When going out on your voyage, there are many facts that you need to remember precisely and convey to others to prepare for an emergency situation. You don’t want to rely on a friend, family member, neighbor, or someone else to remember your detailed information if the time comes where they need to send out rescue personnel to find you. Having a float plan prepared in advance with all your detailed information can make a huge difference in the outcome of such a situation.
What a Float Plan is
A float plan will include the description of the boat you are in and other important details including:
- The length, horsepower, make, engine type and registration number of your boat
- Your planned departure time and expected arrival time, detailed route and the state you plan on traveling to
- The name, telephone number and address of all passengers as well as emergency contact information
Before you begin your trip, you should make copies of the float plan and give it to your spouse or close acquaintance. The Coast Guard doesn’t accept these.
Why a Float Plan is Important
If anything should happen on your trip, the float plan you prepare will let your family and friends know where you are and provide reliable information to help rescuers locate your boat. It doesn’t matter if you are going on an afternoon voyage or a month-long trip; this is a life-saving document.
No matter if you own a 10 foot flat-bottom skiff or kayak or a luxury yacht, you need a float plan. This applies to all water travelers including:
- Jet Skiers
- Water Skiers
- Sport Fisherman
- Power Boaters
- Sail Boaters
- Private Charters
- and more
Although the owner of the boat is usually the person who drafts up the float plan, any person who is part of the crew can do it.
Each year, the officials get a distress call from a spouse or family member that their loved one is overdue from their boating trip. In many cases, they say their loved one is never late or is always home at a certain time. In most cases, the officials make the call and everything is fine. However, the frustration and worry can be prevented by filing that float plan.
Also important, is having the proper boat insurance. You never know when a disaster might strike or accident where you will need the proper coverage.
Do you have a float plan? How about boat insurance?