Coastguard agencies issue joint advice to watercraft owners

From Jersey Coastguard
18th November 2020

Jersey and Guernsey Coastguard are strongly recommending that owners of small watercraft such as kayaks, SUPs and dinghies who store them in coastal locations should do so out of the reach of high tides and should register them to make it quicker and easier to identify and locate owners in the event that the vessels are found abandoned or adrift at sea.

The joint advice comes as a result of two incidents in Channel Islands waters on Sunday 15 November when abandoned kayaks were found to be adrift in rough waters having been swept out by the high tides. With no visible identification signs, coastguard officers had to turn to social media appealing for the owners of the craft to come forward while search efforts were underway. The process could have been avoided had there been a more visible means of identifying the owners of the craft.

Whilst Coastguard officers investigate all reported incidents, its efforts in Jersey were hampered on Sunday by the fact that officers were unable to get close enough to the craft to identify it correctly. It was later discovered that the kayak had no clear identification markings or owner contact details. Jersey’s Harbourmaster, Bill Sadler, explains “To address this issue, which can often happen during times of bad weather and rough seas, both Jersey Coastguard and Guernsey Coastguard have, in recent years, established a free voluntary registration scheme for water-based activity equipment. In return for providing us with details of their watercraft and their own contact, owners receive a unique identity number in the form of a weatherproof vinyl sticker or robust tag, which is then affixed to the craft. If the craft is then found washed up or adrift the owner can be immediately contacted, saving valuable time and resources and allowing the owner to be quickly reunited with their valuable items”.

Guernsey’s Harbourmaster, David Barker, continues, “We recommend that owners do not store watercraft in coastal locations, especially when not in regular use, as this increases the risk of them becoming dislodged or breaking free and being carried away by the tides. However, for those that do, please ensure the craft is well secured to a fixed object, away from a public area and well above the usual tideline. And of course, it makes sense for owners to check on such craft regularly”.

For details on the Jersey Coastguard Safety Identification Scheme (CSIS) and to register online visit

For the Guernsey Water Based Activity Equipment Registration Scheme, equipment can be registered by visiting the Harbour Office, Marine Services Centre (Albert Pier), AB Marine, Gone Paddling and Freedom Surf Shop.

Jersey Coastguard