Ask the Mayor: Unnecessary Search & Rescue Missions

December 9, 2014, 9:00 AM HST · Updated December 14, 2:51 PM
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Coast Guard rescue. File photo by Wendy Osher.

Coast Guard rescue. File photo by Wendy Osher.

The mayor answers questions from the public in this series.

By Mayor Alan Arakawa

Q: I was reading that story about how the Coast Guard wasted taxpayer dollars searching for someone out at sea because they found a kayak adrift off of Olowalu.

These folks have more important things to do than conduct searches just because someone’s kayak or surfboard blew out into the ocean while they were taking a nap on the beach.

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Can these people be fined for being careless?

A. Instead of imposing a fine, there is a simpler solution: Make sure you label your stand-up paddle board, kayak or other ocean craft with your up-to-date contact information. That way if it does get blown out to sea and is reported to the US Coast Guard, they can attempt to contact the owner to find out if they are okay.

This will help to prevent any unnecessary search and rescue operations and save Coast Guard resources for those who really do need their assistance.

The Coast Guard recommends using a waterproof pen to write your contact information. Waterproof “Paddle Smart” labels that stick to your board or kayak are available free of charge at the Coast Guard headquarters in Māʻalaea, or at their Kahului office located at 95 Lono Avenue.

For more information on the Paddle Smart program, visit the US Coast Guard website.

Want to Ask the Mayor?

Submit your questions about County of Maui programs, services, operations or policies to Mayor Alan Arakawa via email: [email protected], phone: 270-7855 or mail: 200 S. High Street, 9th Floor, Wailuku, Hawaii 96793. Questions submitted will be considered for inclusion in the Ask the Mayor column.

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