Marking Kayak with Contact Info

I could not locate a thread on this using the search function.

So what is the best way to mark your kayak with contact info?

I cannot find a sticker that will stick on polyethylene or any marker that will remain indelible for more than a few weeks (even a sharpie). I have yet to run into any LE boat that supposedly has stickers that stay on polyethylene. I was thinking of getting dog tags with a chain that would go around a rudder cable.

From the Coast Guard 6/7/12

Tuesday, Coast Guard (CG) Sector Long Island Sound (SLIS) responded to four separate incidents involving five kayaks found adrift in Long Island Sound (LIS). These incidents unfortunately are not unusual, and unless the vessel is obviously abandoned (barnacles growing on the hull, etc.) we have to assume that someone fell overboard. This immediately places the incident into the Distress category which requires the CG Command Center to initiate a Search and Rescue (SAR) initiative which includes, but is not limited to issuing a Urgent Marine Information Broadcast (UMIB), dispatching CG vessels and air assets, contacting all partner agencies (local fire and police) in the area to respond and investigate. It costs over $2,200 per hour to operate a typical Coast Guard first response boat, while a helicopter or larger cutter cost over $14,000 an hour; this does not include personnel costs at SLIS and the small boat stations, and more importantly it takes these personnel away from their real work–saving lives.

WE NEED YOUR HELP: These false incidents can be easily eliminated by putting contact information on your paddlecraft. “IF FOUND“ stickers are available from the CG Auxiliary, DEEP, Power Squadrons, partner agencies, and many marine supply stores, or a thick waterproof Sharpie will do the trick. It is recommended that you list your name along with two contact numbers: your cell and a landline; if you end up in the water your cell phone will be inoperable.

Obviously wearing a bright colored life jacket, filing a float plan, and having a VHF radio are the best way to be found–and survive–if it is a real SAR.

Please pass this along to all your boating friends and with other paddling organizations that you are involved with.

Below is the full summary of Tuesday’s incidents if you are interested.

Thanks for any help disseminating this information.

Timothy Mulherin

Coast Guard
A friend of mine on Long Island is with the Coast Guard Auxilliary, and he gave me a couple of their stickers for this purpose.


CG Stickers

– Last Updated: Jun-11-12 10:07 PM EST –

Yes contact the Coast Guard or do what I did, get the stickers at a local paddling event. The stickers the Coast Guard hands out are made of orange reflective tape and have a very good adhesive. I haven't tested removing it, but I'd imagine you would have a really hard time removing the sticker so perfect for the job of marking your boat. I have one on my fiberglass kayak and one on my wife's poly kayak. You just write your name and numbers on it with a sharpie.

Use a paint pen/pencil
You can get them in some of the Auto stores.

We have ours identified under the front hatch.

Jack L

Paddle smart program
Is what the USCG calls their boat sticker identification program. I prefer that orange sticker be placed inside the cockpit where it will be easily seen if the boat is found floating somewhere. I agree that the indelible marker I used to write on that sticker does require touching up every one in a while. These stickers are easily removed if you sell your boat.

I also use a marker to write identifying info in another place, just in case I need to prove a boat is mine, say in case of a theft recovery. This might be somewhere you have to work at to see, like inside of a hatch.

USCG and day hatch
We got the USCG stickers at Canoecopia this year. Great idea! We have always had full emergency contact info., etc. sealed in waterproof see-through bags in our day hatches as well.

Also - left over from our backpacking days - we leave a sign in our car window to contact local authorities or Park Service if the vehicle is there after a specific date.

I use engraved pet i.d. tags that you can purchase from the pet stores, and rivet them to my kayaks.

I mark mine in two places: I use the Coast Guard sticker in a spot that is visible should someone find my kayak, and with a fat permanent marker on the underside of the front deck, just in front of the cockpit. It’s kind of a pain to do, but it’s an unlikely spot for a thief to look should they try to obliterate identifying info.

1 Like

FYI - offers a reflective “IF FOUND” sticker from the USCG:

Man, I never even CONSIDERED my boats :ok_man:t4:
I just ordered a pair of stickers upon reading this thread.

Would it be considered out of the norm to also engrave (Dremel tool w/engraving tip) the actual boat w/ one’s contact info? … in the event of a theft. :man_shrugging:t4:

Good idea so long as it couldn’t be covered with a sticker.

I bought waterproof golf club labels, customized with my name, email, and phone numbers. Use them on my gear, including my paddles and in an inconspicuous place in a hatch on each of my kayaks.