False Alarm on Missing kayaker

Written by Estero Bay News

December 7, 2020

A local kayaker was feared missing in the ocean, causing a massive search and rescue effort to be launched, was found safe at home, unaware he’d caused such a ruckus.

According to a report from the Harbor Department published in the November City Manager’s Update, someone reported on Saturday, Nov. 14, an abandoned kayak had washed ashore north of Morro Rock with no paddler anywhere to be found.

“A full search ensued just after dark,” reads the report, “with the Harbor Patrol and Coast Guard boats by water, trucks on the beach, MB Fire and Cal Fire searching on foot and two helicopters by air [CHP out of Paso Robles and Coast Guard out of Port Hueneme]. No one was found that night and the search was suspended at 1 a.m.”

Finally, someone thought to see if the guy was missing at all. “The missing person was found the following day safe at his home,” according to the report, “and said he had no idea he had caused any trouble by leaving his kayak on the beach unattended that night, after he paddled in through the surf zone and couldn’t carry the kayak back to his vehicle because it was flooded.”

The man’s name was not released by authorities. So while the search may have been good practice for when the real thing is needed, the Harbor Department issued this word of advice, “As a reminder to all paddle craft owners, please write your contact information on your property. Special stickers just for this purpose are free to the public and can be picked up at the Harbor Department and Coast Guard Station, and can save fist responders many hours of trouble [and considerable expense!], and possibly putting themselves in peril searching in treacherous conditions.”

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