Kayaks are a convenient and fun way to explore lakes and oceans. They’re easy to maneuver in, and often have ample storage space. But you are likely to be the smallest boat on the water. This is why having a kayak flag for safety can be so important!
You need to stay visible to larger boats for your safety, so you aren’t just considered the “road bump of water.” Especially if you’re just sitting in one place, or have a fishing line out of the boat, it’s important to have a kayak safety flag.
In a hurry? Check out our 7 favorite kayak flags and kayak flag mounts.
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The Best Kayak Flags
- YakAttack VISICarbon Pro – Best Light Up Flag
- Spearfishing World Dive Flag – Best Dive Flag
- Frienda 2 Pieces Safety Travel Flag – Best Towing Kayak Flag
- Stikit – Peel & Stick Safety Flags – Best Budget Safety Flag
- Lixada 120cm Kayak Safety Flag – Best Red Flag
- Bonus: American Flag and a Pirate Flag
- Stainless Steel Boat Flag Pole Clamp – Best Kayak Flag Pole – Best Kayak Flag Pole
- RAILBLAZA MiniPort TracMount & ZXAZX 2 Pieces Nylon Safety Flag Mount Base – Best Kayak Mounts
What is a Kayak Flag?
A kayak flag helps keep you safe and visible while in the water. By having bright symbols higher up in the air, you can be seen more easily by other boats.
The most effective kayak safety flags are easily attached to the deck and will be visible even in bad storms. There are a few different kinds of flags that you can choose from.
When Do You Need A Safety Flag?
You don’t always need a kayaking safety flag, but there are a few important times to make sure you’re visible, other than wearing bright clothing.
If you are out fishing, it’s important to have a kayak visibility flag. These aren’t specific as to what they look like, just make sure you stand out and are seen by humans, even if you’re hiding in vegetation.
If you are on a kayak with a diver, or have gone diving yourself, you have to have a dive flag. These are bright red with a white stripe in them and are important for the coast guard to be able to see
You may just want to have a flag to be easier to see on the water, as a recreational kayaker, without any specific reason for needing a safety flag! Just being that extra bit visible will be helpful.
Another reason you may need a kayak safety flag is if you’re towing the kayak or it sticks out too far while driving. Having something red coming off the end is important to ensure cars behind you can see the end of the kayak.
Do Kayaks Need Safety Flags?
Besides just stated above, not all kayaks need safety flags. But it can be a good idea if you’re going to be on the water with other big boats and your colors are not highly visible. If you’ve got a bright orange kayak and are wearing a bright yellow safety jacket, you’ll be much more visible on the water without a flag than if you’re wearing a dark blue life jacket and have an olive green kayak.
While driving your kayak to the water, there are federal regulations in place that you will need a red kayak tow flag on the end of the boat to be visible to other cars.
What To Look For
When choosing a flag, there are a few things to look for! Are you needing a flag for a specific reason, like diving, which has regulations? Or are you just looking for a tow flag?
It’s also important to think about how the flag will be mounted to your kayak, the height, and if you need lights (like if you’re out at night).
You can also just get a fun flag, like a kayak pirate flag, to attach to your boat. Let’s find the best kayak flag for you!
The Best Kayak Flags
YakAttack VISICarbon Pro – Best Light Up Flag
This YakAttack VISICarbon kayak flag is one of the best you can purchase for ultimate visibility. The LED lights in this flag will last up to 100 hours on the three AA batteries, which are included. The LED light will last over ten thousand hours with changing the batteries.
This flag is tall enough to be visible with the paddler inside, and is the best kayak safety flag, especially if you’re out at night since it has a bright light on it. This is a bright orange flag that should be mounted behind you while on the kayak.
This is a safety flag with mount included to easily attach it to the boat.
- LED light up flag
- Easy to attach
- Made in the USA
- More expensive
- Has to be mounted with the hardware included
SPEARFISHING WORLD Dive Flag – Best Kayak Dive Flag
If you’re going scuba diving or snorkeling around your kayak, you have to have a kayak dive flag. It’s a legal requirement to have a diving flag out. And this SPEARFISHING WORLD Dive Flag is a great choice.
This flag for scuba diving is perfect if you’ve got rod holders on your boat, as this should just slide into it. This is a very heavy duty flag with a rod made of PVC pipe, so it won’t wear out on you any time soon.
This dive flag kit comes with a rod, the flag that will sit up to 27 inches tall, and has bungee cords to keep it secure in the rod holders.
Make sure to check other safety guidelines around diving, especially if you’re leaving an empty kayak on the water.
