These identifying labels can help Coast Guard crew members, game wardens and marine patrol officers quickly determine whether a boat is merely adrift or if a paddler could be missing.
Coast Guard officials are asking canoe and kayak owners to clearly label their boats with contact information to help crews responding to reports of adrift boats.
As the summer season ramps up, so do the number of calls that the Coast Guard, Harbormasters, marine patrol officers and other law enforcement agencies receive about adrift or unattended canoes and kayaks. Petty Officer Matthew Strickland of Coast Guard Sector Northern New England said they had received several such reports before noon on the busy and sunny Independence Day holiday.
“It’s about two hours worth of work when we get a report of an adrift kayak,” Strickland said.
Strickland asked that kayak, canoe or other boat owners write their name, telephone number or other contact information on a card or other permanent label that is easily visible to individuals pulling up alongside in a boat. That can help the Coast Guard or other responders quickly determine whether the boat simply drifted away or if they should be on the look-out for a missing boater as well.
During the extended holiday weekend, the Coast Guard, Marine Patrols, and other agencies in the state are also participating in the national “Operation Dry Water” campaign focused on addressing impaired boating.
Officers will be conducting patrols all along the Massachusetts coast looking for boaters under the influence of drugs or alcohol and raising awareness about the dangers of impaired boating.