U.S. Coast Guard Urges Owners to Label Their Paddle Crafts

Paddle Smart Sticker

Seattle, WA- The U.S. Coast Guard is reaching out to the public to help them reunite owners with their lost or missing paddle crafts.

According to a press memo from the Coast Guard, in the month of July, Search and Rescue crews responded to an average of one unmanned-adrift paddle craft in the Puget Sound region every day. Now the Coast Guard seeks the help of all owners of Kayaks, Canoes and other paddle crafts to label their vessels with essential contact information.

Stars mark the location of unmanned-adrift paddle craft reported to Coast Guard Sector Puget Sound personnel since the first of the month, July 24, 2018.  U.S. Coast Guard image by Scott Giard.

Every unmanned-adrift paddle craft is treated as a potential distress situation, however, when the craft is properly labelled the situation can often be quickly resolved with a phone call to the vessel owner, which minimizes personnel fatigue and negative impacts on crew readiness.

The Coast Guard suggests that paddle craft owners label their vessel using a permanent or waterproof marker covered with clear waterproof tape for increased durability, or check with their local outdoor recreation retailer to obtain a Paddle Smart Identification Sticker. At the very least the label should include the name of the owner, a number to reach the owner and a secondary point of contact.

Paddle Smart Sticker

The Coast Guard says in sixty percent of the responses the owner or reason for the adrift vessel was never found and the search was suspended with no signs of distress. In twenty-five percent of the responses the owners were found or the owner contacted the Coast Guard to state they had lost their craft. In fifteen percent of the responses, the vessel was presumed abandoned/derelict based on damage or signs of age.

The Press memo states, helicopter crews and boat crews individually search an average of two hours per response with a similar amount of search-time spent by other government agency personnel, as well as an additional four hours of investigation by Coast Guard command center and 911 center personnel.


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