Coast Guard re-emphasizes the value of Operation Paddle Smart

by Tim Flanagan on May 26, 2011

Paddle Smart Sticker

SEATTLE – A Coast Guard MH-65 Dolphin helicopter from Air Station Port Angeles, stomach Wash., Coast Guard Auxiliary vessel, the Jefferson County (Wash.) Sheriff and a Good Samaritan searched for a possible person in the water on the west side of Hood Canal in Dabob Bay, Thursday at approximately 2 p.m.

The Good Samaritan discovered an unmanned, capsized kayak earlier in the day and contacted the Coast Guard. After searching for nearly two hours, the Coast Guard suspended the search.

The kayak had no identifying markings on it that would enable the Coast Guard to contact the owner to determine if there was an emergency, if the vessel broke free from its mooring or if the vessel was derelict.

Due to situations similar to this, the Coast Guard would like to re-emphasize the importance of Operation Paddle Smart to canoe, kayak and paddle craft owners in the Pacific Northwest.

Operation Paddle Smart is a Coast Guard initiative which provides free water-proof stickers for labeling owner identification and contact information to small, paddle craft vessels. 

In the event that the Coast Guard receives a report or discovers a paddle craft adrift, there is no way to determine if the vessel was washed off of a beach during high tide or was separated from its owner during the course of a boating accident. Subsequently, the Coast Guard has to assume the owner is in trouble and needs assistance until it can find evidence to support otherwise.

As a result the Coast Guard spends hundreds of thousands of tax dollars per year searching for potential people in distress when there was no one in danger to begin with.

The information on the Paddle Smart sticker can correct this problem by allowing response entities to quickly identify the vessel’s owner and aid search and rescue planners in determining the best course of action.

CLICK HERE for a feature on Operation Paddle Smart.

CLICK HERE for any additional information on the Paddle Smart initiative and the locations where the stickers can be obtained.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

1 Larry H May 26, 2011 at 8:22 pm

Great idea!! Even if you don’t have a sticker, you can put your name and phone number on a small boat with a marker or paint.

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