U.S. Coast Guard promotes safe boating practices through Operation Paddle Smart

Staff Sgt. Chris Hubenthal
Staff Sgt. Chris Hubenthal

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The U.S. Coast Guard, Coast Guard Auxiliary and the National Safe Boating Council are using Operation Paddle Smart as a way to encourage safety during National Safe Boating Week from May 17 through May 23.

Operation Paddle Smart encourages safe boating practices. One way the Coast Guard is preventing incidents is by offering stickers to people in the Pacific who own a vessel or watercraft. The stickers provide the Coast Guard with contact information if the craft is found at sea.

Lt. Kevin Cooper, Coast Guard Sector Honolulu assistant chief of incident management and search and rescue controller explained why a need for craft identification is necessary.

"The Paddle Smart campaign came about because the Coast Guard was spending a lot of time and money searching for folks potentially in distress because we found equipment out there without knowing whose it was," Cooper said. "Gear, when it's adrift out at sea, can become a collision hazard for other boaters who are out there fishing or just enjoying being out in the water."

The use of these stickers to mark watercraft is a part of a voluntary program. Examples of items that should be marked include surfboards, kayaks; stand up paddleboards, or anything that you can take out in the ocean.

The Coast Guard hopes that these safe boating practices will reduce incidents in the future.

"We hope this program will encourage people to mark their gear so that we can return their equipment to them if it's found at sea or we can know if someone is actually in distress," Cooper said.

Stickers can be attained at boating supply stores, canoe clubs or from the Coast Guard Auxiliary.

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