Prepare a float plan in case of emergency
Float plans save lives. Too many facts need to be accurately remembered and ultimately conveyed in an emergency situation, and without a float plan, you must count on someone else to remember detailed information about your boat and its whereabouts that rescue personnel will need to find you.
Who should prepare a float plan?
Don't think for a minute that this is only for those with big expensive boats. The U.S. Coast Guard believes that float plans are as effective for the owner of a 10-foot kayak or flat-bottom skiff as they are for the owner of a 48-foot express cruiser or a 90-foot luxury yacht.
What kind of boaters need to prepare float plans?
Kayakers, sport fishing participants, hunters, personal watercraft riders, water skiers, family day cruisers, private charter boat providers, canoeists, rowers, rafters, sail boaters and power boaters—basically, every skipper should prepare a float plan.
Whether you’re going out for a few hours or an overnight adventure, let someone know where you expect to be and when you expect to return. Leave a copy of your float plan with a marina, yacht club or dock friend.
What should be included in my float plan?
A float plan includes a description of your boat and the safety equipment you are carrying as well as the people on board. You can make up a standard float plan and add where you expect to be and when you expect to be there. Instruct the person holding the float plan to notify the Coast Guard or other appropriate agency if you do not return within a reasonable time after your scheduled arrival.
When you arrive at your destination or if your plans change, remember to notify the person holding your float plan to avoid unnecessary worry.
USPS has a float plan template online. Just fill it out and give it to a friend. Everyone will feel safer knowing you took the time to prepare a float plan.