Coast Guard identifies owner of lost kayak found far from home

KEY LARGO, Fla. – The Coast Guard identified the owner of a lost kayak Wednesday found adrift off Key Largo.

According to the owner, who lives in the Cayman Islands, the kayak was lost at sea for about six weeks and drifted roughly 600 miles from the Cayman Islands to the Straits of Florida.

Identifying the owner involved extensive international collaboration. A good Samaritan in Key Largo initially notified watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector Key West, Fla., that the kayak was found drifting six miles east of Key Largo. Coast Guard responders searched the local area to find the owner and confirm no one was in distress. Once local search efforts were completed, the Coast Guard expanded its search and contacted a Fenn kayak distributor in Costa Mesa, Calif. This scenario is even more unique in that Fenn kayaks are manufactured in South Africa and sold by only two kayak distributors in the U.S. The only marking on the lost kayak was “Fenn,” little information to begin what turned out to be a cross-hemisphere search exercise.

The distributor posted an online notice, which was spotted by the owner’s friend in Mauritius, an African country off the east coast of Madagascar, who contacted the owner in the Cayman Islands. The owner is now making plans to retrieve the lost kayak.

“This case was a good exercise for our search and rescue planners,” said Capt. Pat DeQuattro, commander of Coast Guard Sector Key West. “I’m very pleased with their determination and initiative to track down the owner of this unique kayak.”

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