How far can a kayak hang out of a truck? It is another day to kayak and you are thinking of how to transport your kayak to the water using your truck. Then you ponder on how far a kayak can hang out of a truck.
Staring at your lengthy kayak, you might be comparing it to the length of the open truck bed of your truck, which is void of a roof rack.
Because of this, you wonder if it would be possible to get your kayak to the water with it sticking out of your truck like that without causing harm to yourself and others.
Well, you have nothing to fear as this article will show you how to make it possible without causing a hazard to yourself and others through proper marking.
You will be learning the rules and regulations applicable to transporting your over-extended kayak as well as the distances permitted by different states for your kayak to extend off, whether front or back.
Table of Contents
How Far Can a Kayak Hang out of a Truck?
The United States Department of Transportation has an implemented law aimed at regulating the size of cargo hanging out of a vehicle.
This law states that cargo can overhang a vehicle by not more than 3 feet at the front and not more than 4 inches by the sides, and not more than 4 feet in the back.
Also known as the -3-4-4 rule, it is a general rule that is also applicable to how far a cargo can hang out of your truck. So, just in case you have a kayak, it works for it too!
Whether it is a kayak or canoe that is to be transported, it should not exceed these stipulated distances.
However, if your vessel overhangs by more than the said distances, you do not really have to worry as you can get it sorted by properly marking it.
What If Your Kayak Exceeds Limits?
If your kayak or canoe exceeds limits, what you need to do is to properly markup your load.
The importance of using a proper markup is to give a warning to other drivers of possible hazards your kayak might pose if they drive closely behind your vehicle.
The proper markups include an orange or red brightly colored flag as well as illuminated marker lamps. You hang the flag on the end of the cargo during the day or attach the LED light if you are transporting your kayak at night.
Use Safety flag
A safety flag is a warning flag with a length of at least 18 inches square. Brightly colored as red or orange, all you need to do is tie it to the end of your cargo which is overhanging at the rear of your truck.
You can get yours from a hardware store or get a safety flag that is purpose-built for $3. Carrying multiple kayaks can cause an overextension by 2 feet in width, this means that you must tie two separate flags on both sides of the boats.
Setup: Illuminated Marker Lamps
At night, it is not so easy for other drivers to see an overhanging cargo. So you need to mount illuminated marker lamps on the end of your cargo.
These marker lamps can be purchased at a price of about $15 or less and they can be gotten from bicycle stores or purchased online.
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Department of Transportation Regulations on Overhanging Cargo
While there is a federal regulation law for cargo transportation, there are also regulations on overhanging cargo for different states in the U.S.
Each state’s department of transportation has regulations as regards overhanging cargo which may be similar to or differ from that of other states.
If you’re planning to take your kayak out on the open road, it’s important to know the legal length and width limits for vehicles in your state. Some states adhere to the federal legal overhang limit of 4 feet to the back and 3 feet to the front.
Some of these states include Georgia, Arkansas, Illinois, Massachusetts, Indiana, Montana, Iowa, New Hampshire, Missouri, North Carolina, New York, Ohio, New Jersey, Texas, Virginia, South Dakota, Utah, Wisconsin, and Virginia.
The following are states with their rules for overhanging kayak or cargo. Some states have laws that specifically address Kayaks, while others lump them in with other types of recreational vehicles.
Note: this is for general reference only, so, you’ll need to check your state’s laws to be sure or to update the latest regulations issued.
In Alabama, cargo can overhang a truck or vehicle in the front by 5 feet and off the back by 4 feet. An overextension beyond the given limit will require you to attach a red flag or red light to the cargo during the day and the night, respectively.
If you find yourself in Alaska, you must follow the overhang rule that allows your cargo to overextend by 3 feet from the front, 12 feet in width, and 4 feet from the rear of the truck. An overhang of over 10 feet or 17 feet in height must carry a sign signifying an oversize load.
The state of Arizona allows an object to overhang from the front of a truck by 3 feet and the rear by 6 feet. If your kayak exceeds this distance, then you have violated the traffic law of the state even if you made use of proper mark-ups.
Cargo can overhang a vehicle by 3 feet in the front, 4 inches in the width, and 4 feet in the rear in California. However, if your vessel extends by a foot or more to the left or to the rear, you must use proper marking.
In some instances, the state of California will allow your load to overhang about 10 feet provided that the overall length of the vehicle is not more than 75 feet.
Colorado allows your cargo to overhang by 4 feet in the front and 10 feet in the rear of the vehicle. You are not permitted to exceed these distance limits as exceeding these limits will count as a traffic offense.
In Connecticut, an overhang beyond 3 feet in the front, 6 inches by the sides, and 4 feet in the vehicle are not allowed. However, restrictions do not apply when you use proper markings.
In the state of Delaware, your cargo is allowed to overhang the truck by 3 feet in front and 6 feet in the rear. However, if your kayak or canoe cannot be disassembled to allow for a reduction in length, then it can overextend the rear of the truck by 10 feet.
