The U.S. Coast Guard urges paddle craft owners to apply free Operation Paddle Smart identification stickers to their vessels.
When the Coast Guard receives a report or discovers an unattended or adrift canoe, kayak, dinghy, or other paddle craft in the water, it assumes the owner is in trouble and needs assistance until it can find evidence to support otherwise, said a Coast Guard news release. The information on the Paddle Smart sticker can allow response agencies to quickly identify the vessels owner or operator and aid search-and-rescue planners in determining the best course of action.
You can find them at local outdoors stores, in addition through Coast Guard and Coast Guard Auxiliary units.
Stickers and brochures will be available at our next meeting: Tuesday, March 17, 2011 at 6:00 P.M. at Franklin Inn -- 1070 E. Huron Avenue (M-142) Bad Axe, MI 48413.
The sticker is a small, reflective orange waterproof rectangle that provides space for the owner’s name and two phone numbers. (Don’t forget to write with a waterproof permanent marker!) In situations where a craft is found without its paddlers, the Coast Guard can quickly identify who to contact and determine whether they have an emergency rescue situation on their hands. This greatly reduces the number of resources that the Coast Guard spends on search and rescue cases (ones that often turn out not to be), meaning that their time and money will be better spent on actual emergencies, freeing them to save lives that are in danger instead of tracking down a paddlers who simply lost a craft.
The sticker will significantly reduce the amount of time it takes to confirm overdue, if a boat is adrift, or if it is a SAR (Search and Rescue) case. Ninety percent of the time if a kayak is adrift, someone isn't attached.
Paddle Smart Brochure: http://cgvi.uscg.mil/media/main.php?g2_itemId=784965
Paddle Smart Sticker: http://cgvi.uscg.mil/media/main.php?g2_itemId=785212
Public Service Announcement: http://cgvi.uscg.mil/media/main.php?g2_itemId=742089