Boaters use float plans to outline the details of each trip they make. Float plans can be either completed forms given to a responsible person or basic verbal notifications that allow a responsible person to know the details of your outing.
Highlighting important aspects relative to your voyage, float plans include all the information needed for search and rescue to find you should something go wrong.
The most important part of the float plan is where you intend to be boating, your expected route and when you’ll be back.
What do I do with my float plan?
Float plans may be written or verbal. They can be either completed forms given to a responsible person or basic verbal notifications that allow a responsible person to know the details of your trip.
The person you’ve left the float plan with has the responsibility to notify authorities if you’re overdue, who will then move into action to search for you. Carry a marine radio or cell phone with you so you can call for assistance should the need arise.
What to do with float plan when you return?
Upon returning from your voyage, it’s important to close your float plan. Let that responsible person know you’ve returned safety. If you don’t, an unnecessary search may be launched, wasting valuable Search and Rescue services.
Can you file a float plan with the Coast Guard?
Do not file the form with the Coast Guard. The Coast Guard will not accept float plans.
What should be included in the float plan?
A float plan document should include:
- Description of the vessel
- Number of persons onboard
- Destination, including the general route to be taken
- Contact information
- Timeframe of the outing
Please remember to communicate your float plan with a responsible person such as a family member or a friend. A float plan can be filed in the form of a formal written document, emails, text messages, phone conversations or other forms of communication.