The age-old adage of “Better safe than sorry” applies to kayaking too, especially when you’re setting out in uncharted waters. Whether you’re paddling in choppy waters or kayaking at night, visibility can be a real challenge. Plus, there are so many other things that could go sideways. For instance, your boat could get stuck in some underwater object or it could even capsize. In such situations, you need to make sure that you’re actually seen by the rescue teams in order to make the rescue operation quicker. This is where the best safety flags for kayaks come in. A sturdy and strong safety flag needs to be at the top of your kayaking check-list. Without a kayak flag, your small vessel won’t be visible to larger ships or even rescue choppers and boats. Moreover, kayak flags allow you to be seen from far, which makes rescue situations even quicker.
Whether you’re a kayaker by profession or by hobby, kayaking safety flags are lifesavers, literally. These vibrant objects stand high above the water so everyone can spot you. Moreover, they are easy to spot notwithstanding the weather, and can be easily mounted to the deck too. To that end, here are the 13 best safety flags for kayaks.
How To Choose The Best Safety Flags For Kayaks?
Kayaking accessories that relate to safety need to be chosen with utmost care. So, where it’s kayaking safety flags, the Best Kayaking Hats, the Best Life Jackets For Kayaking, or even the Best Kayaking Helmets, all accessories need careful consideration before you buy them. When discussing features broadly, the best kayaking flags should be strong enough to withstand the climatic conditions, easy to install, tall, and bright. They’re discussed in detail below.
Visibility and size
One of the first and foremost factors when it comes to choosing kayaking flags is their size. In this case, you need to consider both the actual size of the flag as well as the height of the pole. For starters, the flag should be large enough so that it’s easily visible when it stands atop the flag pole. At the same time, it shouldn’t be so large that it ends up dragging behind. Usually, the best kayak flags measure between 10 and 15 inches in length. When it comes to the pole’s height, it’s what determines whether the safety flag lies in the line of sight of a larger boat or not. Most good kayak poles measure anywhere between 4 and 6 feet. In fact, some of the best kayaking flags even come with telescoping poles, allowing you to easily adjust them.
A kayaking safety flag is useful in more situations than one. For instance, if you’re angling or sitting in one place for a long time, then you tend to become more difficult to spot. A kayaking safety flag lends you visibility, but won’t scare the fish away at the same time. What’s more, some flag models even come with LED lights which make you visible even under the cover of darkness. Yet another instance is when you’re on a kayak dive, your empty kayak with a flag fluttering can alert other vessels in the area that they need to be careful because there are divers under the surface. Finally, even when you’re towing your kayak either on the road behind a truck or car or in the water, a safety flag greatly improves visibility and ensures that people keep their distance.
Ease of installation
Finally, you need to make sure that the safety flags for visibility are easy to install. However, this also depends to a great extent on the model you choose. Look for safety flags that can be inserted into a fishing pole mount or attached to the gear tracks. If you don’t have both, then flags even come with simple mount systems that’ll require you to drill a few holes in your kayak’s deck to make the base.
Do you need a kayak safety flag?
Of course, and the first and foremost reason is visibility, thus leading to safety out on the water. However, apart from that obvious reason, you’re also mandated to keep kayaking safety flags when you’re fishing in sea waters by the United States Coast guard. Besides the U.S. Coast guard regulations, you will also need to use a red kayak tow flag for transporting your kayak in the bed of a truck for alerting other drivers that you’re carrying an extra-long load.
RoadPro 2424G Red Mesh Warning Flag with Grommets
Tear-resistant, mildew-resistant, weatherproof, and waterproof – there’s nothing that the RoadPro 2424G Red Mesh Warning Flag can’t do. One of the most durable safety flags for kayaks, the RoadPro flag can easily withstand wear and tear that usually results from regular use, no matter the kind of weather. Made from premium-quality nylon, the flag is both waterproof and weatherproof. So, even if it gets splashed with spray or rain, it boasts a smooth exterior that sheds the water off easily and doesn’t soak it and become heavy. What’s more, it weighs all of 5.6 oz, making it one of the most lightweight flags on this list. The bright-red color is visible from just about anywhere. If that wasn’t enough, it hardly whips around too, given that it’s a mesh flag. Two super-strong metal grommets make up the rest of the flag. Did we say it also costs just $13-14? Yes!
- Waterproof and weatherproof.
Lixada 4ft Kayak Safety Flag
Another amazing versatile safety flag is the Lixada 4ft Kayak Safety Flag, which has a small flag at the end. The bright red color of the flag lends the flag high amounts of visibility no matter the kind of weather conditions. However, it’s the pole that is the high point of the flag. Made from high-quality aluminum, the flag pole is strong and robust enough to withstand any kind of harsh or rough weather. What’s more, the flag pole is made from three self-joining aluminum sections that are collapsible. So, they’re ideal even for smaller, solo crafts and boats. Going further, the bungee cord runs through these sturdy sections without any problem. Since the safety flag comes even with a DIY attachment kit, it can be mounted on any canoe or kayak quickly. Finally, there’s even a high-quality flashlight attached to the end of the pole.
