wave.jpgThe U.S. Coast Guard is crediting simple contact information a kite surfer put on his equipment with preventing a potentially costly search and rescue operation in the waters off of San Francisco’s Crissy Field Saturday afternoon.

At about 3:30 p.m., the Coast Guard received a report from a pedestrian on the Golden Gate Bridge of a kite surfer in distress off of Crissy Field.

Crews from the Coast Guard and the San Francisco Police Department’s marine unit responded to the area, where they saw that the kite surfer had made it safely ashore.

Minutes afterward, the Coast Guard received a report of an unmanned surfboard off of Fort Point. Coast Guard crews responded and recovered the board, which had the name and contact numbers of its owner.

Coast Guard officials were able to contact the owner and confirm that he was the kite surfer who had been involved in the original incident.

Including the contact information insured that up to thousands of dollars on fuel and equipment costs were spared from what would have been an unnecessary search and rescue operation, according to Coast Guard officials.

Earlier this year, the Coast Guard launched a new program called Paddle Smart, which focuses on small craft owners.

A small weatherproof sticker has been created to help authorities return property and reduce the spending of Coast Guard resources on unnecessary search and rescue cases.

Each sticker includes room for the owner to list his or her name, phone number, and cell phone number in case their craft is located without an operator.

Paddle Smart stickers are available by contacting Coast Guard Lt. j.g. Jeremy Pichette at (415) 748-0112 or by going to www.uscgsanfrancisco.com/go/doc/823/482767.

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