There are a lot of opinions out there on how to tie down a boat. While I will admit that many of these ways may be perfectly fine, I have been using the same method my entire rowing career to the tune of 200,000+ trailer and cartopping miles with 100% success in never losing a boat. Below is the step by step process on the method I use. Many thanks go to Coach Brad Holdren for teaching me this method a long time ago. (*Please note that Revolution Rowing is not accountable for any damage caused by improper trailering or cartopping techniques. These instructions are intended to help educate those new to the process, but you should always adapt these instructions to your particular situation.) If you have any questions, feel free to contact Revolution Rowing for more details.
Strapping Down a Boat
Step 1: Loop your boat strap around both sides of the trailer/rack arm so that the strap is doubled over the hull of the boat. Make sure that the strap rests flat on the underside of the trailer/rack arm and the hull of the boat with no twists. A good check for this is to make sure the writing is facing towards you (not the boat) on both sides.
Step 2: Pull the strap tight so that the buckle rests on the bottom of the trailer/rack arm. To get to this point, start with the buckle on the bottom corner of the trailer/rack arm that is closest to the clasp of the buckle (as opposed to the strap side) with the strap somewhat snug. Tighten the strap by pulling the buckle around the bottom corner of the trailer/rack arm and on to the bottom of the trailer/rack arm.
The buckle should be snug against the bottom of the trailer/rack arm. The buckle is placed at the bottom of the trailer rung so that it does not make contact with the delicate painted surface of the boat. The boat should be tight enough at this point, that you can grab it and not be able to shake it free.
Step 3: Take the loose end of the strap in your hand, leading away from the buckle. Pass the loose end of the strap around the back side of the tightened strap that is looped around the hull of the boat. It is best to start from whichever side is on the clasp side of the buckle so that after you feed the strap end between both tightened and the boat it will be pointing away from the clasp.
Step 4: Repeat step number three so that you make a loop with the loose end of the strap.
Step 5: Take the end of the strap and pass it down through the newly created loop. It is best if you angle the loose end to the outside of the trailer/rack arm of the clasp edge of the buckle.
Step 6: Making sure that you have the entire excess strap pulled away from the buckle, pull the loose end of the strap through the loop and pull tight. The two sides of the strap against the hull will cinch together.
Step 7: Take the remaining loose strap and wrap it around the trailer/rack arm in front of the buckle on the trailer/rack arm, or beneath the boat. It is very important that you do not wrap the excess around the buckle, as under extreme conditions it could loosen the buckle. Use electrical tape to secure the loose end of the strap.
Untie Straps: To undo the strap, don’t waste time fighting the knot that you just created by picking at it with your fingers. Take the loose end of the strap; pass it behind the back of the knot by going opposite the direction that you used to create the loop in Step 4. Give the loose end of the strap a good tug and the knot should pop right open!