Found a kayak

A friend and I went kayaking down what I think is a class 1 or 2 river IDK. Last week we had some crazy rain, 5+" last Tuesday, then storms with 3" and 2" of rainfall since then. We were admiring all the devastation on the river, which got at around 4 feet above normal levels. The big wooden and metal pinic table setup at the lunch spot had moved a good 40-50ft down the edge of the river. It was a fun paddle and we were making good time. Except 3/4 of the way down we came across a odd kayak. All I’m going to say is that is was a tandem 16". Was sitting a few feet from the water. No one was around. The boat was completely full of water, which appears to of done some damage. There were also a few items with the boat. Once we both decided it was probably washed away we decided to try and rescue it. (It was a good 1/2-1mile from nearest road) Took us awhile before we were able to flip it and get it afloat. Took much longer to reach the end, since I lead it down the river with a yak only half its size. Once home my first idea is to call the outfitter that runs boats down that river, which results in nothing. No one has called looking for a boat. I am going to put a very vague “found” add in the paper cuz I would like to get this boat back where it goes. Other then that is there anything else I should do to try and find its owner?

message boards
Check the local paddling clubs message boards, also it may have belong to someone who lives up river from where you found it.

Try this
Saturday morning,Go upstream about 10 miles, and paddle it untill you hear somebody yelling at you.

Probably something like “Hey you *&$^&$# give me my boat back or I’ll call the cops”

I know If I lost a boat,I would be asking around at paddle shops or in the lost and found of a news paper.

Is your state a state that has registrations?

Check the numbers with them.

Who locally sells that type of boat and see if they have records of the hull number.

Good luck


I’ll try those things

– Last Updated: Aug-19-10 2:52 AM EST –

If someone is looking for the boat it shouldn't be hard to find it. I already have a craigslist ad running and there should be one in the next newspaper. The river prides itself on being scenic, I'm only assuming it owned by someone along the river. They probably had it pulled up into the woods, but unfortunately not high enough to keep it out of the flood waters. I wouldn't think anyone with common sense would leave their boat high and dry completely full of water. I think the metal beam on the bottom of the boat has bowed up from the weight of all the water. Whats odd is that some things stayed in it.

Paddling it around would be a funny way to try and find its owner, unfortunately its definitely not the type of boat I could paddle up that river.

I called the outfitter that runs down that river before we even brought it home. I will call again tomorrow and leave some information in case anyone calls them. Last I checked with them no one has called about a missing boat.

My state has no registration requirements. However I am 5 miles from the state boarder. The boat does have out of state registration, but they are very old stickers. I assume it changed owners many years ago and is most likely locally owned. Do you think any information can be found on a boat that was last registered over 5 years ago?

Where would I find a hull number? Some one carved some stuff into it, 8 numbers with one letter mixed in. No ones been able to make heads or tails of what it means.

We have nicknamed it Lassie in good faith it will eventually find its way home.

Don’t you wish it could talk?
I have also found boats on the river. One showed obvious signs that it had been there a long time, but authorities had no record of anybody reporting it lost or stolen. They wanted me to turn the boat over to them, which I did not do. Had I turned if over to them, they’d have tossed it in their storage bin with other lost and seized property. After some period of time, they’d have sold it or junked it. I figured if somebody was going to be looking for the kayak, they looked a long time ago and wouldn’t be coming around again, so why turn it in? That kayak went home with the woman I was paddling with, and I don’t know what ever became of it.

There was another time I ran across two boats stashed in the woods. By odd coincidence, they’d been stolen from somebody that knew me, heard about it, got in touch, and I was able to reunite the guy with the boats. He read about me spotting the boats on a paddling message board, so it is a good suggestion to check and post to message boards. Those boats had been missing for almost a year.

I camped on an island in the Potomac one time. Walking about, I noticed the remains of an aluminum canoe twisted in among an 8 foot high pile of drift wood, drift trees, actually. I sincerely hoped that canoe had washed away in a flood, because if somebody had paddled it during the flood, well, I didn’t see any bones but they easily could have been twisted up in that timber pile.

