Coast Guard seeking public’s help to find owner of orange kayak near Hilo

C-130HONOLULU — The Coast Guard is seeking the public’s help in identifying the owner of an unmanned adrift orange kayak spotted one mile off Leleiwi Point on Hawai’i, Friday.

The crew of a Coast Guard HC-130 Hercules airplane is currently searching for the owner of the kayak in the vicinity of the sighting and an Urgent Marine Information Broadcast has been issued alerting mariners in the area to keep a sharp lookout and report any sightings to the Coast Guard Sector Honolulu command center.

Watchstanders at the sector received a report at 2 p.m. from the Hercules crew regarding the found kayak. The watchstanders immediately diverted the Hercules crew from their training mission and issued the UMIB.

Anyone with information that may help identify the owner of the kayak is asked to contact the Coast Guard Sector Honolulu Command Center at 808-842-2600.

“Attaching your contact information to your watercraft in the form of a Paddle Smart sticker or even writing it on the craft in permanent marker will help in identifying the ownership of vessel when it is found adrift.” said Charles Turner, Coast Guard Sector Honolulu Command Duty Officer. “Not only does it help us find you but it also helps us return your property. When we sight an unmanned adrift craft we err on the side of caution and search for the occupant if we can’t immediately identify and reach the owner.”

The Coast Guard also offers free “If Found” decal to be placed in a visible location on small, human-powered watercraft through the Operation Paddle Smartprogram.  The information on the sticker can allow response entities to quickly identify the vessel’s owner and aid search and rescue planners in determining the best course of action.

The stickers can be obtained for free at local harbormasters, through the Coast Guard Auxiliary, from Honolulu Sail and Power Squadron offices and at select marine retail and supply stores.

Mariners are also reminded to bring kayaks, paddle and surfboards to high ground and store them securely in advance of heavy weather and high winds resulting from Hurricane Ignacio advancing on the Hawaiian Islands through the weekend. Boat owners should secure their vessels and in some cases consider removing them from the water. These precautions prevent damage, loss and unnecessary search and rescue operations.

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