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7 Best Kayak Flags for Safety on the Water

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A good kayak flag should be at the top of every serious paddler’s kayaking safety kit. Especially if you plan to paddle at night, in high boat traffic areas or in larger ocean swells, a kayak safety flag can mean the difference between being seen and being toast.

Whether you’re fishing, towing another kayak to safety or just exploring the great outdoors, a kayak visibility flag helps you stay out of harm’s way. For scuba and snorkel enthusiasts, a good kayak dive flag can also help alert boaters when you’re not able to signal yourself.

The best kayak safety flags are equipped to fit nearly any boat, and some offer additional safety features such as LED lights and adjustable flag poles and mounts. (See below for recommendations on mounts, poles and flag holders.)

Kayak flags don’t have to be expensive, but they do need to have a place on your boat.

A QUICK RUNDOWN: THE 7 BEST KAYAK FLAGS FOR SAFETY AND VISIBILITY

KAYAK FLAGBEST FORINCLUDEDPRICEAP RATING
YakAttack VISIPole II360-degree visibilityKayak flag, pole and light (MightyMount ready)$$
Hobie VISICarbon ProFishingKayak safety flag, pole and LED light$$
Forever Wave Jolly Roger FlagKayak pirates12x18-inch kayak pirate flag (double-sided)$
Country Ent. Telescopic Safety FlagBudget kayak safety flagSpring-loaded telescoping flag pole, orange flag, mount$
Premium Quality Dive FlagDiving (U.S.)20x24-inch flag$
Shoreline Marine Propel Safety Flag with MountRed kayak flagKayak flag, telescoping pole and kayak flag mount$
Fu Len Red Bungee FlagTransporting kayaksRed kayak flag$

Best Kayak Safety Flag and Light

YakAttack VISIPole II – Mighty Mount/GearTrac Ready

Sturdy and well-designed, the YakAttack VISIPole II features a 2” long marine flag mounted atop a strong fiberglass pole. This kayak flag and light combo measures 4 feet, 6 inches high — more than enough to be visible from 360 degrees in all kinds of waves.

While the large base will fit snugly into the rod holders on some fishing kayaks, YakAttack has designed their safety flag to be able to be used with its GearTrac or MightyMount systems — meaning you can mount it almost anywhere.

(For a great kayak flag mount, the MightyMount is a pretty versatile choice.)

The included LED light is manufactured to last for 10,000-plus hours, and will last 100 hours on three AA batteries. To turn it on, simply twist the top of the flag. The flag itself can also be slipped over the light to create a soft glow less likely to scare fish away (a nice option for a kayak fishing flag — though not recommended in dangerous areas).

If you happen to lose the flag overboard, the VISIPole’s base floats, and the light is waterproof up to 1,000 feet. For an even more lightweight and stylish option, there’s the VISICarbon Pro flag, which is foldable.


Best Kayak Visibility Flag for Fishing

Hobie VISICarbon Pro

For Hobie fishing kayak owners, or those who simply want the best kayak fishing flag money can buy, the Hobie VISICarbon Pro kayak flag and light is everything you want.

Extremely lightweight, flexible and collapsible, the VISICarbon flag offers a high degree of visibility from any angle. The flag pole is designed to fit snugly into the rod holders of any Hobie fishing kayak, but can also be attached to non-Hobie boats with an adapter mount such as the MightyMount or GearTrac system.

The VISICarbon flag features an LED light and folds down from 48” to 14” — and the whole package fits inside the bright orange nylon flag, which doubles as a carry case.

The carbon-fiber flag pole tubing weighs just 14 ounces, reducing drag and wind resistance while maintaining strength for optimal safety. Hands down, this is the best kayak safety flag available.


Best Kayak Pirate Flag

Forever Wave Jolly Roger Flag

OK, this one’s a little less about safety and more about just having some fun with the concept. If your plan is to rule the lake like Blackbeard, the Forever Wave Jolly Roger kayak pirate flag is for you.

Fly it loud, fly it proud, but don’t go looting other kayaks. It’s just not nice.

This double-sided, 12”x18” pirate flag features a zip-on/zip-off mounting sleeve that can slip over most kayak flag poles — perfect for switching out your other flags when the ole’ skull-and-crossbones needs to make an appearance.

