If you didn't catch it, an overturned kayak was found just outside of the Smokies on the MP of the Little Pigeon.Â Â It spurred a search and rescue scenario that was serious enough for it to be reported to local TV stations.Â Â Not sure of the outcome and I hope everyone is OK.Â Â But this did raise a very significant question.Â Â Who do we notify when we a boat gets pinned or gets out of our control in the Smokies and darkness or other circumstances force us to abandon it for any period of time?Â Â My friend Russell asked this question and this was his post on a local paddling list serve.
I asked the GSMNP folks what would be the best way to report a lost boat.Here is their reply:
Hello, If there is a report of an accident or missing person, the park responds and/or conducts a search, but just finding an empty kayak in the water would not necessarily result in a full-fledged search and rescue effort as the town of Pittman Center launched during the recent incident. If one of your club members loses a boat, but is otherwise okay, please call the park's Dispatch Office at (865) 436-1230 to let them know that an empty boat may be found and it is not an emergency situation. This is a non-emergency line which is staffed from 6:00 a.m. - midnight, but if a serious accident or other emergency has occurred in the park, sometimes all available dispatchers have to concentrate on radio communications among responding units and don't answer the line. If there is an accident with a serious injury or a member of your party is known to be missing, please call 911. Best regards,C. BloomGreat Smoky Mountains National Park
I think it'd be best to report the color of the kayak as well.Â Â
Remember that many national parks prohibit boating and that paddling in The Smokies is a priviledge.Â Â Everybody, even the best boaters out there, gets beat down from time to time and may not be able to readily recover a mangled boat when the boater is otherwise OK.Â Â Call the NPS if/when this happens to avoid a wild goose chase that could get them steamed enough to consider adding the Smokies to the lengthy list of NPs that prohibit paddling.Â Â
Thanks again for looking into this, Russell.Â Â Very good idea