The owner of the orange dive flag and buoy found Wednesday has been located safe ashore in Molokai. The U.S. Coast Guard says the diver was never in distress and said he and his son had lost the buoy while diving near Lahaina on Sunday.
Watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector Honolulu received notification from the tug American Contender, who reported an orange dive flag and buoy with a taut line approximately five miles off Molokai airport. A helicopter crew from Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point was launched to the scene to search for anyone in distress.
The crew recovered the dive buoy and discovered it was marked with a few stickers and the initials ‘Lt’ handwritten with a white paint pen. A bag of seashells was also attached to the dive buoy.
The Coast Guard advises the public to label all watercraft and equipment with contact information in order to quickly account for owners and prevent any unnecessary searches.
Through the Operation Paddle Smart program, the Coast Guard offers a free “If Found” decal to be placed in a visible location on watercraft. The information on the sticker can allow response entities to quickly identify the vessel’s owner and aid in search and rescue planners in determining the best course of action. The stickers can be obtained for free at local harbormasters, the Coast Guard Auxiliary, from Honolulu Sail and Power Squadron offices and at select marine retail and supply stores.