HONOLULU—The U.S. Coast Guard returned a dive float to its owner last Thursday after its recovery offshore last week.
A local free diver lost his dive float and called the Coast Guard Sector Honolulu command center describing the float, when, and where it was lost. The owner credited a local Facebook page with the direction to do so.
“He has some unique text on his dive float like, ‘here fishy fishy’ and ‘one drop, one-shot,’” said Cmdr. Ben Gates, deputy commander, Sector Honolulu. “The Sector Honolulu command center watchstanders logged the call and made a note of the dive float.”
Three hours later, the U.S. Coast Guard cutter Joseph Gerczak crew came across a dive float while underway, which is usually regarded as an indication of potential distress. The commanding officer of the ship reported the discovery to the command center, who was able to match the description of the dive float to the one reported missing.
Because of the diver’s self-reporting actions, the Coast Guard was able to save valuable resources, unneeded search efforts, and return the dive float to its original owner.
“We advise everyone to label your gear with your name and phone number so the Coast Guard can contact you to determine whether or not someone needs help as quickly as possible,” said Gates.
The Coast Guard also reminds waterway users to be mindful of weather conditions. Taking in gear or moving it higher up on the back, such as kayaks and paddleboards during high surf, can lessen the chance them drifting to sea.
The Coast Guard offers free “If Found” decals to mark gear, or you can write directly on it.
The labels can be obtained for free at local harbormasters, through the Coast Guard Auxiliary, from Honolulu Sail and Power Squadron offices and at select marine retail and supply stores. Similarly, if you lose kayaks, surfboards, or safety equipment such as lifejackets and dive floats, report it to the Coast Guard to help search and rescue specialists deconflict possible distress reports. (USCG)