Two incidents on local waters in the past two days kept Del Norte Search and Rescue and the Sheriff’s Office Boating Safety Unit busy.
On Tuesday afternoon, the Boating Safety Unit responded to people in a drift boat in distress beyond the jetty near Batter Point Lighthouse.
“Their motor quit on them, and before they could realize it they were already up on the rocks,” said sheriff’s Deputy Devin Perry.
The boat’s two occupants were able to climb safely onto land, Perry said.
Responders then decided to paddle the boat out to deeper water, where a sheriff’s rescue boat was waiting to tow it back to the harbor, he said.
Perry reminds people to check weather conditions before they go out on the ocean. If winds begin to pick up causing white-cap waves, boaters should head back.
Also, if boaters are going out on to the ocean for the first time in the season, they should be sure to do a thorough diagnostics check of their boat and the engine to decrease to possibility of becoming stranded.
Over on the Smith River on Wednesday morning, a Caltrans worker spotted a kayak drifting near Slant Bridge and reported it to authorities around 9:15 a.m., said sheriff’s Commander Bill Steven.
Search and Rescue, the Boating Safety Unit and the U.S. Forest Service responded to the area to look for the owner for about an hour, said Peggy Thomas, assistant coordinator for SAR.
The kayak still had its paddle inside, Thomas said.
“We think it probably drifted down,” said Thomas.
Another raft shored in brush was located upstream from where the kayak was hung up on a gravel bar, said Thomas.
The kayak is now at the Sheriff’s Office; the owner can contact the office and describe the vessel to retrieve it, Perry said.
Rains the night before could have caused the river to rise, dislodging the kayak, Perry said.
“Event if it comes up a little bit, it can take the kayak away and now it’s downstream,” said Perry.
It is advised to bring a rope whenever kayaking to tie the boat to a secure fixture, Perry said.
The Sheriff’s Office also has identification stickers to place on kayaks and rafts so that if a lost vessel is recovered authorities can contact the owner or a relative to ensure it is not an emergency, Perry said. And if it is an emergency, it will be easier to identify who they are looking for, he said.
Also, if a kayak is stolen, it will help with identifying the owner if it is recovered.
For any boating related questions, people are encouraged to call the Sheriff’s Office at 464-4191 and ask to speak with a deputy from the Boating Safety Unit.