fronthatch_smallIn 2015 this article was published in Ocean Paddler #48 (page 62/63).

Just imagine this; you are busy with a victim and send someone to get a certain item from your kayak.. Will they immediately know in what hatch it is? Luckily most experienced paddlers know to keep the most important goods in the day hatch; warm drinks, food, first aid and repair kits. But does everyone in your group knows? And where are those other things that might be needed in time of emergencies?
Well, to keep things very simple, I added weather resistant signaling labels on my kayak near the hatches, on the hatches and on drybags as well. Surprisingly they keep on even in salt water. I put them on my kayak in March and they are still on it.
dayhatch_smallI have to say I only was able to test this for a longer time on a polyester kayak, my guess is that on PE boats you will have to replace them a little bit earlier. But as the Herma label packages comes with 1200 labels you won’t run out very quickly. That is about 2p per label. A safety item for kayaking was never that cheap.

What you need:
– Herma #8034 (Hard-wearing signaling labels)
– A laserprinter (or a waterproof marker if you are better in drawing than me)
– The website

Step 1
Find yourself the icon you want to put on the stickers (I placed a complete sheet with the icons I use at – it’s in A4 format). In the example beneath you will find some I use (some I added later and therefore are not in the photos).


  1. As some VHF radio’s come with usb loader or battery pack – this can become important
  2. Extra map (if your falls off in the surf or doing rescue)
  3. Spare phone
  4. Dry clothes
  5. First AID
  6. Group Shelter

Step 2
Place them into the application at

Step 3
Save the PDF and print them. Do not select options like Center Image and Scale to Fit Media if your computer asks for it. To make sure the print will fit the labelsheet I always do a test run on normal paper. Lay it over the labelsheet to make sure my computer/printer did print it the way Herma PDF was meant to be.

Step 4
Clean the part of your kayak you want to put the labels on to make them stick longer (if you are lazy like me: I tested it without cleaning and after 6 months they are still attached)
If you find 25 pounds a bit steep for the labels because you are using them for yourself only; I am more than happy to send you a sheet if you cover the costs. You can send me an e-mail at