Coast Guard searching after unmanned kayak found on rocks near Merrimack River

An unmanned, unlabeled kayak is on the north jetty at the entrance to the Merrimack River, in Massachusetts, Sunday, May 28, 2017. The Coast Guard and Salisbury Police Department launched a search for a possible missing kayaker following a good Samaritan's discovery of the paddle craft. U.S. Coast Guard photo.

An unmanned, unlabeled kayak is on the north jetty at the entrance to the Merrimack River, in Massachusetts, Sunday, May 28, 2017.  U.S. Coast Guard photo.

BOSTON — The Coast Guard and Salisbury Police Department launched a search Sunday morning for a possible missing kayaker after an unmanned, unlabeled kayak was found at about 6:30 a.m. on the north jetty at the entrance to the Merrimack River.

A helicopter crew from Coast Guard Air Station Cape Cod and a response boat crew from Coast Guard Station Merrimack River launched after a good Samaritan spotted the light blue kayak and called his discovery into Coast Guard Sector Boston watchstanders.

“Regardless of how the kayak ended up on the rocks, our crews will search as if someone is in trouble,” said Lt. Cmdr. Jennifer Hertzler, the command center chief at Coast Guard Sector Boston. “We just don’t know if someone’s life is in danger or if the kayak was adrift or purposefully placed on the rocks. When paddlecraft are labeled with the owner’s name and phone number we have a starting point to help determine if a situation like this is a search and rescue emergency.”

Paddle sports continue to be the fastest growing segment of recreational boating, with more than 300,000 paddlecraft being sold annually. The Coast Guard urges all paddlecraft owners to label their kayaks, canoes, and paddleboards to reduce unnecessary search and rescue cases.

Anyone with information about the kayak or its owner is urged to call Coast Guard Sector Boston watchstanders at 617-223-3201.

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