Thursday, July 22, 2010

ID-Sticker for Boats will aid Rescue and Recovery

This week, a drift boat overturned in the Lewis River near Happa Park in northern Clark County. A fisherman noticed a cooler, boat seat and other debris floating downstream and then discovered the stranded vessel lodged against snags in the rushing water. The fisherman called 911 and the Clark County Sheriff’s Marine Unit and Air Unit, SWORD and Clark County volunteer Dive Teams, Clark County Fire District #6, and the Vancouver Fire Department’s Technical Rescue Squad responded.

Unable to account for the occupant(s) of the boat, a search of the river bottom and surrounding area was conducted. The vessel had no registration numbers which is not required under current Washington state law. Rescue team members located a cell phone in the bottom of the vessel and information obtained from the cell phone led to the boat owner. He had miscalculated the drift and hit the snag dipping the boat's gunwale and swamping the boat. He made it safely to shore and was given a ride back to his truck and trailer. He didn’t think that anyone would be looking for him and therefore did not notify the authorities. The search effort lasted about four hours until the owner was accounted for.

We encourage boat owners to license and register all vessels because it creates a state title for the owner and significantly assists with identifying and locating an owner in case of emergency or theft. A new program being started is the Paddle Smart identification sticker, a permanent marker that adheres to the vessel giving contact information should the vessel be found in the water absent the operator.

If you have to abandon your vessel in the water for any reason, 911 should be notified.

No comments: