Notice from Coast Guard PSA

This may have been mentioned before, but I got a notice from the Coast Guard regarding free “If Found” stickers for kayaks and canoes. Apparently them finding owner-less craft in the water is a thing. I ordered my five today. This was the notice:

“I would like everyone to ID their paddle craft. I ask that you get an If Found-Contact sticker provided by the Coast Guard to help identify your craft should it end up in the water without you. This will save the Coast Guard and others from having to launch a search for you. Send your name, mailing address and the amount of stickers you want to These are provided at no charge. Please let me know where you saw the post. I also have a handy guide to safer paddling for you.”

Sounds like a good idea.


Thanks for reminding me. Getting some now.

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We got ours last summer from the Coast Guard as they were invited to do a safety check at an outing here where we put in 450 paddle boats for a river drift sponsored by the fire department. 450 boats went in over a couple hours and the 4 coast guard people were lucky if they got around to 50 boats. Most people were not interested in getting the safety check and boat sticker saying you passed. I figured it could save hassle down the road with the sticker on the bow. They gave us the orange stickers we put inside and they also made us put a chrome round sticker on each face of the paddle, so 4 of them and they came with more ID stickers so I stuck them under the decks. The round silver chrome stickers looked awful on the paddles all buckled up as the surface is not flat. When we got home I pulled them all off. I have plenty of things to signal with.

One thing I found odd is I had my whistle attached to my zipper on the PFD and it was right there at my mouth. They told me it had to be on a longer cord and put in a pocket. So I showed them how easy it was to blow where I had it and they still made me change it. Of the 450 people about 425 had their PFD and whistle strapped to a deck or were using it as a seat back pad. Nothing was ever said about that.


Sound more like the CG Auxiliary.

One thing that gets overlooked is to put your phone number as well as an ICE phone number on the sticker. In the event it actually was you who capsized and became separated from your boat and too busy or dead to answer your phone.

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Yeah, dealing with loose unidentified boats it is a PITA for the CG and for people who run campgrounds. It is quite common in Maine for people to not account for the tide, even people from other coastal areas but not with 11 ft or so tides. So they wake up in the morning and the boat is no longer on the beach but somewhere out in the bay. Now the authorities have to wonder if someone went into the water or, not uncommon, is stuck on an offshore island with no way to get home.

It often means that the folks who run campgrounds have to go out and find the boats, both to get them back if they were rented and to not risk the loose boat being in the way of a working fisherman.

I find the stickers don’t stay on well,. But as long as I am in the boat, my ID info and where I am staying is in an otterbox in the day hatch.


The CG auxiliary has had them for years… I recommend getting the stickers from them. The E mail link the OP provided is not going to sell your info ( its the CG aux) so that is a convenient way to obtain them… Too many folks still don’t have them.

I like Celia’s idea of storing in a hatch in a dedicated otterbox. They indeed do come off from the hull too quickly.


I write my contact info inside my hulls with sharpie. Eventually it wears off but it’s easy to refresh it. For my carbon paddles, I write my contact info with white out. It stays on remarkably well. This is what I’ll use inside the new carbon kevlar kayak when it arrives. It may look like trash but it’s worth it to me in case I lose anything.


Sharpie is definitely the way to go. For black or dark colored items, try a paint pen. It holds up much better than white out. I also know people who had name and address decals made up at one of the local print shops. They look great and they don’t come off.


Paint pen sounds like a good idea. Thanks! I have silver sharpies that might also work.

As divers, we always have used paint pens to ID our equipment and they work great, Sharpies are OK but do fade. I think what is good about the CG labels is that they are orange and easy to see without them looking for homemade labels. Don’t get me wrong, any type of ID is way better than none.

Thanks for the reminder! I have the stickers in most of my kayaks but not in the Mirage. My local kayak shop always has a supply of them. I’ll add that to my list of 10,000 things to do before the Everglades Challenge starts!

I usually use a sharpie but it does fade off after a year or so. I also usually put my own phone number and my mom’s number (emergency contact)

After a months long email quest I was finally put in touch with someone at the local USCG station who could get the stickers in bulk for our Club and the general public. I made the argument that I see a lot more kayakers than the average USCG member does since they focus more on larger vessels. I always carry a packet of them in the car and offer them to anyone I see at various launches. Over the last few years I have given away more than 1,000 of them.

Some sources sell them , but there are plenty of places to get them for free. In the Annapolis area the USCG will mail up to two of them for free if they have them. The trick is finding someone who has them. In a lot of cases I suspect that they are in a dusty box forgotten in a closet somewhere.

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I got twice as many as I asked for in about 2 weeks using the address noted.