Coast Guard Sector Northern New England urges caution as heavy weather approaches

National Weather Service LogoPORTLAND, Maine – As heavy weather is expected to move through the area over the next few days, Coast Guard Sector Northern New England is asking that boaters make an extra effort to secure their vessels to prevent them from becoming adrift.

It is the Coast Guard’s policy to treat all unmanned adrift vessels as a possible person in the water case until it can be determined otherwise beyond a reasonable doubt.

The only ways to conclude cases involving unmanned adrift vessels is to either locate the owner, make a determination based on the facts of the situation that the vessel has been abandoned, or suspend operations after an unsuccessful and intense search effort for a person in the water.

The Coast Guard asks boat owners to pay extra attention to ensure that all registration is accurate and contact information is up to date. The Northeast has recently been experiencing a drastic tidal range of over 11 feet and vessels that seem to be safe well above the shoreline at low tide are drifting away at high tide. Additionally, many of the vessels’ registrations have been incomplete, out of date, or never been transferred after a vessel is sold, all of which slow down the Coast Guard’s efforts to positively identify the owner and increases the time and cost of the search effort.

Unregistered vessels such as kayaks and canoes should be marked with identifying information, including the owner’s name and contact information.

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