The Coast Guard launched multiple search and rescue assets for a number of kayaks, all unmanned and adrift, located throughout New York and Connecticut waterways on Tuesday, June 5.
The first 2 kayaks were located 1/2 mile north of Plum Island in Long Island Sound by a ferry crew. Neither kayak had identification markings, and there were no signs of distress in the immediate area.
The Coast Guard Sector Long Island Sound Command Center in New Haven, Connecticut, issued an urgent marine information broadcast and launched a rescue boat crew from Station New London to investigate.
While the rescue crew conducted their search, the command center contacted local police departments on both sides of eastern Long Island Sound.
There were no correlating reports of missing persons or active searches.
A 3rd unmanned and adrift kayak was discovered about an hour later by a rescue boat crew from Coast Guard Station Eatons Neck, New York, while conducting training. Like the first 2, there were no contents aboard, no discernable markings, no signs of distress in the immediate area and no reports of ongoing searches from local authorities.
A 4th unmanned and adrift kayak was discovered by a sailing vessel 1 nautical mile south of Milford Harbor, Connecticut. It was found with its rudder lashed and secured in the upright, stowed position. The Coast Guard issued an urgent information marine broadcast and launched a rescue boat crew from Station New Haven. The rescue boat crew arrived on scene but reported no signs of distress after a search of the area.
A 5th unmanned and adrift kayak was discovered in the waters near Execution Rocks in Long Island Sound. The Coast Guard issued an urgent information marine broadcast and launched a rescue boat crew from Coast Guard Station Kings Point, New York. There were no reports of missing kayakers in Westchester County. Local kayak rental offices were also contacted.
“We need kayak owners to help us make that first distinction. If there’s some kind of marking—a name, a phone number or an address—authorities can use that information to verify ownership and determine that kayak was not in use during the time of discovery,” said Lt. j.g. Tim Kessell, a command duty officer with Coast Guard Sector Long Island Sound. “When that first distinction fails, valuable time is wasted on a non-distress situation.”
The Coast Guard reminds paddlers to clearly mark their property with their name and telephone number using a sticker, paint or a permanent marker. Any owner whose boat has come loose from its mooring or is missing should report it to the Coast Guard.
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