Coast Guard re-emphasizes the value of Operation Paddle Smart Sticker

Operation Paddle SmartSEATTLE – A Coast Guard MH-65 Dolphin helicopter from Air Facility Newport, Ore., and a 47-foot Motor Life Boat from Station Depoe Bay, Ore., responded to a report of an unmanned canoe found adrift approximately three miles west of Beverly Beach, Ore., Wednesday. After searching for approximately two hours, the Coast Guard suspended the search.

The canoe had no identifying markings on it that would enable the Coast Guard to contact the owner to determine if there was an emergency, if the vessel broke free from its mooring or if the vessel was derelict.

Due to situations similar to this, the Coast Guard would like to re-emphasize the importance of Operation Paddle Smart to canoe and paddle craft owners in the Pacific Northwest.

Operation Paddle Smart is a Coast Guard initiative which provides free water-proof stickers for labeling owner identification and contact information to small, paddle craft vessels.

In the event that the Coast Guard receives a report or discovers a paddle craft adrift, there is no way to determine if the vessel was washed off of a beach during high tide or was separated from its owner during the course of a boating accident. Subsequently, the Coast Guard has to assume the owner is in trouble and needs assistance until it can find evidence to support otherwise.

As a result the Coast Guard spends hundreds of thousands of tax dollars per year searching for potential people in distress when there was no one in danger to begin with.

The information on the Paddle Smart sticker can correct this problem by allowing response entities to quickly identify the vessel’s owner and aid search and rescue planners in determining the best course of action.

CLICK HERE for any additional information on the Paddle Smart initiative and the locations where the stickers can be obtained. You may also contact the Thirteenth Coast Guard District Public Affairs office at (206) 220-7237.

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