The owner of unattended dive gear found floating off of Hookipa Beach Park on Sunday, has been identified and is safe.
Maui Fire Department and the US Coast Guard called off the search early Monday morning, Feb. 13, 2017, after the owner called in to the Coast Guard claiming his gear.
The owner, a 23-year-old male from Upcountry Maui, was diving off of Kuau Bay with two other males, aged 18 and 16. Both were also from Upcountry Maui. Kuau Bay is about a mile west of Hookipa Beach Park.
After encountering a strong current, the 23-year-old male was concerned for the safety of the two younger males and assisted them in getting back to shore. When the eldest male came back for his gear, which he thought was anchored to a rock, he found that his dive float had drifted off. He was unable to retrieve his gear and returned to shore, thinking that it might drift back to the beach.
He called the Coast Guard after hearing about the search and saw photos of his dive gear on social media.
The Coast Guard seeks public’s help identifying the owner of dive gear found adrift approximately one mile offshore Ho’okipa Beach Park, Maui, Sunday.
The gear consists of an orange dive float, dive flag and wooden spear gun.
Anyone with information that may help identify the owner of the dive float is asked to contact the Coast Guard Sector Honolulu Command Center at 808-842-2600.
Sector Honolulu watchstanders issued an urgent marine information broadcast notice to mariners and launched an MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew from Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point to search the area. A helicopter crew from Maui Fire Department and jet ski crews from Ocean Safety are searching.
There are currently no reported signs of distress or missing persons in the area.
“The Coast Guard encourages owners who lose their water craft and dive gear to report it to the Coast Guard with a good description so that we can eliminate any unnecessary searches,” said Charles Turner, a search and rescue coordinator at the Sector Honolulu command center.
The Coast Guard offers free “If Found” decals to be placed in a visible location on small, human-powered watercraft through the Operation Paddle Smart program. The information on the sticker can allow response entities to quickly identify the vessel’s owner and aid search and rescue planners in determining the best course of action.
The stickers can be obtained for free at local harbormasters, through the Coast Guard Auxiliary, from Honolulu Sail and Power Squadron offices and at select marine retail and supply stores.