- 360 degree swivel
- Dive flag with stiffener in it
- UV resistant pipe
- Some quality issues with pipe and screws
Frienda 2 Pieces Safety Travel Flag – Best Towing Kayak Flag
If you’re looking for a red kayak tow flag, this Frienda Safety Travel Flag is a great choice. It comes as a pack of two, so you can even attach one to both sides of the kayak while you’re driving it to the lake.
This is one of the best red kayak flag options, since it’s also got a high visibility reflective strap down the middle. This is easy to clean and dry, and is heavy duty to ensure it stays on even in the worst conditions.
Having a towing flag is important because it’s required, and so that your kayak doesn’t accidentally go into someone else’s windshield if they don’t see the kayak popping out.
- Have webbing to easily attach to the boat
- Comes with two
- Fits the requirement of a red flag when towing
- Might need a strap to attach to the boat
- The reflective band isn’t as reflective as it could be
Stikit – Peel & Stick Safety Flag – Best Budget Safety Flag
If you want to just get a flag that stays on your kayak and you don’t have to think about it, the Stikit safety flag is a great choice. It comes in a few different lengths of the pole, either 4, 5, or 6 feet tall, depending on what’s best for you.
This flag has two color options, a bright orange flag or neon green flag. These are low profile flags that will keep you visible and safe on the water, without being too obnoxious to you on the boat. This is the best kayak visibility flag for just being seen in the water at all times.
The flag pole easily collapses when it’s not in use, and permanently sticks to your boat. Being just a peel and stick application means it can be easily mounted and you can choose anywhere that’s best for you on the kayak to attach the flag, instead of being forced to use somewhere specific for mounting it.
- Easily attachable
- Sticks well
- Can’t be moved to other boats/spots
- Stays on the kayak once attached
Lixada 120cm Kayak Safety Flag – Best Red Kayak Safety Flag
For a simple flag that will keep you visible on the water, the Lixada 120cm Kayak Safety flag is a great choice. It’s a small and bright red kayak flag, but will fly above you for easy visibility. This is easily collapsible for when you don’t need the flag flying.
It’s easy to install with the included base that will keep your flag stable while moving. The pole is made of aluminum alloy, and is easy to disassemble. This is a great safety flag for a low price and one that won’t get in your way while kayaking.
This is a great choice for recreational paddlers, to just be more visible to other boats.
- Small but visible
- Easy to install
- Will keep you safe
- Have to drill into boat to mount
- Some issues with the pole disconnecting
There are some other flags that you can choose to fly instead of one of these safety flags stated above!
Get a set of three different kayak flags to easily rotate between, if you want an American flag, an eagle, or an orange flag. This way you can choose which you’d prefer to have flying!
Or get the best kayak pirate flag for your outings. Not only will the contrasting colors of white and black on the flag act to keep you visible, it’s a pirate flag! Included with this is a mounting system, so you don’t have to get that separately.
Kayak Flag Pole & Mounts
Now that we’ve looked at the best kayak safety flags, let’s look at how to attach these to your kayak! Making sure you get a flag pole that works for your kayak, and one to easily mount.
How Do You Attach a Flag to a Kayak or Canoe?
Almost every kayak flag comes with a flag pole or mounting hardware, so you can easily attach it. But not all of them will, or you might need something special for your boat. If your kayak already has gear tracks, flags and poles can easily be attached there.
Or if your boat has rod holders, you can usually fit a flag pole there. But sometimes it’s helpful to purchase extras to make sure the flag is attached securely!
Stainless Steel Boat Flag Pole Clamp – Best Kayak Flag Pole
Some flags might not come with a pole, or your flag may have outlasted the pole! So this is the best kayak flag pole the Stainless Steel Boat Flag Pole Clamp.
This flag pole has two clips to attach it to your boat. It’s the perfect size for kayak flags, and is made to withstand the elements. Made of stainless steel, it’s rust resistant and can withstand wind.
Kayak Flag Mount
If the kayak flag of your choice doesn’t come with a mount, you might need to get one separately. Depending on your kayak and what you already have on it, you might need two different parts to mount your flag. Find the two parts you might need to mount your flag to your kayak!
This RAILBLAZA MiniPort TracMount will fit with most gear track systems, as it’s a universal accessory mount. This mount goes on gear tracks with the included stainless steel track bolt.
It’s great if your kayak has a tracking system, and can also be used to hold fishing rod equipment.
While the TracMount is made as a rod holder, this mount base will fit into that to better hold the flag pole. Otherwise the mount will bee too wide.
This is really easy to use, and should universally fit flag poles, making it easy to install your flag.
There are so many kayak flags to choose from, hopefully this has helped you figure out which is the best kayak safety flag for your next trip out on the water. Make sure to stay safe around other boaters with a high visibility flag.