By Kassii Watta
Water sports can be one of the most fun outdoor activities, especially when it gets hot. Although it can be a great way to spend some quality time outside with friends or family, there is still some risk involved. Because of this, one should always be prepared. The United States Coast Guard has found many canoes, kayaks, and stand up paddle boards adrift with no paddler and no identifying information. This leads them to assume that the paddler is in some sort of trouble and needs assistance which causes them to launch a full-scale search and rescue effort with tax-payer dollars. Frequently, these lone watercraft’s have simply floated away on a big wave or blown off someone’s dock without being noticed and the search and rescue efforts are unnecessary.
To avoid this, the United States Coast Guard has launched “Operation Paddle Smart.” This states that every kayak, canoe, and stand up paddle board should have a “Paddle Smart Identification Sticker” attached. This allows the Coast Guard or anyone else who may come across your adrift watercraft to identify who it belongs too and the phone numbers to contact if found. One contact number should be your own, and the other should be of someone who knows of your float plan but is typically not with you while on the water since their phone could end up in the water as well if the vessel were to turn over. This should also be someone who would know your information in case of an emergency. The best place to put these stickers is on the deck of the kayak, near the cockpit. Here, they are easily seen. This small, orange, reflective, waterproof sticker could make a huge difference.
The American Canoe Association also has an “if found” website now where you can enter detailed information about your vessel, where it was last seen, and even upload a photo so that the ACA may assist in recovering your watercraft. You can find that page here.
Port Sanilac Marina is offering identification stickers FREE of charge to anyone who demos and/or purchases a kayak at our Kayak Events! You can find their demo day events on their Facebook page.
If you’d like to demo one of their Hobie Kayaks, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org for dates or set up an appointment.
Have fun on the water, but remember to stay safe!
Kasaundra M Watta, 22 of Port Sanilac, has lived near the water her entire life. She graduated from Croswell-Lexington High School is 2014 and received her Associates Degree in General Education from Saint Clair County Community College in 2015. Even after moving to Mount Pleasant in 2015 to attend Central Michigan University, her heart remained near the lake. She returned in December with her Bachelor’s Degree and is now the Port Sanilac Marina’s Content and Marketing Manager. She has become involved in anything that has to do with the water: learning about boats and kayaks because of her everlasting love of the lake. She now gets to watch the waves roll in from her desk.
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