I wish these boats could talk and tell the story of how they had come to rest at the point I found them.

Authorities will take reports and such, but my impression is “boat lost and found” is neither their priority nor something they do well.

Are there vacation homes on this river? If so, it is possible that the owner of the boat won’t even notice it is missing until the next time they visit the property.

The boat may have been stolen and stashed or abandoned somewhere along the river. You’d think in the case of stolen boats, authorities might have had a report. But I don’t think many agencies have set up records that can be easily searched for lost and stolen boats. They’ll take the data, but what’s the chance they’ll match it up with somebody who inquires. Many agencies don’t have the resources to spend much time worrying about somebody’s kayak.


maritime salvage law
I know it covers open seas, But I think there is something on rivers and waterways pertaining to abandon vessels. The proper thing to do is make a reasonable attempt to find owner and lay claim.

Hull Identiciation Number (HIN) info

You might check this database

Vacation homes
Your right.

If I lost a boat up at my cabin it could be two weeks or two months untill I get back up.(work!!!)

put a sign up in the local shops,resturants,Or better yet tell the Watress.

They seem to know everything gossipie.

After losing a boat in Ike
I now put my name, address, telephone number and “reward for return” in sharpie on all my boats.


…Call the DNR and the Local/State and Federal authorities and ask about missing person’s…suppose the boat was OCCUPIED and the owners drowned in the flood?..also use the hull registration number with the manufacturer to see if it was registered for a warranty…might get a name and address or in not, maybe the manufacturer will call for you if they will not release the info…

We thought of that
I may call dispatch and report it. We thought maybe someone flipped, but it didn’t seem very likely that the items we found with the boat would of stayed in. One being a PDF. Its thursday and that river is pretty heavily traveled with the outfitter using it. Its also pretty shallow, boats rub often, it averages 3ft, but can get deeper. It just doesn’t seem possible that someone was lost on that river and has been unnoticed for 2 days. If they were out during that storm then its already been over a week. I called the outfitter again and still no ones called about a missing boat, which she said is odd. Its a 8 mile stretch that the boat could of come from, cuz I don’t think it would of managed to get over the dam.

I found the HIN and it was kinda helpful. Lassie was made in 1998! I may try contacting the manufacturer if it goes unclaimed for a couple weeks. That sounds like a shot in the dark though. Maybe its just cuz I got my yak of craigslist. Mine was made in 08’ I bought it from this one guy, who I probably couldn’t find if my life depended on it.

Writing info on the boat is a good idea. I’ve been meaning to do that since I bought mine, I did it to my PDF. Do you suggest sharpie being enough? I orginally though I would just dremel a phone number on it.

some inquires
I’ve gotten a call and a few emails. Two people looking for stolen boats. One was a WW and the other has been missing for 2 years. The call was getting close. Same river wrong boat. Lady lost one on the 12th, 10min into a 3 hour paddle(probably less though with the river high). Do you think a boat could make an 8 mile trip by itself? I was kinda favoring the stuck underwater somewhere scenario. Or someone else found it. Or by chance it made it to the end of the river and entered one of the Mississippi’s tributaries.

Also thought I would share that I found 13 flip flops on state park waters yesterday and none of them matched =P.


– Last Updated: Aug-22-10 5:39 PM EST –

Outfitter called back with info on a guy looking for a blue tandem. He accurately described Lassie and the fact that their was a child's paddle left in the boat. The went down the river on Sunday. And as I guessed it was more then they bargained for. He said they flipped 5 times, before leaving the boat were I found it. Then hoofed it to the main road. I am kinda annoyed that someone would leave a boat full of water on a rocky bar. He went back to get it today(after a week) to find it gone. Anyway Lassie will be gone in an hour. She is a Dagger Bayou 2.

lassie comes home
Good job, C-cat, you did the right thing.

Hope the ‘claimee’ appreciated your efforts.

White water boaters always sharpie there names and contact info inside the boat. They know there is a good chance they may lose it.