Flotilla 59 starts kayak safety outreach

Published 4:49 pm Tuesday, August 10, 2021

U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary Flotilla 59, located in Smithfield, is embarking on a mission to educate and assist paddle craft operators enjoying the waterways accessed by the kayak ramp located in the Windsor Castle Park. This effort is in support of the Operation Paddle Smart initiative recently implemented for the safe use of paddle craft by the Coast Guard.

Their goal is to place ID labels on hulls and reflective tape on paddles for visibility to prevent accidents and attract attention in a rescue situation. Whistles will also be available for those who want one for emergency use. Pamphlets and boating tips will be available as well.

This outreach can be especially valuable to new and novice boaters. Flotilla attendance at the kayak launch will be on various Saturdays for the next several months.

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The Coast Guard Auxiliary is the civilian, uniformed, volunteer branch of the United States Coast Guard. Its mission, according to its website, is to promote and improve recreational boating safety and to provide trained crews and facilities to augment the Coast Guard and enhance the safety and security of U.S. ports, waterways and coastal regions.

In support of this mission, Flotilla 59 also provides vessel safety checks for various types of boats, boater safety classes and safety patrols on local waterways such as the James River, Nansemond River and Pagan River. For more information, visit www.aux59.org.