Once you have your boat, you will need to transport it to the water, be that river, lake or sea. Canoes and kayaks may be light enough to be carried on the roof of your car. You’ll need to have proper roof racks installed, of course. If you are a solo canoeist, it may be wise to get the mounts especially for a solo lift. These will allow you to lift one end of the canoe into the back mount or cradle and then just slide it forwards into the second cradle.
If there are two of you, lay the straps out over the car roof, if using them, then lift the canoe from each end and gently set it down on the mounts. There should be two straps that go across the width of the canoe to tie it down. For extra safety, tie it from each end to the bumper bars as well. Use those nylon straps with the self-locking cam buckles. They are quick, safe and secure.
If you use rope, it should be water-resistant and non-stretch. If it’s new, season it first as new ropes often stretch. Make sure your rope is not slick, nor elastic; the former comes undone easily, while the latter stretches. While you need to have your canoe or kayak secured firmly, if it is over tightened, the pressure could crack or damage it.
Drive carefully with a canoe on board and stop often for checks. You will have centered the canoe before starting off, so now be alert to your spacing so both your canoe and other cars will remain safe.
If you have a heavier boat, you’ll need to use a boat trailer for transporting it. This is much like towing any other trailer – but possible heavier – so make sure your vehicle is strong enough. Check your brakes before each trip and be sure the external over-run brakes on the trailer are working efficiently.
All loose parts of the boat should be secured or removed and of course, the trailer should be the correct size for the boat. If you are boating alone, get one with an integral trolley that will help you with both loading and unloading, otherwise use rollers. Some rollers are inflatable, which will be a save on room if that is a problem. Make sure the boat is secured to the boat trailer in an appropriate manner. This seems obvious, but the newbie may easily feel that the weight of the boat is enough to keep it in place.