- Comes with base mounting hardware.
- Sturdy and durable.
- The red banner is great for visibility.
- Some users mentioned that fitting the pole in the kayak rail tacks was slightly difficult.
YiMusic 1.2M Universal Safety Flag
The YiMusic 1.2M Universal Safety Flag is one of the most universally-suited safety flags for kayaks of all types. The flag itself might be slightly small, but its bright red color is a dead giveaway of the presence of your kayak. What’s more, it can be seen from a great distance too, thus making your trip a whole lot safer. The best thing about this kayak safety flag is its collapsible nature, which makes it super convenient to be used on boats where there’s not enough free space on the deck. Moreover, the flag even comes with a universal rod holder mount that can be put in and taken out very easily and effortlessly. Made from aluminum alloy, the pole can also be folded and unfolded with ease, making it a great investment for your safety out on the water.
- Easy to install and use.
- Very visible.
- Comes with a DIY kit.
- Some users felt that the size of the flag is slightly small for larger boats.
YakAttack VISIpole II GearTrac Ready includes Flag
Do you do a lot of night kayaking? Then this YakAttack VISIpole II Kayak Flag is perfect for you. That’s because it comes equipped with a top-mounted 360-degree white LED light! It’s also rather useful if you’re trying to catch fish in low-light or darker conditions. The LED can last up to 10,000-plus hours and gives 100 hours of bright light running on three AA batteries. In case you find the light slightly bright or find that bugs are congregating around the light, then all you need to do is simply slide the flag over to dim the light down a little bit.
Moreover, the flag itself is bright orange in color, allowing you and the kayak to be spotted from just about anywhere. Coming to the pole of the flag, it’s made from sturdy fiberglass that makes it easy for it to be mounted to any kayak base mount too. All-in-all, it’s one of the best kayak flags for safety.
- 10,000+ hours of lamp life.
- 360-degree visibility.
- Waterproof up to 1,000 feet
- Fiberglass mast.
- Some users mentioned that the pole bent in extremely rough weather.
YakAttack VISICarbon Pro Kayak Flag and Geartrac Ready Light
It’s no surprise that YakAttack features yet again on this list of best safety flags for kayaks. Behold the YakAttack VISICarbon Pro Mighty Mount and Geartrac Ready Light, which enhances your kayak’s visibility even in the most extreme conditions such as pitch darkness or mist. The flag is lightweight and yet is strong and robust enough to withstand extreme climatic conditions. If you don’t have a lot of space on your boat’s deck to accommodate a flag, then this one is perfect for you. Its aerodynamic shape and slim design not only occupy little space but also enhance its performance. Plus, the flag can be attached and detached quickly thanks to the Silent Snap flag attachment system.
Made from carbon fiber, the pole ensures that you don’t have to deal with excessive wind drag while paddling. Finally, the LED light atop the flagpole boasts 10,000 hours of lamp life and can last 100 hours straight!
- Defuser included.
- Pole is made from carbon fiber.
- 3 AA Batteries included.
- Not compatible with the Scotty mount.
Shoreline Marine Propel Safety Flag with Mount
One of the best kayak flags for safety is the Shoreline Marine Propel Safety Flag with Mount. Not only is the flag bright orange in color, but also it’s large-sized as compared to most flags on this list. So, it makes you and your kayak highly visible, no matter where you are. The flag is mounted on a telescopic flag pole that can easily be expanded and folded at will. What’s more, the flag can easily be attached to almost any boat or canoe, notwithstanding their type, size, or shape. If that wasn’t enough, the flag even comes with a universal accessory mount that makes it super easy to attach it to your boat. Since the U.S. Coast Guard has made it mandatory to use orange flags to send distress signals, the Shoreline Marine flag is handy and perfect.
- Easy to mount and take out.
- Highly visible.
- No light included.
Railblaza Kayak Flag
Equipped with a flag that’s 12 inches in length and 8 inches in width, the Railblaza Kayak Flag is one of the best safety flags for kayaks. If you’re looking for a flag that requires no installation at all, then the Railblaza one is perfect for you. For starters, both the flag and the pol;e are bright orange in color. Not only does it greatly enhance visibility, but it’s also the color mandated by the United States Coast Guard. Secondly, the pole is 47 inches long and can easily be shortened to even convert it into a dive flag kit. If that wasn’t enough, the base even comes with a quick-mount system that fits the brand’s port and starboard side well. So, all you need to do is plug the flag in. We’d recommend that you purchase this flag with the Railblaza StarPort Base for making mounting a breeze.
- Can be transformed into a dive flag.
- Easy to set up and remove.
- Base mounts into StarPort or SidePort.