In Florida, the department of transport allows trucks carrying boats and automobiles to overextend their cargo by 3 feet beyond the front and by 9 feet in the rear. However, trucks bearing trees are allowed to overhang by 10 feet in the rear.
an overhanging load that does not go beyond 4 ft in the front and 10 ft in the truck’s rear is allowed in Hawaii. However, objects like pipes and poles which are not easy to dismantle do not follow this rule. So, you need to properly mark the extreme of your load.
In Idaho, your cargo is allowed to over-extend maximally by 4 feet and 10 feet beyond the front and rear of your truck respectively. The state also permits your cargo an overhang of 6 inches in the right and left fender of the truck.
If you are in Kansas transporting a kayak or canoe that cannot be disassembled and the length of your truck does not exceed 85 feet, then you are allowed more overhang than the normal allowance of 3 feet in the front and 4 feet in the rear.
In Kentucky, it is not permitted to go 3 feet beyond the front and 5 feet beyond the rear.
In Louisiana, your cargo can overhang by 4 feet in front and 8 feet in the truck’s rear.
In Maine, your kayak’s overhang must not exceed 4 feet in the front and 6 feet in the rear.
Maryland’s legal protrude extent is 3 feet in front and 6 feet in the truck’s rear.
Michigan’s rule as regards overhang is unlimited as long as you do not exceed your vehicle’s legal length. However, flagging is needed for anything beyond 4 feet in the rear.
Minnesota allows your cargo to overhang within the legal limit of 3 feet in the truck’s front, 6 inches in width beyond the fenders on both sides of the vehicle, and 4 feet in the rear.
An overhang limit of 3 feet and 15 feet in the front and the rear respectively of your truck is permitted in Mississippi.
cargo overhang is unrestricted in Nebraska provided that you do not exceed your truck’s legal length.
In Nevada, your cargo must not overhang beyond 10 feet in the front as well as in the rear of your truck.
In New Mexico, your cargo must not overhang beyond 3 feet to the front and 7 feet to the rear of your truck.
North Dakota overhang limit is set at 10 feet for both the front and the rear of the truck.
Oregon allows an overhang that does not go beyond 4 feet in the front and 5 feet in the rear.
In Pennsylvania, your kayak can overhang by 3 feet in the front and 6 feet to the truck’s rear.
The overhang limit in Rhode Island is similar to that of Penn State. It is 3 feet to the front and 6 feet to the truck’s rear as well.
South Carolina’s regular overhang is also the same as Rhode Island. However, trailers having a length of fewer than 48 feet are allowed an overhang limit of 15 feet in the rear while those having a length of 53 feet and more are allowed an overhang of 10 feet in their rear.
The state of Vermont allows your cargo to overextend at a limit of 3 feet in the front and 6 feet in the rear. In some instances, there is no restriction to the amount of rear overhang provided that it does not go beyond 1/3 of the total length.
Washington has an overhang limit of 3 feet to the front and 15 feet to the rear. However, you must bear in mind that the length of the overhang in the rear should be measured from the middle of the last axle.
This state allows an overhang of 3 feet in the front and 6 feet to the rear.
The legal overhang limit in Wyoming is 4 feet to the rear and to the front of a truck.
Alternatives for Transporting Kayaks
If your kayak exceeds the length or width limit for your truck, you may be able to transport it using a trailer. If you don’t have a trailer, you can check with local marinas or kayak rental companies to see if they have trailers that you can rent.
You will also need to make sure that your vehicle is able to tow the trailer and that you have the proper hitch and wiring. Once you have the kayak on the trailer, you will need to secure it so that it doesn’t shift during transport.
You can do this by using straps or rope to tie it down. When you reach your destination, you can simply unload the kayak and launch it from the trailer.
How far can a kayak stick out the back of a truck?
The United States Department of Transportation has also implemented a law aimed are regulating the size of a kayak sticking out the back of a truck which states that cargo can overhang a vehicle at the rear by a maximum of 4 feet, at the front by a maximum of 3 feet and the sides by a maximum of 4 inches.
Can a kayak stick out of a truck?
Yes, a kayak can stick out of a truck but it must not exceed the legal overhang limit given by the state.
How do you transport a 12-foot kayak in a truck?
By making use of locks and straps to keep them in place. You can also make use of a truck bed extender if the length of the kayak is more than that of the truck and properly mark it if it exceeds the legal overhang limit.
How far can a kayak stick out of a truck in Florida?
In Florida, the department of transport allows trucks carrying boats and automobiles to overextend their cargo by 3 feet beyond the front and by 9 feet in the rear.
How do you transport a kayak in the back of a truck?
You can do this either with the tailgate of your truck up or down. Whichever way, ensure that your kayak is well strapped.
While you are excited to go kayaking or canoeing, you really do not have to be bothered about transporting your kayak to the water because of its length or your truck’s length regardless of whatever state you are in.
All you need to do is remember the federal -3-4-4 rule and ensure that you do not exceed the limit.
However, if you must, do well to verify the legal overhang limit from the department of transport of the particular state you are in and ensure to properly mark your cargo either with a safety flag during the day or a LED light at night.
This is important for your safety and the safety of other road users.