Coast Guard crews search for missing kayaker

11th Coast Guard District NewsSAN PEDRO, Calif. – Coast Guard crews are continuing a search that began Thursday afternoon for a 53-year-old man who went kayaking near Newport Harbor but never returned.

The man told a family member Wednesday that he was taking the kayak out for a few hours, but that was the last time the family has heard from him.  Newport Harbor Patrol contacted the Coast Guard on Thursday to assist in the search efforts.

Coast Guard Air Station Los Angeles launched a MH-65 Dolphin helicopter, Sector San Diego launched an MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter, Station Los Angeles-Long Beach dispatched a 45-foot Response Boat-Medium, and the 87-foot patrol boat Halibut is also searching.

A family member informed the Coast Guard that the man almost never wears a lifejacket when kayaking.

The Coast Guard and U.S. Power Squadron have teamed up for a program called Paddle Smart, which gives kayakers and other small watercraft operators some helpful tips to stay save and be prepared should something go wrong.

A few basic safety tips are:

  • Assess the risk – check the weather.
  • File a float plan – write down where you intend to put in, take out, when you expect to return, and who to call if you don’t. Give it to someone who WILL call for assistance if you don’t return on time.
  • Wear a life jacket and keep it snug – for it to work effectively, it must fit.
  • Attach a whistle or small boat horn to the life jacket.
  • Always dress for an unexpected capsize – wear a wet suit or dry suit on cold water.
  • VHF/FM marine band radio.
  • Light, Strobe, Mirror, Flares.
  • Personal Locator Beacon (PLB) and GPS Locator if venturing away from shore in a coastal area.

For more information on the Paddle Smart initiative, visit http://www.paddlesmart.com/

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