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Press Release | Feb. 24, 2024

Coast Guard suspends search for missing paddleboarder

PADET Tampa Bay: 305-607-6347

Editor's NoteCoast Guard District 7 imagery

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Coast Guard crews suspended the search for a missing paddleboarder, Saturday, pending new information.

Missing is 49-year-old Ziad Abdeen. 

911 dispatch alerted Coast Guard Sector St. Petersburg watchstanders, Saturday, of the missing paddleboarder at approximately 12:45 a.m. 

It was reported he was last seen Friday, between 11 a.m. and noon, on an inflatable blue and white paddleboard wearing dark shorts and a light blue t-shirt near Dunedin Marina. It was reported by a co-worker that he was stranded on an island and was going to try to make it back at 1:30 p.m. This was the last communication anyone received. It was reported from 911 dispatch at approximately 3 p.m., the paddleboard washed ashore. 

Coast Guard, Pinellas County Sheriff's Office, Pinellas County Fire Department, and Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission crews assisted with searching about 143 square miles. 

"The decision to suspend a search is never an easy one," said Chief Warrant Officer Dennise Werre, a command duty officer, Sector St. Petersburg. "Our deepest condolences go out to the family and loved oves of Ziad Abdeen. If anyone has any additional information that may relate to the search, please call the Sector St. Petersburg command center at 866-881-1392."

The Coast Guard wishes to remind all mariners, experienced or not, to wear a life jacket, check the weather, tell someone where you are going and when you'll be back, and carry a VHF radio in order to call for assistance. It is recommended paddlers have a sound making device, carry a light when paddling at night, and carry a personal locator beacon. 

The sea state on Friday was 10-15 knot winds and 1-2 foot seas with a reported rip current warning for the Dunedin area. Saturday, there were 10 knot winds with 1 foot seas.