Officials Recommend Labeling Kayaks and Canoes in Central New York
You're asked to add your name, address and phone number to your watercraft because when the Coast Guard or first responders find empty kayaks and canoes adrift, often there is no clue to the identity of the owner. The first responders operate under the assumption that someone is in danger and sometimes that person is safe at home, oblivious to the fact that his or her kayak has washed away from the shore [The Day Military News].
Only motorized boats must be registered in New York State, but the Coast Guard is asking for you to add your name and phone number as part of the 'Paddle Safe' program. Paddle Safe / Paddle Smart is dedicated to cultivating the safest and smartest paddling tips and advice available, and they offer a free online safety course.
It's suggested that you keep your contact information in your boat or on a sticker that's easily visible. The Coast Guard Auxiliary provides the free identification stickers at safe boating classes and other boating events.
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[Information from The Day Military News]