SAN PEDRO, Calif. — The Coast Guard encourages mariners to label all kayaks and paddleboards with contact information so that rescue crews can quickly account for owners to determine if there is an actual distress and prevent unnecessary searches when no one is in danger.
Monday morning, Coast Guard, Redondo Beach Police Department and Redondo Beach Fire Department crews responded to a report of a beached kayak approximately a nautical mile south of Redondo Harbor.
Search-and-rescue crews from Coast Guard Air Station San Francisco’s Forward Operating Base Point Mugu, the Coast Guard Cutter Halibut and Coast Guard Station Los Angeles-Long Beach searched for an unconfirmed person in the water for approximately eight hours before suspending the case, pending further developments.
In 2017, Coast Sector Los Angeles-Long Beach personnel responded to nine adrift kayak cases that were suspended after confirming owners were not in distress.
The Coast Guard offers free decals to be placed in a visible location on kayaks that can allow first responders to quickly identify the vessel’s owner and aid search-and-rescue planners in determining the best course of action. The Coast Guard auxiliary also distributes these stickers through local marinas and kayak rental facilities.
If mariners are not able to acquire a sticker, a permanent marker can be used to write the name and phone number of the owner on the vessel. In the event of an emergency, the Coast Guard and other first responders can quickly determine if there is a distress. Properly identifying vessels also increases the chances for recovery of adrift paddle craft.
“Properly identifying personal watercraft reduces unnecessary risk to our crews and helps ensure that the Coast Guard and other agencies focus our limited assets on actual emergencies,” said Capt. Monica Rochester, the Coast Guard Sector Los Angeles-Long Beach commander. “With the boating community’s cooperation in labeling kayaks and other personal watercraft, responses to unconfirmed distress cases can be greatly reduced.”
Searches for people who are not in distress can be also be avoided by owners ensuring their paddleboards and kayaks are properly stored to prevent winds or high tides from allowing these craft to become adrift.