Commander, First Coast Guard District 408 Atlantic Avenue Boston, MA 02110
With the increase of paddle craft enthusiasts getting out on the water, the number of vessels found adrift without an operator has also increased. Unlike larger recreational or commercial vessels which share in the fortunate benefit of hull registration numbers and a vessel name that allow for the owner to be identified, paddle craft characteristically do not have identifying features that allow for the owner to be contacted. Without contact information the Coast Guard and other rescue responders have no way of determining whether or not an individual is in distress or if the vessel simply drifted away from its mooring. As a result the Coast Guard spends hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars each year engaged in search and rescue operations for cases where there was no one was in danger.
In an effort to counter this problem the Coast Guard and Coast Guard Auxiliary have teamed up to launch Operation Paddle Smart. The goal of Operation Paddle Smart is to educate paddle craft owners on boating safety and provide a free water-proof "If Found" identification sticker to place on the paddle craft. The "If Found" stickers allow owners to provide minimal but vital contact information needed by rescuers if the vessel is found adrift.
Contact your local Coast Guard Station or Coast Guard Auxiliary Flotilla to obtain your free "If Found" sticker and boating safety material.