M-Wave Safety Flag For Kayak
Behold the only yellow flag on the block, the M-Wave Kayak Safety Flag! This flag is a unique neon-yellow/green in color, which deviates from the regular shades of oranges and reds that kayaking safety flags usually sport. That said, it ends up providing a better contrast against different backgrounds, whether it’s the turquoise or azure waters, lush greenery, or the sandy or rocky terrains. Furthermore, the flag pole is 5 feet tall, further adding to the flag’s, and subsequently your visibility. What’s more, this flag mount is insanely easy to install with a bolt and a nut, but you can also change the mounting system as it’s as versatile as it’s flexible. Finally, the entire contraption weighs just 5 oz., making it amongst the most lightweight kayak flags on this list.
- A two-piece rod ensures packability and portability.
- Unique neon-yellow flag color.
- Some users felt that the flag is slightly small.
Sunlite Safety Kayak Flag
Weighing just 3.2 oz., the Sunlite Safety Kayak Flag might very well be the lightest safety flags for kayaks on this list. The triangular-shaped flag is orange in color, with a bright and wide reflective neon-yellow strip running through the center. It’s a rather unique take on visibility, but it works. So, the design ensures that you can always easily be spotted on the water, no matter where or how far you are. We come to the support which is the 6-foot pole that’s made from fiberglass. It comes in two telescopic pieces, which means that it can be packed, stored, and transported very easily. What’s more, you can even use a single piece for the pole if you need a shorter flag especially if your kayak is small. Costing just $10-15, it’s one of the most affordable models on this list, giving others a run for their money.
- Six-feet-tall pole.
- Yellow reflective stripe on orange background.
- Two-piece design for easier packing.
- Practically none.
Country Ent. Telescoping Kayak Flag
One of the toughest models on this list is the Country Ent. Telescoping Kayak Flag, all thanks to its robust, durable, and long-lasting stainless steel pole. Extending up to as long as 62 inches, the pole is long enough to be placed on larger kayaks and boast. At the same time, since it’s adjustable and comes in two pieces, the pole length can be adjusted to use it for smaller and shorter kayaks as well. Unlike most other safety flags that become flimsy when it comes to windy conditions, this one can withstand pretty much any kind of weather. The flag itself is bright orange in color, as mandated by the United States Coast guard. Finally, the contraption comes with a spring-loaded base that can be fitted anywhere easily. It’s what makes for an easy and smooth installation process, allowing you to push off quickly from the shore.
- A spring-loaded base for easier installation.
- The stainless steel is durable and robust.
- Easily-adjustable telescoping design.
- Virtually none.
Uelfbaby Heavy Duty Kayak Flag
Yet another excellent safety flag for kayaks is the Ueaflbaby Heavy-Duty Kayak Flag. The product literally has heavy-duty in its name, which is evident in the form of the durable fiberglass pole. What’s more, it’s not a single pole and actually consists of four robust and sliding sections, allowing you to pack, store, and transport it easily. it also makes the flag more versatile to be used for all sizes and kinds of boats, small or big. Plus, it stretches to a maximum height of six feet. Complementing that is the bright orange-colored flag that’ll make it highly and easily visible on the open water, no matter where you are. However, what sets it apart from other models is that the package comes with two extra flags! One is a cartoon eagle flag and the other is an American flag.
- Extra-long 4-section fiberglass pole.
- Made from tear-resistant waterproof polyester.
- Three different kayak flags in the package.
- None, really.
SeaGator Dive Flag
If you are out diving from onboard your kayak, then you need the SeaGator Dive Flag as part of your kayaking gear. The flag boasts distinctive white stripes on a bright red background, which indicates to other crafts on the water that you’re diving somewhere nearby. So, they don’t get closer to you than 100 feet, keeping you and your kayak protected. This greatly reduces the chances of being struck by other, possibly larger boats. The flag can easily be mounted on a flagpole via the two included zip ties. The telescopic pole, when folded, easily sits into a sleeve and a velcro pouch, thus keeping it secure. Rounding up the features of this flag are the durable and trusty brass grommets and the 100% money-back guarantee.
- Keeps you protected and visible.
- Pole is durable and foldable.
- Some users reported that the red color runs out slightly when washed.
Forever Wave Jolly Roger Flag
If you’re an admirer of swashbuckling pirates, then maybe the Forever Wave Jolly Roger Flag is one of the best safety flags for kayaks for you. Despite being one of the most stylish items on this list, the flag is no less functional than a safety flag. For once, it’s black in color with a white skull pattern, making it easily available when you’re out on the water. It’s large in size, measuring 12 inches in length and 18 inches in width, adding to the visibility factor. Plus, the print is on both sides. Despite not coming with a flagpole and being slightly less visible at night, this flag is easy to mount using a rather nifty and universal zip system. Weighing just 3 oz., this rather fun flag is perfect for day kayakers.
- Highly visible during the day.
- Fun design,
- Large flag.
- Not visible at night.
- Doesn’t come with a pole.