down our boats and/or gear.
Still think it is extreme? Here is a photo from Garnish, a small villiage in the west of Ireland.
I encountered some of the strongest winds of the trip here. There is no way I could move that row boat by myself, yet it is tied with two ropes to the sign and the oars are secured inside.
Think winds that strong don’t happen here? Think again, I’ve seen empty kayaks in the wind move several hundred feet along the beach at the symposium in Grand Marais, MI. I’ve heard of a double getting picked up by the wind in Lake Superior Provincial Park and thrown onto it’s paddlers who landed because of the building winds.
Securing the boat right now is a habit, I don’t even think about doing it anymore.