It’s always smart to notify someone when you’re going out boating. It’s the safe and responsible thing to do. Letting a friend or family member know when and where you plan to go helps rescue efforts in an emergency. For short excursions, a verbal heads-up is all you need. For longer cruises—especially overnights—it’s imperative that you fill out a formal Float Plan. A Float Plan is form with a detailed description of your boat, your emergency equipment, your passengers, and your travel plans that you leave with a friend or your yacht club or marina. It’s not a commonly used safety measure, but it’s one that could save your life.
Float Plans vary in terms of details. Some are several pages long, most are just one or two. It may seem unnecessary with cell phones and radios, but technological problems happen all the time. Just fill one out. It’s the right thing to do and will give you and your family some peace of mind.
Here’s Crownline’s Float Plan.
Save this image so you can print it off for future use.
When you fill it out, provide as much information as possible and leave it with a trusted friend or family member or at your local marina. Plans can always change, but if you’re making multiple stops on your trip, make note of that too. Also, be sure to list every person on your boat by using a separate sheet of paper if necessary. In case of emergency, it’s crucial to know the number of people who are on board.
You can also use this Float Plan from the U.S. Coast Guard. Check it out here. It’s much more detailed and doesn’t need to be filled out in full, but it’s definitely worth your time to be accurate. Float Plans are not the most exciting part of boating, but they’re incredibly important to your rescuers, your passengers, and your loved ones. No one expects an emergency, but responsibly planning for one can mean the difference between life and death.
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