With the weather getting warmer, we naturally want to cool off. Personally, my favorite way to beat the summertime heat is to find a body of water and just huck myself into it.

Are you planning on hitting the water soon? If so, here's a quick and easy way to ensure you're prepared for any unexpected situations while out on the water: label your paddle craft with an "IF FOUND" sticker.

Credit: Maine.gov
Credit: Maine.gov

Every year, the Maine Warden Service and Maine Marine Patrol receive numerous calls about unoccupied canoes, kayaks, and rowboats found floating on the water. In many of these cases, the paddle craft drifts away from shore due to not being properly secured. Unfortunately, most of these vessels are not labeled with the owner's contact information, making it difficult for first responders to confirm if someone is in need of rescue on the water or if the boat simply drifted away without a passenger.

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This is where the "IF FOUND" sticker comes in. By labeling your paddle craft with this sticker, you'll be helping first responders quickly determine if an emergency exists and collect necessary search and rescue information. This can help prevent unnecessary and expensive search efforts and, if your paddle craft is lost, increase the likelihood of it being returned to you.

The best part? You can get an "IF FOUND" sticker for free from the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife and the Department of Marine Resources. 

Where to Get a FREE Sticker:

Contact your local Maine Game Warden, Marine Patrol Officer, or Harbor Master. You can also find stickers at marinas, sporting goods stores, or at the following Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife and Department of Marine Resources locations:

  • Augusta:
    • Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Headquarters, 353 Water Street, Augusta, ME 04333
    • Maine Department of Marine Resources, 32 Blossom Lane, Augusta, ME 04330
  • Ashland: Maine Warden Service Headquarters, 63 Station Hill, Ashland, ME 04732
  • Bangor: Maine Warden Service Headquarters, 106 Hogan Road, Suite #1, Bangor, ME 04401
  • Boothbay: DMR Marine Patrol Division I, 194 McKown Point Rd., West Boothbay Harbor, ME 04575
  • Gray: Maine Warden Service Headquarters, 15 Game Farm Rd, Gray, ME 04039
  • Greenville: Maine Warden Service Headquarters, 19 Village St., Greenville, ME 04441
  • Jonesboro: DMR Marine Patrol Field Office, 317 Whitneyville Road, Jonesboro, ME 04648
  • Lamoine: DMR Marine Patrol Division II, 22 Coaling Station Lane, Lamoine, ME 04605
  • Rockland: DMR Marine Patrol Field Office, 515 Maine St., Rockland, ME 04841
  • Sidney: Warden Service Headquarters, 270 Lyons Road, Sidney, ME 04330
Credit: Maine.gov
Credit: Maine.gov

So, before you head out on your next paddling adventure, take a minute to label your canoe, kayak, standup paddleboard, or other paddle craft with an "IF FOUND" sticker. It's a small action that can make a big difference in ensuring your safety, and the safety of your flotation device on the water.

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