While this pirate flag can be flown from kayak, it’s also a great pirate flag for boats, motorcycles, cars or anywhere else the call of the peg-leg is heard.


Best Budget Safety Flag for Kayaks

Country Ent. Telescopic Safety Flag

One of the best-selling budget safety flags, the Country Ent. flag is a spring-loaded, telescoping flag pole with a bright orange plastic flag for high visibility in most conditions.

The stainless steel flag pole extends to 62” (5 feet) and comes with a mounting bracket that can be attached to most kayaks with bolts. While this multi-purpose safety flag isn’t only designed for kayaks, it should work for most recreational paddlers looking for an inexpensive safety upgrade.

This flag does not come with a light or gear-track mounting adapter, but should still be suitable for inland lakes and waters with slower-moving traffic.


Best Kayak Dive Flag

Premium Quality Dive Flag

In the United States, a kayak dive flag — also known as a “diver down flag” — is a red flag with a white diagonal stripe that alerts boaters to your presence while underwater. Legally, when this flag is flying, boaters are required to give you a 100-foot safety zone, which allows you to resurface without fear of being hit.

This flag, which measures 20×24 inches with a removable stiffening pole, is legal in most states (yes, including Florida) and can be easily assembled and collapsed while on your kayak.

If you plan to display it from your kayak, though, you will need a good kayak flag pole, as it does not come included.

In other countries, kayak dive flags are known as “alpha flags” and are blue and white. If you’ll be free diving, snorkeling or scuba diving in international waters, it’s a good idea to have both.


Best Red Kayak Flag

Shoreline Marine Propel Safety Flag with Mount

If you don’t plan to kayak on intercoastal waterways or on the ocean, the Shoreline Marine Propel safety flag offers an affordable and practical safety option.

With a red kayak flag and telescoping flag pole, the Shoreline Marine flag maintains visibility at any height. The kit comes with a kayak flag mount that can be drilled into most kayaks (you can also use a marine adhesive if you’d prefer not to drill), or used with many gear track systems.

Because the U.S. Coast Guard requires orange flags for coastal waters between sunset and sunrise, this flag isn’t suitable by itself for ocean fishing at night. This flag also doesn’t come with a light.


Best Red Kayak Tow Flag

Fu Len Red Bungee Flag

As far as kayak safety flag regulations go, it’s not just the Coast Guard you need to worry about. When transporting your kayak in the bed of a truck, for instance, law enforcement may require the use of a red kayak tow flag to alert other drivers to an extra-long load.

Tie this red kayak flag to the bungee handle of your kayak and make sure it doesn’t end up in someone else’s windshield.


Best Kayak Flag Pole Mounts

RailBlaza ExtendaPole 1000

If you’re just looking for a kayak flag pole and don’t necessarily care about the flag — or want something to mount a camera or extra light high above your boat — RailBlaza’s ExtendaPole 1000 (love the name, by the way) offers an ingenious solution.

Constructed in 14-inch sections, this durable flag pole/camera mount accessory can be assembled to any length you desire. Need more height? Add another section. It’s also perfect for storage.

Granted, the ExtendaPole works best with RailBlaza accessories (see lights and camera mounts), but it will work with just about any flag. Like most RailBlaza accessories, it attaches to your kayak via the RailBlaza StartPort.

YakAttack MightyMount Scotty Kit

YakAttack’s MightyMount is a high-quality, versatile mounting solution for lots of different kayak accessories, but when paired with the Scotty Kit, it’s almost unstoppable.

Compatible with the gear track systems for both Wilderness Systems and Native kayaks, the YakAttack MightyMount Scotty kit allows you to attach Scotty or Cannon bases to the gear tracks installed in your kayak.

By itself, the MightyMount system is still a great solution for a variety of accessories — including YakAttack’s VISIPole II kayak flag — and its small footprint allows it to be installed almost anywhere on your boat.

Dovewill Kayak Flag Mounting Kit

A great DIY option if you’re just looking for a universal kayak flag pole setup, Dovewill’s cheap and universal rod and flag holder mount will easily attach to most gear track systems, or bolted directly the kayak itself.

Dovewill’s kayak flag kit also includes the flag itself along with a three-piece, collapsible 47” inch pole.

Last words

We hope this helps you find the best kayak flag for your boat, but if you have other thoughts or suggestions, we’d love to hear them.

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