Oversight Leads to Unnecessary Search

Published on May 16th, 2016

Crews from the US Coast Guard and local agencies initiated an unnecessary search due to the oversight of a boater. What follows is a lesson to share when on the water…

BEGINNING: Crews from the Coast Guard and local agencies are searching for a possible missing person after an unmanned kayak was located near the rocks at Lighthouse Point in New Haven, Connecticut.

At approximately 12:30 p.m. Sunday (May 15), watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector Long Island Sound received a call from a good Samaritan reporting an unmanned bright green, one-person kayak drifting onto the rocks at Lighthouse Point.

Crewmembers from Coast Guard Station New Haven located the kayak on Lighthouse Point Park along with a fishing pole, bait, and catch onboard. A Station New Haven smallboat crew was launched to search the area for a possible missing person in the water.

An MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter and HC-144 Ocean Sentry aircraft crew from Coast Guard Air Station Cape Cod were launched to aid in the search but yielded negative results for any mariners in distress.

Coast Guard, New Haven Fire Department and West Haven Police Department marine units are continuing to search for the possible missing kayaker.

ENDING: Crews from the Coast Guard and local agencies ended their search for a possible missing kayaker near Lighthouse Point Park in New Haven, Connecticut, Sunday.

The kayaker contacted watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector Long Island Sound at approximately 7:30 p.m. Sunday, to report he was not in distress and was unaware his kayak had been located.

The kayaker stated he had been fishing early morning Sunday, when his kayak began taking on water. He climbed out of the kayak, got into the water and swam to the beach, leaving the Kayak partially submerged off the coast of Lighthouse Point Park.

The man contacted the Coast Guard after seeing photos of his kayak online and learning of the ongoing search for him.

Response crews that have assisted with this search:
· Coast Guard Station New Haven
· Coast Guard Air Station Cape Cod MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter
· Air Station Cape Cod HC-144 Ocean Sentry aircraft
· New Haven Fire Department
· West Haven Police Department

The Coast Guard offers free “If Found” decals to be placed in a visible location on small, human-powered watercraft, through the Coast Guard Auxiliary.

The information on the sticker can allow response entities to quickly identify the vessel’s owner and aid search and rescue planners in determining the best course of action. Positive identification may also allow the item to be returned to the owner.

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