KAYAKS, canoes and paddleboards – they all have one thing in common. They’re often found on the coastline or drifting out to sea, which can often raise alarm bells.
In recent weeks, coastguard teams across the country have found numerous items such as kayaks and canoes drifting out at sea or abandoned near the shoreline. Unfortunately, some of the items found have not had their owners’ contact details written on them, nor been reported as missing to the coastguard.
As a result, it makes it difficult for emergency services to find out who the equipment belongs to, and they can never be completely sure if someone is safe or, in the worst case, in trouble at sea.
This can place a huge strain on HM Coastguard resources, especially during the busy summer period when they have to call upon Coastguard Rescue Teams, assistance from the RNLI and even send out search and rescue helicopters to such incidents.
HM Coastguard is encouraging water sports enthusiasts to label their kit, so if they do get separated from it they can be contacted to check they are safe.
Dai Jones, HM Coastguard duty controller, said: “We recommend that you clearly mark your equipment and other items you bring to the coast with your name and contact details so that if it is lost, stolen or abandoned, we can contact you to make sure that you are safe.
“This really helps us to save a lot of time, and could provide us with extra information we need to help you if we believe you’re in difficulty at sea.
“For canoeists and kayakers, our other safety advice is to wear a buoyancy aid and make sure you carry a VHF radio, so you can contact the coastguard on Channel 16 if you get into difficulty.
“A Personal Locator Beacon is also a good idea for more remote locations, so an accurate position of where you are can be sent direct to the coastguard. And, remember, to tell friends or family where you are going and when you expect to return so that they can contact us if you do not come home as expected.”
As more head into the water this summer, you can now order free, outdoor label name tags from HM Coastguard. These are very easy to use – simply write your contact details onto the paper side and stick onto your piece of equipment.
Click here to order your free labels and other safety equipment.