When a paddle craft canoe, kayak, or paddleboard is found adrift, the first question is whether someone was aboard or whether it simply blew or floated away. Until the latter is confirmed, it must be assumed that someone was aboard and no longer is. A Search and Rescue mission (SAR) by the USCG must go out and search until the owner/operator can be contacted and confirms that the craft was merely adrift and that everyone is safe. This is very costly and may be needless.
The problem is that, unlike sail and power boats, most jurisdictions do not require registration numbers on all paddle craft. Without the familiar state coded numbers and letters on the bow, it is difficult to determine who the owner is and call them, unless they have taken action to identify themselves by putting their name and a telephone number on the craft...Few do.
You can help alleviate this problem by permanently affixing your name, a cell phone number, and a land line telephone number to your craft in a visible place. It doesn’t have to be large, just legible.
You can simply label your vessel by using a magic marker, paint stick, or nail polish on the hull or deck of the paddle craft.
With this identification aboard, a SAR crew finding the craft can immediately call and determine the status of the owner. If no answer, they will perform a standard search, according to conditions. But when the owner is found to be safe, the Coast Guard can save man hours, fuel, and tax dollars available for a true distress situation.