Coast Guard finds missing kayak and kayaker

ANCHORAGE, Alaska – Coast Guard Sector Juneau Command Center personnel working with Glacier Bay National Park Service Rangers, along with the help of several good Samaritans, located a 16-year-old girl safe ashore after her kayak was found adrift around Point Cove in Icy Strait.

The crew of the fishing vessel Sea Eagle located the unattended kayak and found the girl’s identification in the kayak and immediately reported it to Glacier Bay Park Service. Rangers with the Park Service relayed the information to the command center in Juneau.

The Coast Guard and Park Service Rangers were able to determine there was a group visiting the area and they had rented their kayaks from a guide service in Haines.

Once the general location of the group was determined through an itinerary left with the guide service, the command center was able to work with the crew of the charter boat Taz to verify information about the girl. The charter boat crew was able to ascertain that everyone was OK and verify the kayak had been swept away with the tide.

“There was a lot of detective work in getting all the facts at the beginning,” said Senior Chief Petty Officer Adam De Rocher, Sector Juneau Command Center supervisor. “Having a form of identification on the kayak like the Paddle Smart stickers could have greatly simplified the search to ensure this girl was safe.”

The Paddle Smart Campaign is a volunteer identification program designed to help the Coast Guard and state boating agencies determine the actuality of distress situations and appropriate response needed.

Any owner whose boat has come loose from its mooring or is missing should report it to the Coast Guard. When a vessel is found with identification, not only can the owner be quickly contacted to determined if someone may be in distress, the owner can also quickly reclaim their boat.

Click here to view the Paddle Smart Facebook page
Click here for a Paddle Smart Public Service Announcement video
Click here for a Paddle Smart brochure
Click here for a float plan form

The Coast Guard recommends that every boater carry the following safety items:

  • A Coast Guard-approved life jacket (because they float, you don’t.)
  • A handheld VHF marine radio with extra batteries
  • A first aid kit packed in a watertight container
  • A signaling kit (mirror, whistle and day/ night flares)
  • Warm and water resistant clothing appropriate for Alaska’s extreme environments

Anyone interested in acquiring a Paddle Smart Identification Sticker should contact their local Coast Guard Auxiliary Flotilla.

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