In 1992, a ship on its way across the Pacific Ocean encountered a severe storm and one of its cargo containers, packed with 29,000 Floatees from The First Years, fell overboard and broke open. The colorful flotsam soon came to the attention of a Seattle oceanographer, Dr. Curtis Ebbesmeyer, who began tracking the progress of the bobbing ducks, frogs, turtles and beavers in an effort to map prevailing winds and currents. Although designed for the bathtub, rather than the open ocean, the Floatees have proven their seaworthiness and durability. Many of the plastic toys have made their way from Hawaii to Alaska, through the Bering Strait and Arctic waters. And now, sometime soon, they are expected to come ashore in New England, Canada or Iceland.

Based in Massachusetts, The First Years Inc. is planning to welcome the flock home with open arms. Anyone who finds one of the Floatees is encouraged to call The First Years’ Parent Service Center at 800-317-3194.

The discoverer of a Floatee—found by The First Years to be one of the missing—on the New England shore will receive a $100 U.S. savings bond (or comparable monetary offering if found in Canada or Iceland). The First Years will also report the discovery to oceanographer Ebbesmeyer, who will incorporate the data into his trajectories, which seek to better understand the earth’s ocean currents.

Found Floatees must be sent to The First Years to ensure authenticity. The reward is good from July 2003 through December 2003 and valid for Floatees found in New England, Canada or Iceland only.