A Free Sticker Your Boat Doesn't Have, But Needs

Attention seafaring men and women of the world: The Coast Guard has made a plea—and it's an important one.

When someone happens upon an unmanned boat (or kayak, canoe or stand up paddle board), the Coast Guard launches a full-blown search for missing people—always. Which is great, right? If you're adrift somewhere in the water, you just have to tread, assured that the Coast Guard is on its way—complete with a squad, local search and rescue teams, boats, helicopters, bells, whistles, you name it.

But the unfortunate reality is that a majority of the time, no one is distressed in the water. Instead, the empty craft is simply adrift thanks to a poorly tied knot or a big wave that sent it floating sans-captain over the horizon. And the Coast Guard (et al.) has spent time and money—and risked the wellbeing of its crew—to, in the end, find you watching reruns of "The Bachelor" on your couch.

To avoid this embarrassment (and save the CG a lot of hassle), follow three simple steps.

  • Stop watching reruns of "The Bachelor." (Seriously.)
  • Pick up a free(!) weatherproof, reflective sticker, like the one pictured below, and fill that sucker out.
  • Slap the information-complete tag on each one of your venerable vessels.

And now, instead of a search party, you'll get a call. And you'll probably get your boat back, to boot. Good for the Coast Guard—good for you.

To get a sticker—or to get more information about the Coast Guard's recently launched initiative, Operation Paddle Smart, which helps small craft owners stay safe in the water and is pushing the "If Found" label—contact your local Coast Guard Auxiliary Flotilla or Coast Guard Station